Thursday, July 5, 2012


Sixteen is a special number to me.  My birthday is on the 16th of November and I remember thinking that turning 16 on the 16th was pretty cool.  Lots of cool stuff happens when you turn 16, what with the whole getting to drive thing that happens, if you plan things right.  I got a job right after my 16th birthday, too... working at the Wolfforth, TX Dairy Queen.  Looking back, and adding my considerable experience working as a counselor to many 16 year olds, I would like to note that 16 looks very different depending on whether you are looking toward it, or back on it.  What my 16 year old self DID'T know would fill libraries.  Of course, I'll probably feel that way about my 35 year old self at some point in the future, but that is the subject of another blog.

The subject of this blog is 16.  16 years of marriage, to be specific.  According to Wikipedia, the proper gift is something made of Bronze.  I think it is interesting to note that the proper gift for the 90th wedding anniversary is STONE, probably headstones.

Yes, Amelia and I have been married for 16 years today!  Yay us!  I remember not very long ago, I was completing a pre-marital counseling session with a youngish couple and I came home that evening and saw that my father in law, Robert, was at our house.  I asked him, "What were you thinking?!?"  We were only 19 and 21, Jeff and Amelia, respectively and I can't fathom 19 year olds being ready for marriage.  Yet somehow, we have persevered.  Traditional martial research looks at two axis of data: longevity and satisfaction.  That is, it is possible to be married for a long time and to be very satisfied and happy.  However, the data shows that many people end up being married for a long time (longevity), but aren't very happy (satisfaction).  I knew  a guy who used to joke about his marriage: "I've been married 12 fantastic years!  Out of twenty... that ain't bad!"

In 16 years, we've lived in:
Abilene (apartment)
Coleman (Garage apartment)
Abilene (house sitting)
Plainview (Duplex)
Plainview (bought a house)
Enid (Rent house for a week)
Enid (Rent house for 1.5 years)
Enid (Traded to another rent house for 1.5 years)
Abilene (In-law's house for 4 years)
Abilene (renting)

In 16 years, we've traveled together:
Texas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Kansas, Tennessee, Colorado, Germany, Holland, Italy, England, Austria.

In 16 years together, we've laughed, we've loved, we've disagreed, we've struggled, we have faced adversity and we have lived with diabetes.  We like to talk to each other, we like to be together.  We like to have our own space and fill up each other's space.  I've shot her and she's scrapped me.  I can remember not being married, but I can't imagine not being married to her.

In 16 years, we've learned a lot about each other, but we have also each changed.  We've grown up.  Our children have taught us what it means to be parents.  They are the best gifts we have given to each other and they give us so much each day.  Our children have helped us (and continue to) grow up.

In 16 years, I'd like to be blogging (or whatever the trend is) about my new favorite number: 32.

Happy 16th, baby.  You complete me and make me want to be a better man.  To be esteemed by you is enough to carry me through each day.  I love you more today than I did yesterday and I'll say the same tomorrow.  Thank you for being my friend, my partner, my love, my life.  Thank you for our children and for your example to them.  Being a family with you means more to me than anything and I love you.

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