April 11, 2013

on seven years...

Jay and I have been married for seven years. We celebrated our anniversary this past February, and I couldn't help but feel like it was a big deal. Seven years feels like some sort of milestone, somehow. Like we've officially passed some sort of marker. It's another one of those moments when I feel like I should be older than I actually am. But then, I did get married when I was pretty much a child, which I tend to forget about from time to time.

Looking back, I had no idea how young I was. Twenty-one. No wonder complete strangers would try to lend me advice about how I was entirely too young to settle down with someone, to really know what it was that I wanted. I'd just smile at their patronizing tone, feeling like I must be the only one in on the secret. I knew how I felt, I knew what I was getting into, I knew I was in love, I knew it would last. Young or not, marrying Jay was something I had absolutely no second thoughts about.

I recently spent some time talking with someone who is in a new relationship. It was so refreshing, watching his face light up when talking about the girl he is with. I like seeing someone smile in a way I've never seen before. I remember how Jay had a smile like that for me. And maybe he still does—but as the years go by, perhaps I just don't know how to see it the same way. That's kind of the way it works as the years pass and your love changes and you're no longer acting like giddy teenagers, back when simply holding hands gave you the biggest rush you could ever imagine.

Jay and I fell in love quickly, within a handful of weeks, but sometimes I wonder if I loved him even before I knew I did.

I remember the first time I saw him, standing there with a bunch of coworkers, telling a story and making everyone laugh. His face was rosy, like he'd spent a day at the beach. His hair was very short, and he had this smile that made all his features so friendly and welcoming and kind of like home. As I passed by the doorway, I remember specifically telling myself, I need to meet him.

I've always secretly wanted to believe in love at first sight, in one way or another, so perhaps I experienced it in some way that day. Who really knows?

Our relationship has changed in a hundred tiny ways over the past seven years. He and I have both changed so much, too. It's kind of amazing to think of all the things you experience together in the span of almost-a-decade. New homes, new jobs, heartaches, vacations, birthdays, pregnancy, sleepless nights (both the good kind and the bad kind)…dealing with friendships, family, finances, insecurities and frustrations…navigating through the highs and lows of marriage…learning so much about a person, even when you feel like there couldn't possibly be anything else to learn.

The one thing I've come to realize in the past year is that there is always an after. An inevitable upswing to look forward to, especially on those days when I look at the person I married and think, "Why does my husband not know anything about me at all? Check, please." There was a time when I'd be frustrated with Jay and not be willing to look past my anger and through to what was sure to follow. Which is, of course, the resolution. It's not always going to be what I want, and it's not always going to make sense, and sometimes he and I will end up deadlocked, staring at each other and saying, "FINE. Let's just move on." But I've been through enough bad days to have also experienced so many of the after-the-bad-day days.

And, oh, those are the best.

That's not to say that we get along all the time, or that I don't get to the point of seeing red and wanting to slam doors. (Speaking of which, none of our doors are slammable. I'm pretty sure I've tried. A blessing in disguise, or cruel twist of fate? You decide.) We have definitely been that couple whisper-screaming at each other outside of a restaurant over something that shouldn't have even become an argument at all, and in hindsight is pretty ridiculous. But at this point, we've been through enough of those sorts of disagreements that we know we'll get through them.

Also, sometimes it's okay to go to bed angry. Two days in a row, even. I know; the lies people tell you before you get married, right?

I'm grateful to have chosen to marry someone who is able to grow with me as the years go by. The older I get, the more I realize that is hardly a guarantee. You never really know how someone will change after seven years. You never know how you'll change. You never know, when you make those vows, what it is you will actually have to face as a couple. And in so many ways, I know Jay and I have really lucked out. We've had a charmed life, by all accounts. But sometimes it's the small things that challenge you the most, and I'm glad that I still fit together so well with the man I fell in love with all those years ago.

As with everything, there is no perfect. There is no perfect marriage, no perfect plan, no perfect life. But I've come to learn that my husband is the one person who can offer me exactly what I need at my very core. I think that somehow I knew that when I first fell in love with him, and, all things considered, it's something he shows me more now than ever. Good days, bad days, days that are the best, days that are pretty much just putting one foot in front of the other. Every day.

We're making it work, seven years later. Which is a good feeling.

17 comments :

  1. This post really touched me! I am in a long term relationship and I feel like all the advice I was ever given or all the relationships I have seen in movies is that it should be generally sunshine and bunnies all the time. But it is not.

    I think I have matured to the point where I can love the man in my life but know we will irritate and be angry with each other and we will get through it. The biggest thing I have learned is to stop asking for relationship advice from friends because they really get into your head way too much. Only the two people in the relationship know what to do. Relationships are not perfect and there is no reason to pretend they have to be. Thanks for writing this post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, congratulations to both of you! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. You did such a good job summing up how I feel, almost 12 years into a marriage that I entered into at age 22. Yeah, I was young - SO YOUNG - back then, but we're going to change no matter what, so I'm glad I jumped in the boat with the guy I did, even though I want to strangle him sometimes. Congrats on your anniversary!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you so much for saying that it's okay to go to bed angry. I feel like women spend so much time thinking something is wrong because other people tell you it is, that we don't live honestly. I've always been told 'never go to bed angry', but it happens. And I always feel so inadequate when it does. But it's so refreshing to hear that I'm not alone. Great post, and happy belated anniversary!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I loved this post. I actually skyped with my best friend earlier today about this exact same topic. We've been married for 4 years now, but we dated 5 years prior to getting married. I was having such a hard time defining the stage we're at in our relationship, and it really bothered me. But I always go back to the fact that I love my husband and he's the perfect man for me. No matter what.

    This song has resonated with me all day. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2kXN6Us5JU

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a touching story, you just have an amazing way with words and how to express your feelings the best way possible.

    Can't wait to find my own "prince charming," for lack of better term :P, and grow with him as the years go on!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Beautiful, beautiful. Happy anniversary you guys! I love your relationship and you're - indeed - very lucky!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Those are such sweet words! I loved this post :)
    Congratulations on your seven years together!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sometimes you put into words so perfectly the things that jumble around in my head.
    Almost three years with my hubs and nobody can make me more crazy or more grounded all at the same time. aaaah marriage :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Awesome story. When I married my Husband almost nine years ago-- he was 21 and I just turned 24. We were young, but it works so well. There are good times and bad times, but I couldn't imagine anyone else I would rather share this crazy life with. Congratulations on 7 years, its quite an accomplishment.

    ReplyDelete
  11. You put this so perfectly. I relate on all accounts (pregnancy and sleepless nights due to having a baby aside...for now anyway), so I couldn't even pick a favorite line. They were all so fitting and beautifully written. Congratulations on seven years and the many more to come!

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is so incredible sweet! I hope to one day have this in my marriage when the day comes.

    I'm not married but I am in a long relationship and you couldn't have said it more perfectly about the days after the bad days. Those days are the best.

    Happy Anniversary!

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is beautiful. Happy (belated) anniversary. I hope you have many, many more!

    ReplyDelete
  14. "...sometimes I wonder if I loved him even before I knew I did." Beautiful! Perhaps that is the definition of true love.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I was on a date with my boyfriend today and it would have been the perfect first date. Except that it's actually more around our 300th. And I was totally thinking about how there are things about him that I'm so used to now that used to give me such butterflies, like little smiles or looks, and now I'm just so used to them that sometimes I forget to notice them. He still smiles at me like he did on our first date, but you're right. Sometimes I don't even notice how absolutely butterfly-inducing it is.

    ReplyDelete
  16. love this! happy anniversary to a real marriage.

    and yes - it happens...going to bed angry even two days in a row. what do you know, it doesn't actually mean the world will end. sometimes... you're just too crazy to work anything out before bed.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Congrats! I know the feeling, everyone tells me the same thing. I'm pretty far from getting married, but I've been with my man for almost 3 years and I'm 19!

    ReplyDelete

Thoughts? Questions? General musings? Do share!

If you are asking a question, I will respond here within the comments—so, be sure to click that handy little "notify me" box below to know when I've replied!