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Many obstacles ahead, but marital happiness looms large

Praise the Lord and pass me some of that wedding cake. My baby boy just got married.

Even better, he's moved out!

Of course, someone recently told me that getting your kids out of your house is one thing; getting them out of your checkbook is another. We'll see.

Meantime, my wife and I are happy for our son and his new bride. We think he chose well. I hope he picked as carefully as I did. And I hope they are both as happy as we have been for more than 25 years.

Of course, I can only speak for myself. You'll have to ask Pat how happy she is but she has put up with me for more than a quarter of a century so that says something.

I think about Nick and Donna and have conflicting emotions as they begin a life together. In some ways I don't envy them. They have much to learn about running a household, balancing budgets and organizing schedules so they'll both get to do things they like to do and still have time to do the things that bind them together — the things that brought them together in the first place.

I don't envy them the task of finding their way in the world. It's tougher to do than when we started out. My first house cost less than my last car. But I missed a few nights of sleep worrying about how I would come up with $135 a month to make my mortgage payment.

I think I was more mature when I got married, but that's probably faulty reasoning based on a cloudy perspective of too many years and a parent's never-ending concern about his children. I have a tendency to want things to be easier for them than they were for me. But I also know that the hardest times were the ones that taught me the most.

I wonder about my child raising children. I suspect he'll be good at it, and so will his bride — but not too soon. They should finish raising each other first. But Pat will tell you that process may last well into middle age.

I also envy them.

They have adventures ahead of them, places to go, people to meet, wonderful things to accomplish. They have a lifetime of growing closer and learning what it is to love someone so much it makes you cry just to think about it. And when the time is right, they'll have their own children to nurture, to worry about and to be proud of as we are proud of them.

I envy their journey as they walk and work together to discover who they really are and what they mean to each other. And they'll find that it's the stressful times — the nights the baby cries until early morning, the days they spend taking care of each other when they're sick, the days when the car doesn't crank — that bring them closer.

Those hard times will make them appreciate even more the days when everything works, days when the sun shines brightly, when the bills are all paid and everyone is healthy and content.

Those days do happen. I hope they have many of them.

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