Love Will Keep Us Together

We make it work by keeping things romantic and always maintaining the highest respect for one another.

Today marks Maggie’s and my 18 month anniversary. I didn’t think it was a thing to be celebrated – Maggie set me straight.

Though it’s a lot more just a quirk that my wife like’s to celebrate things, I found it interesting that 18 (yāobā) is considered lucky by Chinese superstitious mumbo jumbo.

In addition to that relatively useless thought, I’ve been pondering the whole “marriage” thing a lot lately.

A good friend of mine told me recently that he’s getting divorced. That split will officially mark me as the sole torch-bearer for successful matrimony among my four buddies from high school.

The good news is that with an average divorce rate of about 35%, statistically Mags and I are pretty much assured to be good well into the next century.

Which is about how I feel. I mean, I truly love my wife.

Now, I’m not new to love. I’ve been in and out of love a good number of times. But the maturity, depth and confidence of love I have with Maggie is something altogether different.

I often tell people “we just fit each other”, and I can’t really explain it better than that. Long time readers will have followed much of our relationship on here (as, and this is a bit weird, I’ve had this blog longer than I’ve known her) and may recognize what I mean.

It’s not to say we don’t have our problems, nor that we don’t squabble endlessly. We do, of course. But they never overshadow our love and respect for one another.

Respect.

My father, who led our wedding ceremony, imparted that gem on me. He, a divorcee who just celebrated his 20th wedding anniversary to my stepmom, recently reiterated a point to me that was originally part of his speech at our wedding (Dad, I hope you don’t mind me sharing this):

I know it sounds corny but we make it work by keeping things romantic and always maintaining the highest respect for one another. The love we feel for one another is a given but I see other couples say things or act in a certain way that clearly communicates they have no respect for each other. To me, that is an unmistakable signal of a deep problem that will eventually kill whatever love exists. I know I said it at your wedding but I absolutely believe you can have respect without love, but you can never have a sustainable love without respect.

It may be a bit strange that it is my dad and his second marriage (the first, obviously, being to my mom) which acts as such an inspiration to me. But seeing the two of them still able to find that magic even after two decades of seeing each other every day – that’s hard not to appreciate and look up to – and it’s easy to understand that he lives by his own advice.

And though a year and a half is only a drop in the bucket of a lifetime… today fills me with a feeling of both it having been a very short and very long time since we took our vows and promised to love each other always. Short because it is still just the beginning of our lives together, and long because I cannot imagine a day of my life without her in it.

I realize that “Love and respect will keep us together” is a more fitting title for this post – but once I typed it, I just couldn’t get the song out of my head.

This post was previously published on Ryan-McLaughlin.com and is republished here with a Creative Commons license.

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