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Marriage -- 31 Years after our First Fight

Jeff and I have been married for 31 years. It seems like fifteen. The first fifteen we started over every year. Our anniversary would roll around on May 17th and we'd sit at a restaurant and rehash the good, the bad, and the ugly we'd lived together over the past year. Then we would reaffirm our love and commitment and give it another try.

Marriage often starts with a misguided and mostly unconscious attempt to have another meet our needs in a relationship of intimacy that we assume will be deeply gratifying for both parties. Because who wouldn't want life to be exactly like we envision it should be?

Marriage, we are told, is about giving and taking—compromise, right? Jeff and I had our first after marriage fight in the car driving across the 430-bridge. It was a heated debate over the definition of the word compromise. I said compromise meant meeting in the middle in order to come to a decision both parties could agree on. He said compromising was letting go of tightly held…

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