How Staying Married Helped Me Reinvent

"How do you do it? You've been married for 28 years, and you still like each other. What's the secret?"

Yes, if you look at us now, you'd think we were in a new relationship. We laugh together. We giggle. We hold hands. Even our daughter says, "you don't act like a lot of my friends' parents."

We take that as a compliment. I love my guy. He's the best.

But it hasn't always been that way. You don't stay married for 28, years without doubt, a few problems, a lot of screaming matches, and even the occasional questioning along the way.

Our story started out differently than most. Because I didn't fall for my husband first; I fell for the other guy. My husband's best friend.

We double dated. We knew each other as friends.

Time passed. I broke up with my boyfriend. We went our separate ways. Until a fateful night at a party where once again we met. And we've been together ever since.

Life has been good.

We've built businesses, created a life.

We added a daughter and the three of us became a family.

We changed. We grew. We had successes. But we also had failures. BIG failures.

Ones that made us question everything. Ones that took a whole lot away.

I've walked out. We've gone days, weeks without talking. We've fought. I've cried.

But through it all, I always asked one question at the end of the day. Would my life be better without him in it? The answer was always no. So I moved to the next day.

On and on. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year.

Sure, we've had tough times. But like anything, those days change.

We started liking each other again. I looked at him differently. We fight differently. We celebrate differently.

But we're different people. We're not those same 20-year-old kids anymore.

We've fallen in love all over again.

A couple of years ago, we asked, "what's next?" Let's get rid of all this stuff. Let's get down to what's important. Let's spend time together. Let's travel. Let's see the world.

Because you never know how much time is left. For my father, the end came at the age of 54.

That's not much time.

So why not do what you truly want to do? Even if that changes on a day-to-day basis?

Because ultimately this life is about me, finding peace, today. Building happiness with those that love me, appreciate me, care for me.

Happiness changes daily. Sometimes it's about taking a walk by the river. Sometimes it's about nourishing my love of writing. Sometimes it's traveling, being with family and friends.

But ultimately, I've discovered it isn't just me. It's us. It's him. He knows me. He gets me. He has the key that can unlock my soul. He allows me to feel. He allows me to be free. He knows how to push my buttons, push me to greater heights. He knows what affects me and makes it a little easier. He knows what motivates me and gives me the strength to reach even higher. He loves me ... no matter what.

It's us.

I can be who I'm meant to be, right now, at this age, in this place and time.

That may change tomorrow. I'm positive it will. But for now, I'm in a good place.

Can any of us ask for more?

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