In our marriage, like most, there are good and bad times, angry times and emotional highs and lows. We have four beautiful grandchildren, one with a congenital heart problem who has had three heart operations—scary, awful times. We've been in emergency rooms with our kids for either broken bones or concussions from sports activities, falling off swings, falling off a mountain, falling while snow and water skiing, walking into coffee tables, falling up the stairs (yes, up), falling out of bed in the middle of the night and operations to remove objects such as nails and straight pins from between toes.

We have signed autographs, casts and at least eight pairs of crutches, now in our storage bin as souvenirs. (Why am I saving these?) Then there's our "emergency room" at home for broken hearts or broken spirits, pictures of the parade of dogs and other critters who have found refuge in our home and dined at our table, the school activities, the parent teacher-conferences, vacations, college entrance exams (that nearly did me in!), different jobs and job titles for both Tony and I, and the corporate dinners (no, that nearly did me in!). There was also dealing with self-doubt, loss of parents, deaths, births, bitter disappointments, sickness, picnics, bike rides on the beach, arguing in the car, catching up with each other over a latte and a freshly baked sour dough baguette with sweet Irish butter and homemade jam, huge holiday dinners, birthday celebrations, dinner parties for family, friends and business associates, picking up pieces of someone's life other than your own, helping others by getting out of your comfort zone, making a difference in someone's life that miraculously transforms yours, meeting new friends and nurturing old ones. I've learned that it's about understanding the yin and yang of a relationship by being strong for Tony when I have to be because he is feeling vulnerable and also having the freedom to expose all the deepest, darkest parts of my soul when I fall apart—and still feel safe when it's my turn to be a mess, all this while standing, sitting, sleeping next to my soul mate.

When someone announced that they've been married a long time, the question I always hear asked is, "What is the secret to a long and happy marriage?"

I find it to be an odd question. Is there actually an answer? Is there a secret formula to live successfully with someone who you are not related to for more than a one-third of your life?
There are many answers given with great conviction, and there are many "secrets" people cite. Here are a few:
  • Compromise
  • Listen to the other person
  • Never go to bed mad
  • Agree to disagree
  • Respect
  • Commit
  • Have separate bathrooms
  • Laugh
  • Forgive
  • Let her have the remote
  • Like the same things
  • Have children
  • Work at it (my personal favorite)

Can any one of these truly be the reason for a lifetime of togetherness?

If you ask me that question, I would simply answer: "There's no secret. We just are.

We're together because we have a deep spiritual connection that, frankly, I don't even question. We don't analyze it, we don't pretend that it is something it is not, we don't think about it, we don't consciously "work at it." We laugh, we cry, we argue, we love our family and friends, we make love—all the wonderful and not-so-wonderful things we experienced as a couple only makes the bond stronger. We live our life, together. We are.

Sending a big bowl of love,

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