Happy Sweet Sixteen!

Nope, not my daughter’s birthday!   Today is my 16th wedding anniversary 🙂  

I decided to take a statistics tour and see how great that is compared with other marriages in the country.  I was pleased to learn that most first marriages that end in divorce do so within about 8 years.  43% of first marriages end within 15 years – another milestone reached.  And 60% of all marriages end in divorce.

Of course, marriage is not without it’s problems, and of course, we’ve had ours.  But in the grand scheme of things, here’s how I look at my 16 year long marriage.

What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.  Really.  We have faced serious things in this marriage.  We have had a baby born and spend more than a month in Neonatal intensive care.  We have experienced pregnancy complications that resulted in lengthy hospital stays on two other occasions.  We have lost 5 children to miscarriages.

During our years together, we have declared bankruptcy, had a home foreclosed on, had to grocery shop at gas station mini-marts, because the only “money” we had was a few dollars remaining on the balance of our gas station credit cards. 

In the course of 16 years, I have had operations for kidney stones, gallbladder removal, gastric bypass and intestinal obstruction.  Jim has undergone  6 eye surgeries, including cataract removal and repair of 4 retinal detachments.

And, as people do, we have faced overwhelming sadness with the loss of Jim’s father, my father, and my sister, Bean – all within 3 years of each other. 

But it wasn’t all bad that happened to us.

We have three of the most gorgeous daughters on the planet.

We have a comfortable home, bursting at the seams with toys, books, clothes, food, and love.

We have traveled from one side of the country to the other, cruised to beautiful locales, and visited Europe.

There has always been enough to celebrate all the special occasions in our lives – Christenings, birthdays, First Holy Communion, graduations, good grades, and loose teeth.

I believe we have always lived the vows we said to each other – for better or for worse; for richer or for poorer; in good times, and in bad; in sickness, and in health; in joy and in sorrow; to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live.

And it gets better with each passing year.  We have gained strength to get through the rough spots, the sad points, and the worried times.  We have learned to find and appreciate the small joys, and we can use them to keep us afloat in rougher seas.  Each year brings a renewed committment to each other and our family and the life we hope to give the girls. 

I can say after 16 years, I not only love Jim, but I continue to be in love with him.  I still get the butterflies in the stomach feeling when he’s coming home from work, from a business trip, from a quick trip to the store.  I smile at his dimples and love the wispy way his hair falls in the front.  He makes me smile and he makes me laugh, and I am so glad that we have gone through these 16 years together.  There is no one else I could imagine having by my side.