Marriage…it isn’t for the weak

This past week my best friends celebrated their 14 year wedding anniversary.  DeAnna’s husband had the most beautiful and obnoxious flower arrangement delivered to our Ashland office.  There were 14 gorgeous dark pink roses and another 14 of the most stunning double lilies.  The darn thing was so big and heavy that the gal delivering the arrangement spilled the vase as she was trying to set it down on De’s desk.   As DeAnna ran to get paper towels the delivery woman said, “Man, those things are just so heavy.”  Without hesitation I replied, “Almost as heavy as a 14 year marriage.”  We both laughed.  But it is oh so true.

I have a theory that many people who are successful in business are often still married to their first spouse.  They realize both in their profession as well as their marriage that it takes a lot of effort, commitment, and sometimes sweat and tears but in the end is all worth it.  They understand that any relationship that is more than a few years old, whether business related or personal; takes work.  Those relationships take dedication, sacrifice, forgiveness and grace.

I have known Nate and DeAnna for just about half my life.  I got to know them from day 1 of their “second go “at love.  Some may not know but they were actually high school sweethearts back in the day. They gave it a good run but were just not quite ready for the level of commitment at such a young age.  They separated in college only to discover cupid would bring them back together 5 years later.  I have witnessed their relationship through the courting process, the newlywed stage, living in two different counties while of them advanced in their careers, a bought of infertility, becoming new parents and now going through the growing pains of having a full commitment to raising two very active boys.

As I stared at that beautiful arrangement of flowers I couldn’t be more proud.  Don’t get me wrong they haven’t lived a fairy tale life.  Nate’s commitments at work often keep him after hours, only to arrive home and up taking a few more phone calls.  All the while, DeAnna is getting home from a full day at the office meeting the needs of our wide arrange of client, to be greeted by her children who want mom’s undivided attention which often includes a soccer ball and throwing a football.  Day after day I see each of them rise to the occasion.  Nate volunteers to coach their oldest in football and baseball as De transports the youngest to swim, soccer, etc.  They often even manage to feed our family when we seem to be dragging next door.

To “Natie and DeDe”: I see you.  We see you.  Thank you for pushing through each day so we could celebrate with you as you hit such a milestone in today’s society.  Thank you for setting the standard so high that it leaves an impact on all those you know.  Some days you may feel like you have nothing left to give and that’s okay.  For we have seen all the lives you impacted before you felt so drained.  Thank you for raising kids with consequences and structure at home and thank you for taking the path that is less traveled, more work and often exhausting.  You give me hope for a better tomorrow.  I love you both and couldn’t be more proud of the commitment you still hold on to 14 years later.