As of April 24, 2012, I’ve been married eight years.
I’ve been trying to write a post about marriage for two weeks, and not taking into consideration all the other stuff I’ve been doing, I keep getting stuck on how to begin. I’ve come back to:
(1) Shouting MAW-WAGE a la The Princess Bride and then making an analogy about building an immunity to iocane powder to being married (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, shame on you), or…
(2) Getting stuck on how many posts about anniversaries start with “Eight years ago I married my best friend.” Because, well, I didn’t.
Don’t get me wrong; I married someone with whom I was very much in love and wanted to spend the rest of my life, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say he was my one-and-only bestie. My fiancée came in a close third or fourth after my sister and my mom and maybe one of my girlfriends from kindergarten and a college roommate. We’d never shared a bathroom stall, for example. Spent an eighteen-hour period drinking Red Dog and watching Friends reruns. Walked an hour across Vegas at 3 a.m. because we couldn’t get a cab after a Dave Matthews concert. Had a nuclear blowout over a leopard print outfit from The Limited and a coordinating Units belt. We didn’t go to middle school, high school or college together. In fact, we never lived in the same town before we were married, and only lived in the same state for nine months of our three-year courtship. So, well: no. Not exactly.
Marriage is hard (yes, I know: DUH.). It deserves honesty, and loyalty, and the ability to look at the worst in yourself and your partner and not flinch. My husband and I have very different temperaments, but we’re both (1) stubborn as mules and (2) fighters, each in our own way. We’ve fought over everything from where to live to how to spend money to how to fight. We moved across the country together, and then across an ocean. We had a baby. When things were hard, and there were times when they were, we fought for each other. We’ve learned that happiness is a choice and not a right, and that very few things worth doing are easy. That the things that matter most are worth not just fighting for, but forgiving.
So, no, I’m not going to blow smoke up your ass and say I married my best friend. Unequivocally, however, I’m married to my best friend today. He’s solid and loving and a great father and sometimes a know-it-all i(nsert insulting word for the male species here). Some days I can’t wait for him to get home and occasionally I can’t stand to be in the same room with him, but there are rarely ever days where I don’t feel deeply, deeply satisfied with my choices in life.
That’s the trick about marriage, too. It sneaks up on you. When I look back at the last eight years, it seems like before is just this surreal place I once lived. The memories of before are great; they made me who I am. But the now is so much richer. So it sort of bugs me when someone says I married my best friend, because that’s not exactly my story, and I feel like it’s implied that it should be. In my story, we had to live together, be married, be partners, to build what we have now, and it’s made me a believer. I believe in us. I believe we’ll make it because we had to work through our differences, and we had to find out who we were individually, and who we were together, and even though it wasn’t always easy, and won’t be in the future, we did it.