"Anyone married less than five years, please leave the dance floor. . . ." the deejay intoned. "Anyone married ten years or less. . . . fifteen years or less. . . ." Husband and I stayed as the floor emptied. We've been married almost twenty-four years. My parents and two pairs of aunts and uncles were the last ones standing, the longest being a fifty-seven year union. Watching them I was reminded of how much I take this for granted in my family. We are hardest on those closest to us: Why doesn't so and so keep in touch more? Why does she/he say/do things like that? If one more person teases me about having more babies I'm going to dump ice water down their pants. . . .
What I don't spend enough time thinking about, though, is that my family does relationships well. Really well. We do marriage well. We value it. Yeah, we all have our egos. We get caught up in pettiness occasionally. We set our expectations too high (okay, I set my expectations way too high). But when push comes to shove, there sure is a lot of love on the dance floor. And there is something about dancing with my partner that reminds me growing together is a choice we both make. The longer we're side by side the more our roots are entwined, our stories more difficult to separate from each other. Sometimes all it takes to reconnect is a dance among our fellow marriage warriors. It reminds us we're both planted in the same vessel, anniversaries of silver and gold in our future, fed by so many tangled roots we wouldn't think of separating them. We tell our stories. We grow toward the light.
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