Monday, September 11, 2017

Ten Years Married

Three days ago, J and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. Well, maybe celebrated is a bit of a generous word for it. We had tomato soup and grilled cheese, which is pretty standard Friday night fare at our house, and we had it with our children, like normal. He brought me flowers, and I'd ordered a small cake, and we both posted wedding photos on Instagram. Done. This is how we mark a decade of married life.

I am not disappointed with our celebration, or lack thereof. One thing that is really lovely about ten years together is how we've settled into our life together as a couple and now as a family, since we started adding kids three years in. I was thinking of the anniversaries that came before this, and we didn't do anything spectacular for those either. Because it's just not who we are, or what we want or need.

What I've discovered over ten years of marriage is that the most important thing for marriage satisfaction is to shed the expectations that don't fit, both the ones that I held personally due to my own preferences and personality, and the ones I was taught to have. Ten years in, it's still a work in progress, but I look over at the man I married and see that we are steady, despite the lack of date nights and emphasis on other things which my American evangelical Christian upbringing taught me were important.

Would it be nice to go out alone with my husband? Of course it would. Would that take more effort than both of us are currently willing to make? Yes. If it didn't, then we'd be doing it a lot more often. And yet, here we are, with our tomato soup and grilled cheese and small chocolate cake, planning where to put the flowers so the cat won't eat them while our children are, once again, being unbearably loud. And happy enough with it, too.

I think a lot of lies get told about relationships, both inadvertently and because people honestly believe these things to be true. We're told how to show that we value our relationships, but those displays of value don't necessarily fit. We've had to learn what shows value to us. It doesn't matter how it looks to others, if they shake their heads at the choices we've made and think that surely we are doing it wrong and thus setting ourselves up for a fall. Because here we are. Ten years in, and still happy together. We've learned how quickly the time goes. Whatever is trying in the moment will surely pass. If it's important enough, we'll talk about it. We are both adults, capable of stating our wants and needs, capable of allowing things that aren't our favorite in pursuit of the greater good.

At ten years in, our life is peaceful, steady, good. I married a man who is peaceful, steady, and good, and we have weathered some storms together and come out on the other side. Knowing this is a comfort. If we've walked through hard things together already, we can do it again. But for now, there is peace, steadiness, goodness. There is a new home and another three years permission to stay in the country we've made our home. I am grateful for the ten years we've lived as husband and wife, and I look forward to the next ten.

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