Today is my 27th Wedding Anniversary! Yep – 27. No really…we were married 27 years ago…wait, is that right? June 12, 1988…subtract from 2015…yeah, that’s right – 27 years. Wow. I’m kinda impressed with us. Naturally, I have been thinking a great deal about that morning so verrrry long ago and why in this age of those who can/can’t/will/won’t/do/don’t get married are we still hanging around.
So let’s climb into the wayback machine and take a look at history: Come on, pack in tighter – there’s room for everyone.
I woke up the morning of my wedding day and had breakfast with my Dad. It was a beautiful Montana morning and my recollection was that I was perfectly calm – after all, I was marrying my best friend. Those around us, however, were less confident and certainly more vocal about it.
Apparently, we did it all wrong:
- I was 20 and he was 22. “You are way too young to know what you really want!” (You have to hear this in your head with a deep and condescending voice.)
- We were still in college. “Don’t you think you should wait until you graduate? After all, you might have a change of heart.” (I’m still not sure what that meant.)
- We were flat broke. “How are you going to live?” (You should put a New Jersey accent on this – just because it makes it sound funny.)
- My personal favorite. “Don’t you know that most marriages end in divorce?” (This tidbit of advice delivered while I was in my wedding gown – who invited her anyway?)
I will admit, there was some truth to what the naysayers had to say. Before I go any further, let me just state that I am-was-and always will be in love with my husband. Our ride together is-was-and will continue to be amazing. And even though it has had its share of up-down-and sideways slides, I do not regret one moment of it. I hold all our moments gently like delicate glass.
That being said, it has not always been easy: we were young, broke, in school, changing, and bucking an ever growing divorce rate. We also faced down much more. Movies, television, books, and other media set us up for unrealistic expectations. Think about a TV ad for tampons. Any ad- it doesn’t matter. They all make you think that using their product will transport you to some magical beach with a perfect body. Erectile dysfunction ads promise romantic sunsets in side by side old fashioned claw tubs. (I need someone to explain to me why there are 2 tubs outside on a hill? And how do they fill them with water?) Romance novels sport flowing hair, hard bodies, beds strewn with flower petals, and marathon sex.
Oh please, where is the reality of life? Marriage can be hard, grimey, and painful sometimes. It can also be like walking on hot coals or standing in freezing water. But at the same time it is wonderful, beautiful, fulfilling, funny, finger-paint-messy, and worth every minute.
I hate to give advice – oh, who am I kidding – I love to give advice. Many of our friends are younger than us and are thinking about marriage, just about to get married, or just tied the knot. To you I say, “Hold on. It’s going to be a wild ride.” You will learn how to grow apart and find the common ground that will bring you back together. You will discover there is a new you and will need to find how that new person fits with his new person. You are constantly making and breaking new connections with each other.
Eventually, you will learn that a strong marriage isn’t about needing that other person, or being unable to live without him, but about wanting to be in IT together. You want him to be there when you are at your absolute worst and know that he will love you anyway. Not because you are bound together with some piece of paper or government sanctioned approval – but because you want to help that other person when help is so desperately needed – because you would lay down your life to make his better – because at your core, you know you are a better person because of him and that he feels the same.
It’s about being with someone who gets that joke when all you said was “Are we awake?” When you ask if a red shirt might be a bad idea today? When getting lost in the alps is the best day ever. Someone who will never let you go out in public in “that outfit” and prefers long hair, but likes it short on you because that’s what you want. It’s about being willing to drop everything to take you to the emergency room for the cut on your hand and you telling him you can drive yourself.
It’s about choice. It’s about giving up some of who you are to become something better. You may have heard me joke that if you’re single you should go both ways and double your chances. The truth is that I believe you fall in love with a soul – a person – the very core of who they are. Your outer shell doesn’t define you – be it black or white, big or small, boy or girl, purple or green. In friendship, love, family, or tribe – the bond you have with that other person grows from the simple human connections between the essence of who we are.
27 years ago today, I married my best friend, Mike Nevin.
We have lived, loved, smiled, laughed, joked, goofed, and grown together. We have also fought, screamed, cursed, ranted, raved, and cried. There have been deep periods of agony and despair, and soaring times of beauty and light. We have hurt each other and healed each other’s souls. And so, to you that thought we were doing it all wrong – you were right. But you also missed the point. You were unwilling to risk it all to become something more – to open yourself to the possibility that together those “things” are unimportant – that human connection brings us to a better place.
Happy anniversary Mike. I love you. You’re stuck with me.