I gotta say, I don’t often talk about my hubby. You won’t see pictures of him here or me ever mention him by name. I actually am not a fan of the word “hubby” but I’m just too lazy to write “other half” and “husband” seems so formal and if you know me, I’m anything but. He prefers not to be mentioned and I fully respect that. He didn’t ask for this blog and I know there’s a part of him that doesn’t like it but he also respects my desire to write and how much I enjoy it.
Today marks our 8th anniversary, which means I’m guaranteed a dinner out. Score. I’m actually a bit amazed that it’s been 8 years. Not that it’s gone by quickly but it just seems so surreal that I’ve lived with this man for that long and that our lives have intertwined for nearly 10 years. It’s really crazy. I never thought I’d get married, let alone have kids. I just didn’t think that was in the cards for me. I felt wholly unworthy and extremely ill-equipped to take on such a task. And yet, here I am. Here we are. 8 years, 3 kids, 3 moves, and one minivan (boo!) later. Still standing, still growing and still kicking. Sometimes kicking each other.
Marriage is not easy. In fact, it’s harder than raising kids. A lot harder. I don’t think there is a premarital course, book or seminar that can fully prepare you for the struggle that comes with building a strong marriage. You have to fight for your marriage each and every day. Some days, the fight is easy. Other days, you’ll find yourself beaten down and wondering if you will ever navigate out of the rough places you’ve fallen into. No one told me that I would grow the most as an individual after I got married. No one told me that my husband and I would grow at different rates, in different ways and at different times. No one told me that God might use us differently and outside of the traditional box of marriage that we both grew up with. Sure, all of that can be very exciting but don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s an easy path. Because it’s not. There are days, have been days and will be more days ahead where I will be on my knees, crying out through my tears for my marriage, my family. That’s reality. There will be disappointments, anger, intentional words of hurt spoken, maybe yelled, doors slammed and apologies that are needed but refused to be uttered. That’s marriage. That’s what happens when you choose to co-exist with another human being who is just as flawed and broken as you.
But don’t let that overshadow the beauty that comes from it all. The peace that comes from waking up knowing that you were chosen by this other person to do life with. The knowledge that you’re both imperfect but working hard to be a better person for your spouse. The laughter that may not happen as often as it used to but when it does, it never fails to remind you of those care-free moments when your love for one another was fresh, new and untainted. Those are the moments that stay fresh in my mind. When I don’t think I can take another step forward or when the urge to break free and run away on my own feels like the only answer, I remember those days, those promises and my vows to fight for my husband, to fight for our marriage and to keep our union strong and sacred and protected.
Our marriage has seen many battles: depression, distance, financial stresses and the disconnect that happens when two people are growing at different rates. We have also had amazing triumphs that we’ve celebrated, moments of deep connection and memories that I would trade for anything in the world. It’s a journey and as with any journey, it’s never a clearly marked path and trouble will come. The beauty of marriage is that it’s something you can fight for, something you will have to fight for at some point and that fight is worth every tear shed, every mountain climbed and every sleepless night.
So hubby, thank you for 8 years of fighting along side me (and sometimes, ok, maybe more than sometimes, fighting against me). Thank you for allowing me to dream my big dreams and dream my little dreams. Thank you for being my voice of reason when my brain gets ahead of itself and for reigning me in when I try to run faster than my legs can carry me. I know I’m not always easy to be with and that there are times you probably wish you could tame my spirit but you still choose me. You still choose to wake up next to me and love me just the way I am. Thank you for eating 8 years worth of mediocre cooking. Thank you for letting me be my own unique and off-center self.
Here’s to the next 8 years of dreaming together.