I am a very fortunate man.
I make that statement for many reasons.
I have good health, a clear mind and a strong sense of what I love to do and how to make that happen. I have work that I have chosen and that supplies me with meaning. I have friends that I have known for many years.
And I have a loving family.
For me, family begins with my original family-Mom, Dad, Mike and Jon. As an adult, I have formed a family with Dunreith and Aidan.
I tell them regularly, but perhaps not often enough, that becoming Dunreith’s husband and Aidan’s father are the best decisions I have ever made.
Dunreith is a fantastic wife, best friend and life partner who has helped, taught and challenged me each day of the nearly 12 years since we first got together.
It’s not always been easy, but I am always grateful to be married to her.
We will celebrate 10 years of marriage in September and I am hopeful that we will have many more years of shared adventures and experiences.
Laurie Wagner, Stephanie Rausser, and David Collier have put together Living Happily Ever After, a coffee table book in which couples talk about lasting love.
The couples are a diverse bunch.
The pairs in the book are white, black, Latino and Asian, gay, and straight. There are couples in which the man is older and other in which the woman in older. They range in ages from their 50s to their 90s. Some couples have only been with each other their entire lives, while others have been divorced for more than half of the time they have been together.
But the constant element in all of the stories is the love they feel for each other, the honest conversation they share about their marriages and the format in which their stories are told.
Each story has some brief introductory text from the authors, a present day picture of the couple next to text that features the words of both partners, and older shots of the partners.
The couples speak openly about the joy they get from being with the other person and the challenges they have experienced. These can include periods of infidelity, difficulties with in-laws or friends, and the pain caused by parental death.
In the end, though, the couples conclude that being with the other person more than outweighs the difficulties, and, in most cases, say that the meaning they receive from their husband or wife is actually heightened by the troubles they at times experience.
I have found the same to be true with Dunreith.
Living Happily Ever After shows marriage not as a fairy tale, but as the daily construction of life with the person you have chosen to share life’s most powerful and mundane experiences.