There is something to being in the club of “the marrieds.”
I fell into the trap. You know the one where society tells young women that they must find a husband and be married by the age of 30, or risk forever being branded an old maid. I mean, once you’re out of college and enter the workforce, if you don’t already have a significant other, it seemingly becomes harder and harder to naturally meet someone. For me, my partner would either come from the bars and clubs, coworkers or mutual friends. Internet dating had not yet hit its stride and was still somewhat of a novelty.
I remember being in such a hurry to get married. We had lived together for 2 years and I felt like, why am I still auditioning? I should already have the part! (Because subconsciously I knew the clock was ticking until my 30th birthday.) And J’s attitude was, what’s the rush? I’m not going anywhere. I’m all in. Why do we need the pomp and circumstance? (That is not the only time I wish I had listened to him.) And it’s not that I would’ve made a different decision about marrying him. But I would’ve taken some time to find out what it meant to me to be a wife and what being a wife meant to him. We had the boyfriend/girlfriend thing down. But being married was more of a challenge. Years 1 & 2 were us trying to navigate the transition from 2 individuals becoming a united entity, and neither of us knew how to do that. So we hit some bumps. Then when we thought we had it figured out (although we didn’t,) we decided to start a family. I was reluctant, despite wanting to be a mother my whole life, only because I took it so seriously. I didn’t give being married much thought because I assumed once you found the person you were supposed to be with, everything would magically fall into place. All you need is love! J convinced me to start our family by saying both of our parents were getting older and he really wanted them to see and know their grandchildren. I couldn’t argue with that. So I threw myself into an intensive 13-month parent training. By the time Xander was born, I felt pretty prepared to be his mother. And its safe to say that the next 9 years of marriage that includes 2 more kids, 2 deceased grandfathers and a dog have been a blur. J’s father passed away 2 weeks before our first son was born and my dad passed 1 week before our second son arrived.
There are so many articles and books about how women can have “it all.” (Ironically, none about how the family can have it all, so much responsibility put on the woman-or that we assume.) Of course I’ve been too busy to read them anyway. I realized I did all my preparation on how to be a parent and barely any training on how to be a wife, let alone a wife raising children. Hence the reason I started this blog. I am on a quest to discover how these roles can best work together: wife, mother, individual.
In this day and age of 72-day marriages, 12 years is a long time. But its really all about perspective. If you’re miserable, then 12 years is forever. If you’re happy, 12 years is but a day. My parents were married 41 years, my husband’s parents 28. You don’t get to 20, 30, 40 years of marriage without some ups & downs. Some marriages are better than others, just as some kids are better behaved than others, some houses are nicer than others or some jobs pay more than others. And no one ever really knows what goes on in a marriage except the 2 people in it. The one thing I know about myself is I’m a long haul type of person. I want to be that couple holding hands and comparing memories of our 40 years together.
Traditional 12th anniversary materials are silk and linen, representing luxury and comfort. While we definitely are not living in the lap of luxury, there is comfort in knowing someone else is in this life with me. Someone else has chosen me. It is a luxury to share responsibility of parenting. There is comfort in knowing someone has my back. It is a luxury now to be able to say to him “remember how we felt when so and so was born, or when we decided to…” Those shared memories and experiences, that commitment to be here day in, day out, this love that is real and complicated and fun and hard and luxurious and comfortable, this is what marriage means to me.
So, on this day, through:
12 years of Marriage
9 years of parenting
8 weddings attended
7 funerals of family members
6 job transitions
5 family vacations
3 amazing kids
2 places called Home
1 new dog
and countless “I’m sorrys” and “I love you’s,” I say thank you for asking me to be your wife 12 years ago, for giving me the best 3 gifts of my life, and being my partner in crime. Happy Anniversary Honey!