My husband and I recently attended a friend's son's wedding -- a beautiful affair, with vows said at St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church in Dix Hills and then a reception at Fox Hollow Inn in Woodbury. I looked at the glowing couple and realized most marriages start like this. But with an almost 50 percent divorce rate in this country, I wondered what happens to that glow?

Toward the end of the reception, all married couples were invited to the dance floor. Then the DJ started to eliminate couples, first those married less than 5 years, than 10 years, up to 40 years. My husband and I were last couple standing. We were asked by the newlyweds and again by their friends, how did we do it?

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My husband and I looked at each other and said in unison, "We decided that in this disposable society, our marriage was not disposable." That is not to say it has been smooth and quiet in our house. We argue, occasionally in decibels heard over the jetliners that fly out of MacArthur and over our house. Sometimes we didn't even like each other, at other times we feel we are not "in love," but we always love and respect each other. And that love, that foundation always won. Through good times and bad, sickness and health, we are together, a team.

This may all sound simplistic to some people. The simple part is getting married. The difficult part of marriage is understanding it is a job, something you need to work at every day. The effort you put into your marriage is reciprocated many times over (the familiar face smiling at you over your morning coffee, the phone call just to say "Hello, I love you," a hand to hold, no matter what the diagnosis).

I call my husband, my friend for over 45 years, my lover, my "Forever Love." I think the lyrics to the song sung by Pink, "Just Give Me a Reason," sum up what I am saying. "We're not broken, just bent and we can learn to love again."

--E.D. Travis, Holtsville