ADVICE: Life is filled with surprises

BY MARIA LUISA SALCINES

My husband and I enjoy taking cruises and have traveled all over the world on these amazing floating hotels.

There is nothing like watching the sunsets from a cruise ship, and walking the deck at night with the spectacular brilliance of nature’s starlight.

During our recent trip we visited islands in the southern Caribbean that we had never been to. We weren’t able to visit Turks & Caicos because it was devastated by Hurricane Harvey, but La Romana in the Dominican Republic, Aruba, and Curacao were beautiful.

Cruises give you the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. You start your voyage as strangers to other guests and by the end of the cruise you are on first name bases.

The night of our 40th anniversary we sat next to Andrea and Tanner, a young couple from Florida. We had ordered a bottle of champagne, and asked the waiter for two more glasses so we could share it with them.

During dinner the conversation led to how my husband and I met, and they wanted to know the secret to staying happily married.

When you’re young it’s difficult to picture your life 40 years later. In your thirties, you don’t think farther ahead than what you will be doing in the next few months.

After a delicious dinner and great conversation, Tanner asked us if we would like to join them for a drink.

We walked to an outside bar in the back of the ship with a spectacular view of the ocean.

We had just gotten our drinks when Tanner turned to Andrea, took a ring box out of his pocket and kneeled in front of her. He told her he had planned to ask her to marry him sometime during the cruise, but thought it was most appropriate tonight after having shared in our celebration, and hearing about our marriage and love for each other.

To have witnessed this moment was such a gift and one that we will never forget. Tears of joy were shed by Andrea. I got teary-eyed, and it was an emotional moment for all of us.

Marriage is like being on a ship in the middle of the ocean. Most of the time you are navigating through peaceful waters, but there are hidden currents and unpredictable storms with waves that envelop you.

But, when you are navigating through life with a partner, who is as willing to make it through as you are, once the storm subsides, you will always have someone to watch the sunrise with.

We wish Andrea and Tanner a long and happy marriage filled with love, laughter and friendship. May the love we saw you have for each other that magical night last a lifetime.

Maria Luisa Salcines is a freelance writer, and certified parent educator with The International Network for Children and Families in Redirecting Children’s Behavior and Redirecting for a Cooperative Classroom. Follow her on Twitter @PowerOfFamily or on Instagram at mlsalcines. You can also contact her on her blog FamilyLifeandFindingHappy.com.