Dana Perino: What does it feel like to be married for 20 years? I'll tell you...

Dana Perino op-ed

 (Courtesy of the author)

20 years of marriage feels like...

20. Forever.

19. And no time at all.

18. The best decision I ever made.

17. And sometimes the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Dana Perino op-ed

Peter and Dana on his 60th birthday  (Courtesy of the author)

16. But also the most rewarding.

15. Still feels improbable. What if I’d missed the plane or was assigned to a different seat? Steady myself after those thoughts – because I was the second to last person to board. He was the last. He saw my ticket “Oh. I’m sitting beside HER.” Seats 13A and 13C. And that was it. Love at first flight.

14. Life gets comfortable, almost routine.

13. Yet, I still get excited if I know he’s coming to meet me after work – little stomach flips every time.

Dana Perino

 (Courtesy of the author)

12. Familial connection -- I felt it the moment we got married. It WAS different than dating to living together... “now we are family.” That’s important.

11. Dogs – Henry and now Jasper. They’re family, too.

10. Mother-in-law jokes that my mom takes in stride. My sister and niece who can tell Peter everything, and my dad who fully supported us from the beginning – even with the 18 year age difference (Peter says I look good for my age – ha). His two kids, his daughter’s twins. They call me Grandma America. I like the sound of it.

9. Friends – the ones we had as singles are now our together friends. Blessed with friends that have become family – too many to count, but count on them we do. And we make new friends all the time. That’s important, too.

Dana Perino op-ed

 (Courtesy of the author)

8. Sept 11, 2001 – the day America was attacked. We lived in San Diego. So beautiful. Settling into our tiny new home. But... “We need to go back to Washington.” We did.

7. Career changes – without him I couldn’t have done all of this. When we married, I’d never even met George W. Bush, and then his administration gave me the job of a lifetime. When Fox News said come on up for this temporary show (7 years go), “The Five,” he said, “I’ll handle everything here – you go.” And so I didn’t have to worry. He let me rise and shine.

6. Speaking of that – every single morning English Breakfast tea with honey. No one makes it better.

5. Being able to order for each other at a restaurant. That’s trust!

4. Overcoming anxieties – mine, financial; his, that maybe I wasn’t real. But I am. Pinch me.

3. Patriotism – mine, ingrained; his, by choice. Citizenship ceremony in 2006 – pride and joy.

2. Time is going too fast, but we have lots of it still. Mantra: live for moment, don’t plan so far ahead. But years feel like months...tap the brakes, slow it down.

1. The key to all this? Faith. Gratitude. Grace. Commitment. Love. Surrender.

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