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Will you marry me?

August 1, 2022

Today Jim and I celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary! I am so thankful to this amazing man for having enriched my life in so many ways. There are some lessons we learned throughout our years, but first let me give you a little background.
Jim grew up in a solid Michigan family. His family roots were strong, his work ethic, faith journey, and family values came from mid-western roots. College educated initially in engineering and then technical writing reflected his amazing brain and his ability with words.
I grew up in Germany, post Second World War in a very chaotic and unhealthy family, with lots of trauma, and abuse which caused me to be a bad student, and a broken person.
By the time we met we both had done some healing, had solid faith background and knew what we were looking for, but for me there was so much more to do.
Our first date was February 19th and within days I knew he was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. 3 weeks into dating Jim was accepted to go to China for a year as a teacher and asked me if I would wait. We had 4 more months to get to know each other, start our pre-marriage counseling and plan for our life together. Jim left for China while I continued my education and a year later we got married. That was 35 years ago.

Here are some lessons we learned during this time:

-Divorce is not an option. Early on we talked about the journey ahead and decided that we would do whatever it takes to make our marriage last.
-Go to bed at the same time and always kiss good night. This advice seemed odd at the time of our pre-marriage counseling, but it served us well.
-Don’t go to bed angry. I have terrible nightmares when we have not resolved our conflict, so we make sure that we always are ok with each other.
-Set priorities! Neither of us are ‘job focused’, while we take our work very seriously, neither of us ever felt we wanted to ‘climb the success ladder’. Both of us have worked in a variety of areas and yet it was never about the money, but always about the impact we could make.
-Have a common faith. I don’t think we would have lasted without our faith that has guided us, sustained us, and focused us.
-Seek out good role models that are a few steps ahead of you that you can learn from.
-Recognize that your journey together is yours, and no matter what others say, you have to make the final decision on what will work for the couple.
-Dance! Find ways to enjoy life together. Find hobbies that you can do together that brings life to you. Make sure you have time to dance in the kitchen.
-And, this should have been at the beginning: pick the right person! It is worth the wait, don’t settle, don’t get desperate. In a world where divorce is so common, make sure you take the time to pick the right person.

35 years later, Jim and I still enjoy each other’s company, have deep mutual respect for each other, get to do what we feel makes a difference in our world, and know that we have each other’s support no matter what. We still kiss each other good night (although we might have to wake up one of us :)) and dance in the kitchen. While we don’t have another 35 years ahead of us, we will enjoy whatever time we have.

PS I recognize that it takes two to make a marriage work!

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