“How long have you and your wife been married?” I was asked.  “29 years as of Sunday” was my response.  Since that question was posed to me earlier this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships.  Specifically, I’ve wondered how some relationships stay strong while others don’t last.  I’ve decided one key lies in four words couples utter on their wedding day, “for better or worse”.

There’s a great deal of wisdom tucked away in that simple phrase.  At face value you might think it’s about accepting whatever cards you are dealt.  However, I choose to believe it’s about staying focused on what’s important.  When you are in a relationship with someone over the long haul, conflict is inevitable – but the challenge is in not letting short-term behaviors damage the long-term health of the relationship itself. 

When confronted with the difficult behavior of someone you care about, focus on one question: What’s more important, the specific behavior the person is demonstrating right now or our relationship?  Hopefully, the answer is the latter. And by remembering this, you will be more likely to take a step back, not get too worked up, and put things into perspective.

I’m incredibly blessed to have a wife who’s been able to put me, and all my challenging behaviors into perspective over the last 29+ years.  I hope over the next 29 to give her fewer opportunities to ask that question about importance and more confirmation that she made the right choice when she agreed to marry me so long ago. 

Happy Anniversary, Pris.