Bill and I have been married now for almost 11 years, and dated 3 1/2 years before we got hitched.
August 21, 1999 - we both had just turned 22 and there were a lot of people who thought we were too young. Maybe we were, but one thing was for sure - we loved each other and knew without a doubt that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Bill had joined the army and was going to be traveling the world, and neither of us wanted him to be doing it alone. We didn't have a lot of money to spend on fancy rings. Bill paid $35 for an opal ring at a pawn shop, and we had picked out 50 matching wedding bands from James Avery the first year we were dating. There's a Hebrew inscription that reads "Whither thou goest, I will follow", and the sentiment has always rang true for us as we've moved from Oklahoma to Washington DC to Germany to California to Arizona to Florida and now back to California. Always together.
When we first got married, people used to say things to us like, "Just wait until the honeymoon is over." or "Wait until you've been married 5 years...7 years... 10 years...." - possibly assuming after years together we'd realize how hard it is and expect failure? I don't know what their intentions were but it always infuriated me. At what point will it stop? After we've been married 50 years, will there be someone there to say, "Wait until you've been married 55 years!"
I always look to Bill's grandparents who have been married for over 60 years as a gauge for a successful marriage. The #1 thing I notice when I'm around them is that they genuinely enjoy each other's company.
We are by no means experts on marriage. And our marriage like all has not been perfect. But after 14 years together, believe it or not, I still like hanging out with Bill. That could all change 50 years from now but I don't think so. If we make it 60 years, I'll request an epitaph that reads "Here lies Bill and Anna. They never got sick of each other. So there."