You'd think I would have the answers, that I'd found the secret to a long and happy marriage.
I don't have the answers.
Some people hear we've been together for this long and say "congratulations" like it's an honor we've won that many strive for but few achieve.
Please don't look like it that way.
We know many who are divorced.
We did not do it better than them.
Most of those people are correct to be divorced, some waited too long.
Some people suffer through too many painful years, even abuse, before making the difficult and painful decision to split.
Michelle and I haven't done marriage better, just different.
Loving one person your whole life doesn't make you an expert, doesn't mean you are more successful.
There are so many different forms of love.
Parents and siblings,
bothers and sisters and cousins,
men and women,
men and men,
women and women.
Sometimes, love is instant, like the first time you see your baby's face.
Sometimes it builds slowly, like the acquaintances who know each other forever, and then start feeling something closer.
Sometimes love lasts a lifetime, sometimes a summer.
Love isn't finite.
It isn't like if you love one person with your whole heart and soul that you cannot love another.
I love Michelle, and my children, and my siblings and cousins and friends.
Love for one does not diminish love for another.
It seems to grow as your experience it.
Sometimes we look to those we love to be a source of fulfillment.
Please don't, it isn't possible or fair to those people.
They can provide support and strength, but fulfillment needs to come from within, from self-love.
All forms of love are special, all precious, and we all deserve to find it, not with just one person, but with many people in many forms, during our life.
So don't look at us being married for 41 years as something special, don't hold us up as something to emulate.
Find your own forms of love, and embrace them.
Michelle and I have been lucky to have been in love so long.
It's special and comforting.
We have gone through many of life's trials together and that makes for a special bond.
We have times when we are ready to walk away, times when we are so angry with each other. But anger is not the opposite of love.....apathy is, just not caring any more.
We've not experienced that with each other.
Life isn't a fairy tale, it comes with bills, and mortgages, and family.
There are days of doubts, it's not happily ever after.
To this day she excites me if she dresses or undresses in front of me (and she knows this)
But our closest times are when something great or something tragic happens and we want the other with us to share the moment.
So don't look to others to find the definition of love, because it will be different for you.
Go out and find it in the forms meant for you, and have the courage to embrace them when you do.