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Nineteen Years Later

Nineteen Years Later: Happy Anniversary

Today is our 19th year anniversary. Yes, I got married when I was ten, ha! The years flew by so fast that as of late, I feel a sense of shock after uttering that number '19' to people who pose the 'how long have you been married?' question. I was never one of those girls who grew up imagining my dream wedding. Honestly, it wasn't until I was engaged that I started to think of wedding plans, and now to be married to my most loyal friend and partner in life is just something I guess I could not have dreamed would exist. We both not only live together, but work together in the same home office. Suffice to say, we have a lot of togetherness. But the more time we spend together, the more inseparable we've become to the point that many times we would much rather spend time alone sans the company of others. Does that mean we're turning into two little anti-social old people? I hope not! {Chuckles}.

Reflecting back on the previous years, we have so much to be grateful and happy for on this special day. In our short lifetime, we have experienced so much in our life together as a team - from owning two different style homes (including building one), driving across country six times, living in five different cities, to traveling many places around the globe. We have also built a business together and spend hours in our community every week volunteering our time and resources to mentor and help others. Obviously, like everyone else, our life's journey together isn't always peaches and cream. We too, have encountered our fair share of hills, valleys and even roadblocks lasting for longer stretches than we would have liked them to at times, but we always manage to bounce back. What's our secret, you ask? Well, other than applying these six keys to a successful marriage, today I'd like to share the other four fundamental basic qualities that have helped us stick it out through thick and thin.

1. Genuine Love. Is the one quality that impels us to seek the other's happiness, motivates us to celebrate the joyful moments in life together and be a support beam to lift the other up when faced with challenges. The key to keeping this love alive is by continually nourishing it through countless smaller acts - a kind remark, a  positive compliment, a thoughtful gesture, a telling smile. Even a basic "how was your day?" shouldn't be taken for granted. These series of small things make a big difference in a marriage.

2. Learn About Each Other. Clearly, the more you know about each other, it's bound to make your love grow even stronger despite flaws. Attentively listening when your spouse is speaking, (without allowing the eyes to slip into glazed over mode either) lets the other person know that you're truly interested in what they're saying.  Share your goals and hopes, and also learn to discuss and work out your issues.  This helps your lives to be genuinely united and interlaced.

3. Loyalty. This strong feeling of attachment helps you to remain true to the one that you love. So the thought of not being married to each other is utterly unimaginable. The benefit of having such an outlook brings a sense of permanence and security, knowing that you will stay by each other no matter what problems may arise.

4. Commitment. Means being firmly resolved to stick things out and solve problems together no matter what. Instead of comparing it to a ball and chain that shackles us to a bad decision, rather we think of our commitment as a guardrail that prevents our marriage from going off course. When tough problems arise, which they will and they do - one of the best things to do is to think back on that beautiful day when the solemn promise of "through sickness and health and till death do us part” was happily made on that most joyous occasion. Remembering that heartfelt vow helps you not to let problems make you abandon your lifelong commitment or forfeit everything that you have already invested in the marriage.

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