Today I celebrated my third wedding anniversary with my husband and eleven years as a couple. He picked me up with a bouquet of spring flowers and took me out for dinner. Afterwards, we went home and continued with our regular routine. Marriage is not always glamorous.
Coincidentally or not, I came across a couple of posts on Facebook throughout the day that made me reflect on the ups and downs of our marriage. So, I wanted to take the time to honestly talk about it here. Why? I feel that folks looking to get married should know what they’re in for and folks who are dead set against marriage should actually understand what it’s about before making their judgements.
In today’s society, it’s becoming increasingly socially acceptable to think marriage is stupid. I feel like almost half of my friends say they wouldn’t get married (some have since changed their minds). Why should you have to prove you love someone with a piece of paper? How does that piece of paper make your relationship any different, any better than it was before, any more legitimate? The answer, or at least my answer, is that piece of paper does change your relationship, it does make it more legitimate, and it does make it better than before.
When my husband and I first got married, everyone would ask us how it feels. We’d always say that it feels the same. And it did. You hear stories where one person in a relationship totally changes their behaviour after getting married. But, for us, everything pretty much stayed the same – at first.
About 6 months after our wedding, we decided we wanted to start a family. So I stopped taking birth control and we continued practicing. A year went by and we hadn’t gotten pregnant so we went to the doctor. We found out that I had health issues that were making it difficult to get pregnant. I got my health on track but a year later we still had no luck. So my husband got testing done and turns out he also had health issues preventing us from getting pregnant.
During the time that we were looking for answers on starting a family, we were also working to get our finances in good order. We experimented with different methods for keeping us on track for debt repayment but we’re still working on solidifying what works for us.
All of these situations we’ve been in since getting married have forced us to work together, spend time apart, make plans, change plans, praise small milestones, handle setbacks, yell at each other, apologize to each other, the list goes on.
No matter what seems to be stressing our relationship out at the time, we always find a way to joke around, make each other laugh, lift our spirits back up, and get back into the swing of things. We don’t move on when we get tired of fighting or bored of the same old, same old. We find new ways to listen to each other, make sure each other knows we’re here no matter what, and make the same old, same old, new.
Every day is a battle. Every day is a chance to start over, to learn something new, to have a little fun, apologize, treat your spouse better. Every day is a challenge to continue working through the ups and downs and commit to stay together no matter what odds are against us. Every day is another chance at forever.
There are days I feel like my husband doesn’t love me right. There are days I wish he paid more attention. There are days I wish he let go of me. But there are also days I feel proud to be his wife. There are days I’m humbled at how far we’ve come as a couple. There are days he surprises me with unexpected romance. There are days I am overflowing with love. But I know that no matter what day I’m having, he will be there for me.
Marriage isn’t all sunshine and roses. But it’s also not a death sentence. It’s not something to be taken lightly. It’s a lifelong commitment to always see the good in one another. To always work things out. To always be better. To never settle.
Marriage is looking at the positive, even when the negative gets you down. Marriage is choosing to feel lucky, because you are. Marriage is selflessness, because you want to ensure your spouse feels your love. Marriage is living within your means, because you want to take care of the other. Marriage is anger, because your spouse does things that you can’t stand. Marriage is honour, because you’re proud of each other’s accomplishments. Marriage is reassuring, because you know your spouse will be there when you’re at your worst. Marriage is unexpected, because you can’t always be ready for the downs or plan for the ups. Marriage is knowing that spark is still there, it just got lost and committing to finding it again. Marriage is never expecting more than you’re willing to give. Marriage is work, day in and day out. But, it doesn’t feel like work because it’s worth working for. Marriage is hard. But, marriage is worth it, because no matter what happens, you know you have that one person to travel with you, always.
But why can’t you have all of that without that piece of paper, you ask? That paper binds your lives together forever. It forces you to stick it out through the tough times. It forces you to pick up the slack when your spouse has let go. It forces you to find the lost spark, to try new things, to step out of your comfort zone, because your life is 100% committed to another. Because, you can’t just walk away. You can’t just give up when things feel like more than you can (or want to) handle. You can’t just look for something better or different or new because you’ve devoted to look for the better, the different, the new within your partner. You can’t just do whatever you want because you have someone else to care for, too. That piece of paper makes you care deeper, try harder, be more resilient, have more patience, be more understanding, have more respect, have more to lose, but much more to gain. Without that paper, you aren’t giving your all to that person.
On May 8, 2014, I chose to give my all to my husband, Tony Vere. I will continue to give my all to you for the rest of my life. And I know you will do the same for me. Together, we will make it through.
This will be us, one day.