More than two decades ago, as we were standing at the alter getting married, my minister, who had known me all my life, turned to my soon-to-be husband and said, "we all have our cross to bear in life, and, I promise, Angel is going to be yours!"
Everyone laughed, my brother, a little too loudly. November will mark our 21st wedding anniversary. A couple moves, a couple jobs, a couple kids, a couple good years, a couple not so good years and then, just like that you've been married almost half your life!
So, what's the secret?
Is there one? Who really knows. Not me.
For 20 of our 21 years, I've made a living helping people end their marriages. So, if anything, what I do know for sure is the reason why some marriages don't work. And what I also know is that much of what we see on the outside is not what is really happening on the inside.
It doesn't matter what their Facebook status says, there are days she doesn't like him, he doesn't like her, and both wish, they had said, I do not! That goes for me, you, your neighbor, your friends and even those who protest too much because at the end of the day, we're all human, just trying to figure it out one day at a time.
So 21 years later, this is what I know thus far....
People change, some less than others. At 20, working part time so you can pursue your dreams, hanging out with friends, always looking for "fun" things to do is endearing. At 30, it's the reason she will leave you.
My grandmother used to say that idle hands are the devil's workshop. Truer words were never spoken. Or to put it another way, boredom leads to bad things. Very bad things.
Find a job, find a hobby, find a purpose, preferably the same one as your spouse.
For most of us, our first love is a sweet memory. Keep it that way. Life may seem exciting again for those few months after you reconnect, but a year later, when you've lost everything you've worked so hard to achieve and your first love suddenly morphs into a 43 year old with two kids who don't like you very much, you will wish with all your heart...you had not texted back.
Say or do ugly things to your spouse, because you're not happy with yourself, and they will soon not be happy staying married to you.
Money makes the world go round. It just does. Try to pay your light bill with something other than money and your lights will get cut off. So if you spend all your money and then your spouse's money too, when those lights don't turn on, your spouse will have no choice but to go somewhere where they do come on.
What I also know for sure, is that everyone has their own, personal cross to bear in life. The secret to a long lasting marriage may be marrying someone willing to carry yours, as well as theirs, and your willingness to do the same.
What I also know thus far...is that there is more to learn.
To read more of Angel and Becky's columns go to www.wilsonlivingmagazine.com and