374957_10150542283465522_1903457976_nAn unmarried 24-year-old said this to me today: "Marriage is easy."

That has me thinking.

Marriage is easy.
Marriage is easy. Fidelity is not. There are temptations. There are opportunities. My mantra: "Do I really want to hurt my beloved? Is that the message I want to send our kids? Do I really want this complexity? And who do I really want to see in the mirror while shaving?"

Marriage is easy. Forgiveness is not. But bearing a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.

Marriage is easy. Collaboration is not. Collaboration requires compromise. As Andy Sokol taught, "It's the two of us against the world."

Marriage is easy. Money management is not. When even only one spouse spends beyond the means of the family, the end is near. 

Marriage is easy. Encouraging growth is not. Biologists say (or so I think) that each of our atoms is recreated every seven years. That means that my 2014 wife is at least three times removed from my 1988 bride. She's regenerated physically. (Not all at once. That would be disturbing.) Accepting — and encouraging — change in one's spouse is a necessary ingredient in marriage.

Marriage is easy. Parenting is not. These are the hard conversations. Many marriages erode during these hard conversations. We get on the same page and stay there. Whenever we are not on the same page, we get on the same page and stay there. Many marriages place their kids above their spouses. We don't.  

Marriage is easy. Applying a conversational filter is not. What is a conversational filter? So many marriages break down because people think "I should tell my spouse everything." Contrary to this contemporary ethic, the Talmud teaches that, if we tell our spouses everything, we will tell them of every slight inflicted upon us during the typical day. And, if we amplify every slight, our spouses will start to think of us as victims. And that, my friends, is the beginning of the end of many marriages.

We are both grateful that we are married to someone who is faithful and — for the most part, usually — forgives, collaborates, spends within our means, encourages growth, parents (on the same page), and applies a conversational filter. 

Some people need to end their marriage. I respect their struggle.

Today is our 26th Wedding Anniversary.
Twenty-six years ago, we stood by the pond at Rocky Fork, surrounded by our friends. My father stood as my best man.

Following a day of springtime storms, it was a brilliant, perfect day. Now 9,496 days later, it stands out as the most fortunate day of my life. 

I was just plain lucky.

"Marriage is not a lifetime commitment."
That's what Alisa told our children when they were young. When they heard that, they waited for the other shoe to drop. They expected that Alisa was announcing our divorce. 

But Alisa quickly added: "Marriage is not a lifetime commitment. It is a daily commitment. Everyday, we decide to be married."

Alisa has decided 9,496 times to be married to me. Everytime I come home, I am amazed to see her there.

Alisa is the least needy person in the world.