Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It Just Looks Easy

Yesterday, Mr. Awesome and I celebrated 14 years of wedded bliss, well probably more like 13 years and seven months of wedded bliss and five months of wedded tolerance. If I were to add up all the days he has annoyed me, mocked me and otherwise irritated me into a ranting frenzy, that's how the numbers would play, 13y 7m vs. 5m. I'd wager if he would add up his numbers using similar criteria they would be roughly the same. Not bad.

We spent our anniversary hanging out, volunteering at Dude's school and then hanging out some more. It was really low key and mellow but it was wonderful. We talked a little about our 14 years together but we spent much more time talking about our future, planning for what comes next. We talked about the dreams we have for ourselves, for our marriage and for our future. We talked about our kids and their futures and then we just talked. We talked for hours about everything and anything. We laughed, teased and debated. We shared opinions, insights and perspectives. We were silly, serious and completely engaged with each other. It was amazing!

I love that after 14 years of marriage and 16 years of friendship, we are never bored together. We never run out of things to say. We don't know everything about each other, we don't have it all figured out. Every time we talk I learn something new about how he thinks, what's important to him or his dreams for our family. I love that we talk about things, consult each other, pick each other's brains. We're a team.

Every once in a while people will comment on our relationship. They see us holding hands, chatting together or just hanging out and say how nice it must be to have such an easy relationship. We thank them for their kind words and then laugh. If our relationship is easy its only because we work at it. We make each other a priority and when we needed it, we got professional help.

Shortly after we got married we realised we were in big trouble. Although we didn't want to live without each other, we weren't sure that we could live with each other. Family pressures, immaturity and unrealistic expectations of marriage set us up for disappointment and lots of stress in the early months of our marriage. People who knew and loved us kept telling us how great marriage was and how this was the best time of our lives, all the while we were seriously thinking we had made the biggest mistake ever. We felt very alone and overwhelmed by the mess we were in.

One day, while at work, I broke down and told one of my colleagues that I was pretty sure Mr. Awesome and I weren't going to make it to our first anniversary. Two nights later she had us sitting down with her husband and working on our communication. Her husband was a pastor but not at our home church. In fact, we had never been to a service at his church or even met him before yet he spent one evening each week over the next four months meeting with us, talking with us, helping us.

He talked to us about realistic expectations, communication and problem solving. We discussed the importance of having a plan for our marriage, setting standards in our relationship and putting boundaries in place to protect our marriage. He invested a lot of time, energy and wisdom in us and I think it paid off.

Now 14 years later, we are still married, more in love and have more respect for each other than we ever thought possible. We are friends, lovers, partners and life mates. He is my lobster and I am his. We have three strange and wonderful children, a love and a life we are proud of and we know that this is only the beginning.

Every year, as we drink our anniversary slurpees, I give a toast and say a prayer of thanksgiving for Gerry and Sharon and for the time they took teaching us how to be married. We couldn't have done it without you, thank you!

Don't marry the person you think you can live with; marry only the individual you think you can't live without. ~James C. Dobson

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