What Brings Us Together
My parents and I are anniversary twins.
Today is my parents’ 33 anniversary. It is also my first anniversary. I guess I have some catching up to do.
I considered making this some sentimental post about how much I love my husband, and that this has been the greatest year of my life, blah, blah, blah, but it made my mouth taste weird. I’m not one to over-romanticize things (my husband will agree with me on that). Calling things how they are is much more my style.
Here is what’s up: marriage has treated me pretty well.
I love my husband. Duh. I think he is great. Duh. The year itself has been tough (moving across the country away from everything you know for one person tests commitment, folks) but worth it. Duh.
It isn’t thanks to dumb luck, either. Five years of dating + reading every relationship book under the sun together = not always fun. We did the leg-work, and I would do it again because those conversations were invaluable. If I could give one piece of advice to anyone in any kind of long term relationship it would be learn how to fight productively. A lot is solved from that one skill.
In reflection I think the question that most often is posited to me is “How is being married different than not being married?” This is oft from friends who have not crossed yet crossed the threshold of eternal commitment. Honestly, for me, it is not that different. As previously stated, we basically e-harmony‘d ourselves while dating. We knew what we were getting. There have been adjustments, but the most extreme was our California address. I have yet to be horribly surprised by anything.
Living separately before marriage helped, too. He knew I was a slob (I don’t WANNA clean my room!). I knew he was an OCD neat freak (he folds fitted sheets. Who does that?). We both can do laundry, balance a budget, and make a grocery list. Coming into the marriage as capable adults while knowing each other’s short comings and living habits was invaluable. Not having to deal with the pressure of cohabitation during the formative stages of our relationship also freed up the ability to have more difficult conversations and be more honest in our own skin. When you don’t have to worry about finding a new place to live on top of breaking up with your boyfriend – it is easier to say “Hey – this could be a deal breaker”.
Marriage is not for the faint of heart.
It is not for the humorless either.
Basically I’m not sure how anyone British ever gets or stays married (I kid, mostly).
The long and the short of it is I don’t know how to sum up this post. Probably because I don’t know how to sum up a marriage. Probably because a marriage is something that is not supposed to be able to be summed up. It is too deeply rooted into too many lives to be packaged nicely in 10 words or less.
I will, however, leave you with something my sainted mother said when I asked about her thoughts on the longevity of her marriage compared to so many that end prematurely.
“The second that you start saying ‘I’ instead of ‘us’ or ‘me’ instead of ‘we’ – that is when you know there is trouble.”
So here is to many more years of all of ‘us’. God bless us all.
I said that? Gee, I’m smarter than I thought.
Stubborn tenacity is what I’d say today for a tip on marriage.
Happy Anniversary to my adorable wedding twins. You are both loved dearly.
Reminds me of something my mom (also married 30+ years) said:
“Your spouse comes first. They’re ahead of your families, ahead of your friends, ahead of your career, even ahead of your kids (if you have them). They are priority #1, and if either of you ever stops making the marriage priority #1, that’s when things go south.”
I’m proud of you, Leah and Matt, for doing it right. Congratulations on your first year together.