…is a colloquial American English phrase meaning “everything, the whole lot” or, when used as an adjective, “all the way.” Though the origin of this phrase is unknown, it is obviously a variation on ‘the whole ball of wax,’ a phrase first recorded in the 1880s. As well as part of a family of expressions in which an odd-sounding item, such as enchilada, shooting match or shebang is substituted for a ball of wax. The choice of the number nine may be related to the expression “To the nines” which means to perfection (keep that in mind).

One suggested origin; (albeit incorrect due to the phrase’s existence predating the referenced event) will serve our purposes. The machine gun bullet chains used in WW2 American combat planes were in 27ft lengths. Thus if a pilot was able to fire all his bullets off at one target he was said to have given his adversary ‘the whole nine yards.’ Math: 3ft equals 1yd, 27 divided by 3 is 9 and thus 27ft equates 9yds. Yes, we are referencing aerial combat, and less specifically, war in general. Simply because this writer has always related matrimony to just that. So here we are on the anniversary of my 9th year of my 3rd (and final) tour of duty.

Oh that’s terrible! What an awful way to look at something so beautiful as two… blah… blah… blah. Go through two horrific divorces and get back to me on that.

Marriage, much like war, can be hell. The main difference being that for a war to continue the battles must go on. For a marriage to continue you must choose your battles and hope that peace-time overrides them.

However unlike war, even and especially during times of peace, the battle must constantly wage on. Hmmm… that seems like a very critically confusing and catastrophically contradicting comment. Allow me to reiterate and elaborate.

In any marital union you will have disagreements, arguments and fights (hopefully not physical). But despite being bound as one, you are still two individuals with your own points of view. Sometimes you view the same point or point at the same view… (oh a speckled pony) but oft you will not. It is these battles which you must choose to fight. But it’s the battles in between, which you will fight on the day to day, that are the most important. And as long as you find them worth fighting and never give up you will find the victory that you can never see.

Make no mistake, marriage is hard and constant work and those in-betweens are the constant fight to keep the love alive. It’s not grand gestures (though an occasional one here and there won’t hurt) rather it’s the little things that act as constant unspoken reminders that you still care.

It’s the random acts of kindness, a shoulder to lean and cry on, a shared smile or positive affirmation that they’re still the one.

The one you love? Yes, unconditional love is a necessity for a successful marriage, but surprisingly it’s not the most important thing. It begins with a physical attraction, because nobody crosses a room to check out your personality. If that’s as far as it goes, then that’s as far as it will get. Getting to know a person and falling in love with them is wonderful, but finding out you actually LIKE them is far more beneficial. To ensure a real long term commitment you need to find someone you can stand to constantly be around. Someone who beyond their flaws is someone you’ll want to be with.

Having fought and lost many battles over the years has left me weary and wary. But the last nine have found me in the company of someone worth going the whole, playing to it and looking towards reloading my machine gun for another pass.

Happy 9th Anniversary to my beautiful best friend, the love (and like) of my life, Lil’Red.

I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or E-mail me at [email protected]. Hope to hear from ya until then try and stay focused. See ya.