Twenty-five years ago next Thursday, my wife Bonnie and I were married. I've never regretted it. Can't speak for her.
To people who've been married 50 or 60 years, 25 might not seem like much. But to me, it's more than half my life - the half I wouldn't mind reliving, given the chance.
I'm surprised, sometimes, to see young people putting off marriage or not marrying at all, just as I've been saddened over the years to watch friends divorce - because I think marriage is a wonderful thing, one of the best things that can happen to us in this life.
Moreover, a good marriage is a source of joy each day, unlike more fleeting pleasures, such as catching a 5-pound bass or shooting a 37 on the back nine.
One of the best things about marriage is companionship. How else are you going to find someone to spend every day with you for the rest of her life? Someone who smells good, I mean, and looks pretty in a dress.
Amazingly, even after 25 years, my wife and I still haven't run out of things to talk about. That may be partly because I still have most of the same shortcomings. And it's also true that, over the years, we've come up with several new topics for conversation, named Jennifer, Robert, Michael, and Nathan.
But the main thing is, we just like being together. For years, when our children were small, we felt practically starved for time alone. Now that they're old enough to stay home by themselves (note to DFCS: we swear), we take advantage of every opportunity to go places together: Wal-Mart, Kroger, the post office, the dry cleaner.
Who says romance is dead?
Another advantage of marriage, I've read, is that it makes people healthier. I know this is true in my case. My wife inspires me to do many things that help me live longer, such as not looking at other women.
I also eat better than I would if I were single, since I don't have to do all the cooking myself. And I wear cleaner clothes, sleep on fresher sheets, apply deodorant on a regular basis. If I were single, I'd probably live in squalor, which I believe is another term for "bachelorhood."
But the best thing about marriage is the grace and beauty it brings into my life. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe that a house, to be a home, requires a woman's touch. For instance, I had no idea stripes could go with plaids, or that you can buy those miniature lampshades for your chandelier.
Sure, I could probably hire someone to cook the meals, do the laundry, maybe even decorate. But it wouldn't be the same. She'd hardly be able to talk about any of my shortcomings.
Also, I wouldn't be crazy about her.