20 years ago I made one of the best decisions of my life, and that was asking Jana Elizabeth Bryant to marry me, and she said, "Yes!" The rest is, as they say, history!
Many of you reading this are thinking, "Awe, that's so cute!" And that's fine, but our marriage is like any other marriage, it has taken a lot of work to get where we are today. I had someone ask me one time, "Is your relationship with Jana real? I mean, what I see from the outside is that really what is happening ... do you really love each other that much ... and are you that happy?" That's a fair question! Because we have all seen marriages that "seemed happy" to only end in divorce months later with the couple hating each other. How does that happen? It boggles all our minds.
The answer to that question, "Is it real?" is "Yes! It is real and we really are that happy!" Though you should know that we are like most couples; we fight on occasion, we get mad, we give each other the silent treatment from time to time, I don't always get my way and I don't like that, we disagree, we cry, we yell, but we also laugh a lot, we joke, we dance, we celebrate, we sing, we go on regular dates, we compliment, we praise, we say sorry, we forgive, we dream, we serve each other, and we love like crazy. Marriage is what two people make it! It's all in. Half doesn't work out too well.
I ran in to a famous comedian the other day in the TV studio, I was just coming off camera and he was getting to go on camera and he said, "I've got 30 seconds ... give me your best marriage advice in 30 seconds or less." So I thought for a second and said, "Make what is important to her important to you, and she should make what is important to you important to her! Boom!" He then asked for my number so he could call me for more "relationship advice."
20 Years ago we made some promises to each other on how we were going to treat each other and here is the short list:
1) Never call each other names.
So far we have kept this one. This doesn't mean we have't thought them, we just haven't said them out loud! ha ha!
2) Never use the "D" word.
So far we have kept this one. Divorce, to us, is just not an option. We can always work it out, I pray this is always the case.
3) Don't use sarcasm in hurtful ways.
So far we have kept this one too. We are just not fans of cutting each other to pieces with our words.
4) Every day try to out-love each other.
This one has been a fun one, we fail many times in keeping this one perfectly, but it is always on our minds.
5) Go on regular dates with each other, no matter what.
We have been faithful to this one. We had a couple tells us 20 years ago, "You will always have a good excuse (kids, no money, no time, etc) to break this promise, just don't! No matter what, go on regular dates."
6) *Take a vacation every year.
We have kept this one. This hasn't always been easy, even now, simply because I am not a TV Evangelist making millions of dollars :) seriously though, we have been faithful to take a vacation every year even though we are tight financially like most people. It's a non-negotiable. It's easy to make excuses on "why you don't take a vacation" but that's lame! Make it a priority! I read a book called, Top Five Regrets of the Dying, and one of the regrets was related to this one. You will NEVER regret taking a regular vacation with your spouse, then with your kids if you chose to have them. It's a winner!
*I am typing this blog entry while on my 20th annual vacation!
7) Don't let your kids keep you from each other.
We have kept this one, but not without a fight!
I would like to give credit where credit is due ... and the couple that helped us so much back 20 years ago is Dan and Jane Morrison! Thank you!