My wife and I recently celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary, it’s not much, I know, but we’re happy and that’s that main thing. Four years might not sound impressive, but we were together for thirteen years before we tied the not, so we’re really seventeen.

According to the Office of National Statistics 273,068 other couples also married in 2004, the highest number for any year since 1996. Unfortunately there were also 153,399 divorces that year, at least the balance is positive.

Getting married is the best thing I have ever done. No question, no doubt, no qualification.

Through many early relationships, and the early part of this relationship, marriage couldn’t have been further from my mind. If the topic ever arose I’d make excuses and change the subject as fast as I could. Being the child of a divorced couple I could see no benefit in marriage, nothing lasts, everyone gets bored and moves on, so what’s the point?

There came a point however, somewhere around the nine or ten year mark, where we’d been together through some good times, some great time, but also a few very tough, make-or-break, experiences. I realised around that time that I couldn’t imagine life without Sarah, and should anything happen to her, that my world would fall apart. When you start feeling this way it doesn’t take long for those thoughts to produce the idea of marriage; if I couldn’t bear to part from her then why shouldn’t I marry her?

So we did marry, and since our marriage our relationship has just got stronger and stronger. I am amazed at how wonderful things are between us, if I’d known marriage would have this effect on our relationship I’d have done it years ago! I know it takes two, but Sarah had wanted to marry me for some time, I was the hand-brake delaying the inevitable. I’m grateful she waited for me to see the light, instead of looking for someone else who would be prepared to commit to her when I delayed.

I raise my glass, and drink a toast to the fine institution that is marriage and to the many happy couples around the world who are as happy as we. Cheers!

And, of course, I thank my wonderful wife, Sarah, for making me the happiest man alive.