I was working on a blog for this week–which was originally on curiosity–while simultaneously writing an anniversary card to my spouse. (Yes I have ADD so I usually do a minimum of two things at one time!!!) We are celebrating 20 years of marriage. Twenty years is a long time and if I would have placed bets on myself being married this long I would have taken the under. I am a child of divorce, surviving my parents’ marriage by a great number of years. Wow. High five to myself and my husband.
In full disclosure, my marriage has NOT been that instant soulmate, deep connection, see each other across the room and know that that’s the person that you’re going to spend the rest of your life with, wonderful story book romance. Our relationship started in college. We met through mutual friends. This guy had a Jeep which was very cool in my book, and I, as a freshman, was vehicle-less. We met at a party as is the college way. We connected in making fun of someone with a saying on the back of his shirt that read “I am a loser.” We didn’t even know the premise of the shirt’s message but it was enough to start us talking and connecting. Soon after that we decided we wanted to hang out again, which led to us talking all night from 10pm through 7am in the common room next to my dorm room. We shared things I would not typically tell someone I had just recently met. He did the same. Things about our family of origin, hurts from past relationships, things we never want to happen in our future, etc. In hindsight, we shared in such a vulnerable way, virtually strangers but feeling safe. Neither of us tried anything physical or sexual, just got to know each other. Wow. That doesn’t happen everyday. And that vulnerability doesn’t happen every day now.
The foundation of a relationship is key in so many ways. The way my husband and I started out has been such a grounding aspect for me. We were friends before we were anything else. Because our friendship developed first, we met each other’s parents before we were officially a couple. Which is not imperative for couples, it’s just our story. Although, I have to say it was a nice ice breaker without all the pressure.
When I visited his parents’ house for the first time, we pulled into their long driveway, and at the end of the driveway was a gazebo. At first glance, I blurted out “that is where I want to get married, not necessarily to you, but I have always wanted to get married in a gazebo!” Fast forward 8 years later, that same backyard was where we hosted 310 (his family is part Italian and the rest Catholics!) of our closest friends and family in our wedding reception.
Throughout my life, as I have learned about how to be an adult, then a wife, then a mother, it has NOT been an easy journey. “Relationships are hard” is one of my most steadfast mottos. One I have stuck to for over 28 years and one I will stick to for years to come.
For my husband and me, I think so many of the bumps in the road have helped us become stronger people, partners and parents. I did not admit this in the moment, nor soon after the bumps happened, but now I can objectively look back and think “Wow, we are better off because of those tragedies, trials and tribulations.” If you are a couple smack dab in the middle of a bump don’t expect yourself to get over it that fast. I know that I didn’t and I needed to give myself and my partner grace during this time. This is of utmost importance.
As I stated before, relationships are hard, but very worth it. To those couples who have stuck through all the trials and tribulations, I commend you. Sometimes it is soooooo much easier to walk away in the midst of it all and look to the greener grass on the other side. Throughout my career I have learned sometimes the grass is truly greener, but sometimes it is just a bunch of weeds. I am glad I have stayed to figure out our bumps have been life lessons rather than thrown in the towel and not known.
This blog entry is dedicated to my husband Gabe, Happy Anniversary, my love. Here’s to one day at a time until we make it to another year and then until we make it to another 20.