Well. It Happened. We made it to ten years!
I can not believe how quickly a decade went. It feels almost like yesterday that I was a scrawny 23 year old wearing what some assumed was a prom dress with epic internal butterflies as I waited to walk down the aisle. Fanatically praying in my head that I wouldn’t trip and smash my face on the ministers deck like the spaz that I am.
I dug my nails into my father’s arm and made it to my spot under that gauzy decorated gazebo, spectacle free. The minister had not yet uttered his first ceremonial word when the first booze cruise ship teetered by. Eleven in the morning and the drunks began chanting a mixture of “don’t do it.” and “RUN.”
The entire gathering burst out laughing and a huge weight was noticeably lifted from our collective shoulders. There would be three ships in total that day. Two protested. One congratulated.
The ceremony was beautiful, humorous and significant. The minister, who sidelined as The Great Throwdini (you can’t make this shit up), kept up a continuous line of jokes under his breath for the benefit of my husband and myself while the audience got the serious man and wife till we’re dead stuff. It was perfect.
Now ten years later, I feel as if we’ve made it to junior love expert status. People married 50 plus years (and trolls), those are the experts. We’re kind of like experts in training. But having been through this decade of decadence, I do believe we have something of value to offer to those newlyweds out there.
Here are six things I’ve learned over the last ten years of marriage:
1. Babies complicate things. Exponentially.
I always joke that my husband and I had a shot gun wedding, minus the bun in the oven since our first came five years later. If you can wait. Do. If one is coming, then more power to you! Your relationship will be tested to the limits as you both try to stay civil under severe sleep deprivation. Luckily though, the baby will eventually let you sleep and if you can survive the addition, your marriage will be that much stronger. Once you get lulled into this false sense of security it will probably be time to create another child. You know, to keep things spicy.
2. It’s cliche but communication really is the key.
You know how they say never go to bed angry… y’okay, well we’ve done that. A lot. It’s almost impossible not to when you hate someone’s face that much in that moment, but what we figured out was that talking about the things that pissed us off really does help! Hooray. So ten years later we might still sometimes go to bed angry but we spend less time being pissed off at one another and move onto communicating much more quickly. Our last fight began and ended in the span of a mid afternoon which is definitely a step in the right direction.
3. To point #2. Be able to acknowledge when you’re being a dick.
There are times when I can be a complete and total douche nozzle. Being able to say, you know what, I’m being a gigantic dick right now, and I am sorry, does wonders for the maintaining of a relationship. You know what else, it allows the other party in the relationship to also declare when their own douchie behaviors arise. It’s a win, win.
Hugs, kisses, hand holding. The basic things that a physical relationship is founded on. Don’t forget or neglect them to the point where you can’t even make eye contact with the other person. I. Hate. Your. Face.
5. Shared experiences
Call it co-dependent, call it cheesy, call it whatever but my husband and I genuinely like being around each other and one major aspect of that it that we enjoy shared experiences. Sure it’s necessary to have some alone time, especially when you have kids and desperately need a break to recharge but if you are having all of your best experiences alone or with your bestie, then what are you sharing together? Our lives and our relationships are a collective of experiences, good and bad. And it’s how we react and deal with what’s happening to us at any given time that strengthens or weakens our connections to other individuals.
6. You have quirks. I have quirks. Accept them or this isn’t going to work!
If there’s something about myself I want to change. I will. But if you think there is something in me YOU would like me to change. Guess again. Don’t get into a relationship looking to turn the other person into the perfect mate for you. Relationships are about learning and growing together. Not about changing one another. I accept that babies, really aren’t my husbands forte. He’s more of a two years and up kind of guy. And he accepts that I drink and curse like a sailor. For fuck’s sake.
It is still entirely beyond me that ten years have passed since the day I said “I do.” But the gravity of that day and that ceremony have not been lost on me and over these passing years when we reached multiple breaking points it was these things which helped to not only save our marriage but to make it strong enough to get through the next hurdle life had to throw at us.
Today my husband asked me if I loved him now as much as I did then, which made me pause. My response was no. “I love you more now than I did than.” And that is the god’s honest truth.