Last night my beloved father told me that after 35+ years of marriage to my spunky and delightful mother (and still being in love!) that rather than tout the wisdom of his choice of my mom as his bride, he has finally concluded that he was incredibly lucky. Married at age 22; he hardly knew what he was doing.
"I've never bought a lottery ticket in my entire life," he said. "But when I look at your mother, I realize I'm so lucky, I should have been a lottery-ticket-buying man. In fact, I'm so struck by how lucky I got, I just might go out and buy my first one tomorrow."
For those of us who don't feel quite so lucky, it's still a relief to hear that all the "rightness" of a match that works and all the "wrongness" of a match that fails might not have been completely within any one person's control, as much as we may be inclined to think. Don't get me wrong, we all make choices. Some of them are good, and some not so good. And we do reap what we sow. But there are factors we can't control, like whether the rain falls on the seeds that we've so carefully planted in the ground. It's easy to take too much credit sometimes; either for things that go incredibly well, or incredibly poorly.
This brings to mind the wisdom of Charlotte, from Pride and Prejudice
"I wish [her] success with all my heart; and if she were married to him to-morrow, I should think she had as good a chance of happiness as if she were to be studying his character for a twelvemonth. Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other, or ever so similar before-hand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always contrive to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation; and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.''
Call it luck. Call it chance. Call it God. Call it what you will. But I'm learning that there's more to success or failure than doing everything "right."