My husband and I recently celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary.
The story of our relationship is as remarkable and amazing as anyone’s story. In other words, it is totally unremarkable and not at all amazing to anyone except us. The short version of the story: We met more than 16 years ago on a hot and muggy August afternoon during law school orientation. The longer version is only slightly more interesting in that it involves lots of awkward phone calls, some burritos, way too many cosmos, a late-night drive in a hatchback, and plenty of debate over what actually constitutes our first date.
I could tell you that it was love at first sight. I could speak in glowing words about the world shifting, calling him my “soul mate,” and posting photos accompanied #soblessed. Except that isn’t really love at first sight (at least not in the traditional sense), and every time I see #soblessed used to describe people’s relationships, I throw up in my mouth a little bit. So no, I won’t say all of that.
Like I said, our love story is, in many ways, ordinary and maybe even a little boring. We are like every other couple who has met, dated, fallen in love, and eventually decided that—yes!—this is The One. This is the person I want to fight for the remote control with. This is the person I want to argue with about 529 Plans and credit card bills and whether or not to get a new couch. This is the person whose snoring I am willing to put up with. This is the person who I want to share a life with.
Like many couples I know, my husband and I met in our early 20s, and though we felt so very grown up and worldly, we were so young and naive that I almost blush at our innocence and simplistic optimism. We were foolish and impulsive. And, frankly, we were a whole lot of fun. As Paul Valery wrote, “Love is being stupid together.” We were stupid and crazy about each other, though sometimes we were just crazy. As time went on, things changed. We changed. We still are crazy about each other, no doubt, but in a less foolish, calmer kind of way. And honestly, we’re too damn tired to be impulsive.
There comes a point in most long-term relationships when you have been together more years than not. We are inching ever closer to that magical number. There are a lot of really great things about marriage or any long-term relationship, not the least of which is friendship, companionship, and a connection that develops over time as a result of all the shit that life throws at you. It is a partnership built not just on love and passion, but on teamwork, respect, and mutual appreciation. It is knowing that you’ve got each other’s back—even when you’re flipping each other off behind their back.
One of the really beautiful things about pairing off at a relatively young age is that you don’t just get to grow old together, you get to grow up together too. My husband and I were together for our wild and impetuous 20s—the decade of indulgence, passion, and plenty of bad decisions. We were together for our building-up and settling-down 30s—the decade of exhaustion, appreciation, and fewer bad decisions.
And as I stand on the precipice of the next decade, I have no idea what life will throw at us. I don’t know how we will change and grow, both individually and together. But what I do know—what I knew back then and still know now—is that there is no one else I would rather face this uncertain future with than him. And isn’t that what marriage is all about? Growing up, growing old, and sometimes being stupid together.
Marriage is knowing that there is no one else I’d rather be stupid with than him. There is no one else I would rather grow up with, and no one I would rather grow old with than him. Eventually.
Because we’re not old yet, dammit.
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