Reconcilable Differences

You can make your marriage last, even when you don't see eye-to-eye.

This past year my husband, Mark, and I celebrated our 21st anniversary. During those 21 years, we tripped over many truths about life—and sidestepped a few more. Kind of like Dick Van Dyke and his pesky ottoman.

We had a lot going against us back in 1975. We were 20 years old with 2 years of college remaining, and we had never lived on our own. We came from different backgrounds: Mark grew up on meat and potatoes while I was used to hamburger-surprise casserole. He preferred water-skiing on a steamy lake over my hiking in the cool mountains. But we had 2 key things going for us: determination and our Christian faith. We were committed to each other and to our growing relationship with God.

Determination is solid. Tough. It goes beyond high hopes and sweet endearments. It's the bedrock of a lasting marriage. Although love is essential, it's somewhat ethereal—like trying to capture your breath on a cold day. But when love's intertwined with determination and deep Christian faith, it becomes strong.

Just because you promised to love, honor, and perhaps pick up his socks doesn't mean you don't sometimes feel like stuffing a sock in his mouth.

Yet just because we were both determined to make our marriage work doesn't mean I didn't want to grab Mark in a headlock a few times. (And vice versa.) But over the years, we've discovered ten truths of a lasting marriage:

1. You say tomato, I say tomahto. When we were first married, we thought it was necessary to like the same things. With innocent accommodation, I tried pan-fried chicken and Mark tried chicken 'a la king. I tried to watch basketball (such squeaky shoes!) and he tried to watch black-and-white movies (such gorgeous shoes!).

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May 25

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