On Monday, my husband and I will celebrate our anniversary. The fact that we’ve been married for 13 years kind of blows me away.

In my mind, I’m still 28, so that would mean I got married when I was 15. Can you see how the math plays tricks on me?

When I married my husband, I adored him. I was in love with him, but there was also a part of me that was infatuated with him.

Thirteen years later, I am still him love with him, but now instead of infatuation, I feel gratitude. I am grateful for his loyalty, patience and laughter.

I think God knew he needed to pair me with someone who would see the humor in my many idiosyncrasies. As Saul (my husband) often says, “It’s just part of the glory and splendor that is the mystery of my wife.”

Thirteen years seem to have passed by in an instant, and yet we know they happened because we have three children who still wake us up every morning, reminding us that we are no longer in our 20s.

While 13 seems like a lot of years to us, today is the anniversary of a couple who is celebrating 50 years of marriage. That doesn’t happen very often anymore.

Dina and Bill Brady were married Aug. 17, 1963. They had three children and now get to spoil seven grandchildren. It’s my understanding they met in Ada, Minn., but have spent the majority of their lives in Fargo.

My friend Sarah (Dina and Bill’s daughter-in-law), asked if I would write a short congratulatory note to her in-laws. As I reflected on marriage and tried to find just the right words, I realized that the task of summing up 50 years is impossible.

No one except the couple involved knows how many trials were faced and how many obstacles were overcome.

I am certain that in 50 years of marriage, there have been disagreements over how money should be spent or how children should be raised. I am certain there were times when faithfulness, patience and self-control were tested.

To say, “Congratulations” to those of you who have made the decision to stay married through thick and thin, through good times and bad, through sickness and in health seems inadequate.

Taking a vow and then fulfilling it has allowed the Bradys’ children to see how two people work together to keep a family intact. That’s a big deal.

I wasn’t raised in a home where Mom and Dad shared the same address. I looked to the parents of my friends for examples of how a husband and wife are supposed to interact.

Now, being married myself, I can finally see how the bond between a husband and wife changes, some days cracking and weakening and other days growing stronger than ever.

Dina and Bill have given their children a great gift. They have taught their children that love is not a feeling; it’s an action. That is a lesson in kindness that takes a lifetime to teach.

Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at nphillips15@hotmail.com. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.

Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is an author, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Bison Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday.