Monday, September 3, 2012

Seven Years

I post this same picture every year on our anniversary, but I don't think any other one captures the day quite so well. So young, so excited, SO damn happy. I wore brand new 4" heels for 10 hours to avoid the expense of having my dress hemmed and at the end of the night my cheeks still hurt more from the smiling than my feet hurt from the blisters.

I remember the newness of it. The first time I heard JP refer to me as "my wife" (shopping for his running shoes at the Sports Authority in downtown Chicago 4 days after we were married; randomly to the store clerk, "I think my wife prefers this pair") and the look and smile we both shared as we realized what he'd said. That whole first year in Chicago was one big honeymoon- a honeymoon filled with law school stress for us, a long commute for JP, and having absolutely no money, but we were 1,000 miles away from the friends and family we'd had our whole lives and living smack in the middle of a fabulous city where walking for hours at night in the city lights didn't cost a thing.

7 years. It's not very long in my family. My parents have been married for 32, my grandparents for 57 and 59. My aunts and uncles all somewhere between 20 and 30. But it sounds significant to me- weightier, I feel less of a need to add in the 4 years we dated to prove we're in this for the long haul.

Everyone always tells you that marriage is hard, but until recently my mental response was always that LIFE is what's hard. Marriage is what makes it- if not always easy, then certainly easier. The companionship, the partnership. The sharing of everything, from chores to money to nighttime feedings. The smiles across the dinner table when one of your kids is being particularly adorable (or particularly awful/two), the surreptitious locking of the bedroom door when the kids are busy playing two rooms away. It's having a shit day and coming home to strong shoulders and the best hug. Waking up and scooching over into the perfect spoon.  Being told you're beautiful, knowing you're not, but loving that the person saying it believes it to be true. Love, laughter, friendship, sex, and a lot of cuddling. Marriage is, was the easy.

But then this year- this past 6 months really, there have been moments of hard. Maybe it's because life itself got easier. Sure the move was a hassle, but no one is in grad school, there are no babies, no job searches, no unexplained illnesses- just life, two jobs, and two pretty great kids. So when I found myself so hurt and furious at something JP had done I actually cried, something he hadn't made me do since our dramatic break-up in college 9 years ago, I remember thinking, oh, this is the hard. Not that moment exactly, but getting over it. Not letting my righteous fury prevent me from listening to and ultimately accepting a genuine apology, not flinging his actions back at him weeks later when I was annoyed over something small, not answering the tentative "how was work?" a few days later with a curt "fine." It was taking a breath and relaying a story and laughing with him about it. And then choosing to do that again and again every day until the ease that was always there is back. This is the "work" I never understood people were talking about.

Last night we celebrated our 11-year first date-iversary with fancy wine, meats, and cheeses (and fruits and olives and chocolate; the checker at Trader Joe's was impressed with my spread, and even more impressed when she found out it was for 2) and the Breaking Bad mini-finale. And tonight we went out for a real date at a fancy restaurant. Seven years ago we exchanged vows and smiles and an un-rehearsed overly enthusiastic kiss in front of a church full of people.

Today we celebrate with fewer onlookers, but I'm sure there will still be a few kisses.

To many, many more.


  1. Congratulations and Happy Anniversary! I love being married. Getting over disagreements like a mature adult is the hardest part, but it is so worth it.

  2. Sweet post. You look beautiful (and very happy)!

  3. Well,,, Congratulations...And Happy Anniersary to you both. I loved this post.

  4. Happy Anniversary! I wish you many, many, more years of love, family, & laughter! You have both clearly found the perfect partner.

  5. Happy 7th anniversary and wishing you many more years of happiness! I didn't realize that Pastor Al married him! Now...get to work on that 3rd baby...;)...or at least have fun trying!

    Patty from TX

  6. This was beautiful! Happy anniversary!!

  7. I always love your wedding pictures (the one with your dad is a gem!) You two still look so much in love and it gives me faith in my own love story. Happy anniversary!

  8. Such a great post-- thanks for sharing, and for the grounded reminder about what the "work" part actually looks like. Thanks for that part, as the real-ness of your descriptions of your relationship is what really impresses and inspires me.

    To many more! Congrats!

  9. This is beautiful! Congratulations!