The Fragility of Marriage: 3 Ways to Create a Marriage Without Regret
This past weekend, Keith and I drove to Palm Springs for the 50th birthday of one of our dear friends. While sitting around the table with some of the other birthday guests, one of the women looking at news reports on her phone somberly announced, “Sheryl Sandberg’s husband just died.”
We all gasped.
Not because any of us knew Sheryl well. But we’d seen her and her husband in the press enough to know he young, just a few years older than Keith. They’d been married the same amount of time as Keith and me. He was perfectly healthy and enjoying a vacation with his family when, just that fast, Sheryl Sandberg became a widow at the age of 45. Her most beloved person in the world, greatest motivator and encourager…gone.
I looked at Keith outside in the pool, doing his best to learn how to float, and all of a sudden I just had to be closer. The glass wall that separated him from me in that moment was far too thick. I went outside and just watched. I couldn’t stop smiling. So grateful to have another moment in this life with this amazing man of mine. Thankful that as one young wife was preparing to bury her husband, mine would be emerging from the pool…ready to eat.
I’ve met a lot of young widows over the past few years. And each time it causes me to be reflective of my own life and the fragility of marriage. Here today. Gone tomorrow. It made me think of those smart enough to recognize life is but a vapor and create a marriage without regrets. How do they do it? Here are the first three things that come to mind:
1. Say what you mean but don’t say it mean. Don’t keep things bottled inside. Share with your spouse what’s on your heart. Do your best to do so with vulnerability and with a heart to listen, learn, and love.
2. Make friendship an essential part of your marriage. Love, passion and commitment are all important in creating a union that will withstand the test of time. But don’t just be married…enjoy every moment of it. The best way to do that is to build a marriage with friendship as one of its strongest pillars.
3. Treat today as if it were your last. Early this morning, I had tea with a wonderful friend in town from San Francisco. She and I sat around laughing, hugging and sharing stories about the first time we met. She talked about her husband and I talked about mine. The difference is, at the age of 45 (just a year older than Keith), her otherwise healthy husband boarded a plane in their hometown bound for New York and never made it off that plane alive. Max Lucado has a quote I love, “Forgive and give as if it were your last opportunity. Love like there is no tomorrow, and if tomorrow comes, love again.”
Until tomorrow…make it a great day!
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