A Very Special New Year’s Eve

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and old lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.
And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Instead of singing the traditional song “Auld Lang Syne”, which translates to “old long since” or “days gone by,” my family and I will be celebrating of the end of one chapter and the beginning of another in a different way.

Every year, we kiss the past goodbye and dive into the future. New Year’s Eve is like a marriage to the New Year. We fully dedicate ourselves to it and trust it with everything we have. On this New Year’s Eve, my daughter will be leaving not only entering a new year and starting a new era. She is parting from one family to join her husband in founding their own. Lauren and her soon-to-be husband Andy will start their life together in marriage as soon as 2011 ticks over to 2012.

I’ve always loved New Year’s Eve because it’s starting anew. Ahead of you is a blank canvas that you can turn into anything you want. For those, like my daughter, preparing to wed in 2012, you have to consider what being a wife means today and what marriage brings to the forefront. One of the things you’ll learn is that what you put into your marriage is what you get out of it—and marriage is hard work!

Over the years I’ve heard it all, but more commonly nowadays I’ve been able to find a common theme. Women young and old, engaged or married, are struggling to find the definition of what it truly means to be a wife and how to be a wife without losing yourself.

Biblically, the bonds of marriage are to supersede everything else, for better or worse – in sickness and in health. But do those vowels really overcome lack of desire, boredom, unhappiness: the power of marriage is supposed to remind the couple if their commitment to overcome any issue that comes their way.  However,  Culturally, we are still figuring out who should play what role; can the woman be the breadwinner?; can the man be the stay-at-home dad?  The answer is Yes, if that works for you and your spouse.

Millions of women have felt the pressure of needing to give up her own dreams, hopes, and life in order to fulfill her husband’s wishes or to fill the role she thinks he wants her to fill. It’s natural to be nervous about stepping into new roles. But know that you don’t have to give up anything; you just have to rearrange. Self vs. Wife and Mother vs. businesswoman—it’s all possible. You just have to figure out how to make each situation and dream work for you.  No one can define your marriage or relationship for you but you. And by the way starting anew does not mean forgetting the rest of your roles.

Unfortunately, our society is not this way. We live in a world of consumerism. In America and a large majority of the world, when something is broken, we toss it aside for something new. With marriage, a couple has to work through the sometimes difficult and ugly circumstances that occur instead of merely escape them. Again, what you put into your relationship is what you will get out of it. That said, over the past three decades I’ve been blessed to recognize that people have want to believe in love, marriage and the power of the relationship – and the hope that they are willing to do what it takes to communicate, spice it up or start anew.

My New Years wish is that each of you recognize that as humans, with the power of choice it can be hard deciding what idea to support. But it’s time to recognize what the majority of couples fail to realize: that marriage and your definition of it, as well as your role within it, is entirely up to you and your partner. You can define it however you want. It doesn’t matter what your best friend’s or parents’ marriage has been like; the inner workings of every couple is and should be different. There is no right or wrong. At the end of the day, you have to know that you’ve both contributed to your relationship and to making it work.

And truly take into account that we ALL (including you) have our faults. Our partners do, too. Sometimes, because of our egos, we can’t set the past aside and we let our past errors affect our future. Until we choose to work through our feelings of the past or we choose to leave the past behind, we can’t get beyond the negativity. You have to stop and forgive yourself as you go. Be kind to yourself and realize that what’ you’ve gone through happened in order to confirm what you do or don’t want to do in your future. Forgive as you go along, and be sure to forgive your partner, too. The hardest thing for couples to do is to give and treat each other with grace. This is something to strive for in all your relationships: the one with your partner, your family, your friends, and most importantly, yourself.

Whether you’re single, engaged, on your way to the altar, or wed, the New Year offers everyone an opportunity to refresh their relationships (even your relationship with yourself). Treat the New Year as a new chapter in your relationship. Evaluate what your relationship is like now, what you love about it, what you’d like to change about it, and how you can make your relationship even better.

Give grace where you would want it given to you.

It’s never too late to make things better. It’s never too late to start working on your own dreams again. And it’s never too late to find true, respectful, lasting love.

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