Ten years ago today, I married the man I love. That number catches in my throat. Ten years — it sounds like a long time.
I woke this morning to our baby crying. At first I was annoyed, but then I realized those cries are just one piece of what we’ve built together over these years. We will spend the day changing diapers, taking our son to swim lessons, and doing some much needed laundry. Tonight, we’ll drop the kids off with my brother and get dinner at a favorite Italian restaurant. And if you read my recent London posts, you know we really celebrated a few weeks ago with a big trip and some treasured time away together.
Life turns out to be an odd, and sometimes unpredictable, mixture of all these varied moments. Romantic moments and exciting ones but also many, many mundane and frustrating moments too.
If I have learned anything about marriage over the last ten years, it’s that life is all these moments and not the highlights or big trips in between. Love and marriage are built day by day, choice by choice — by a man who got up with our crying baby to let me rest on the weekend. By small moment of flirtation and teasing and notice and delight right in the middle of washing dishes and mowing grass. Big trips and nice dinners refresh and punctuate the ordinary with an extra dose of magic, but life and marriage cannot be built on those moments alone.
We stay and grow together through compromise, mutual respect for varied thoughts and opinions, grace for our faults, forgiveness and letting go when we get it wrong. We fall down but get back up. We stumble but try again. We argue and wound but find our way back to work it out and fight not against each other but for — each other, our family, our home.
These are the middle years — of our lives, marriage, work, and family. We are in the middle of everything — building homes and careers and raising young children. The responsibilities we wake up to each day are both mundane and intense. And so much of making these middle years work and still finding ourselves together and in love on the other side requires, if nothing else, just showing up.
Just choosing to get out of bed early to go to that same job and instruct once more our children in all the same lessons as the day before. We show up around the table at the end of the day and choose to share a meal together as a family. We fall into the same bed at night and choose to talk later than we probably should so we might not lose each other in the shuffle of all the other showing up we must do to survive.
We choose, one day at a time, one ordinary moment at a time, to do the next right thing. And on the especially exhausting or frustrating days, when all the fun and romance seem to be memories from another time and place, that showing up and trying again is the very glue that binds us together.
When we were walking around London a few weeks ago, miles and ocean and time zones away from our ordinary and routine, I dreaded coming back to it all. Not because I don’t love our life together (I do) but because it’s easy to get lost in all of it — the dishes and diapers and bills and groceries. There are so many needs to be met and things to be done and I just wanted more time — more time to walk slowly and talk deeply, more time to gaze and see and hear and enjoy the heart and mind of this man I so love but sometimes can’t seem to grasp in the speed and intensity of our normal lives.
We are home now of course and I wasn’t wrong — it has been really hard. We talk more about the logistics of the day than our big dreams for the future. We are constantly interrupted by crying and whining and a hundred billion questions from a certain four year old.
But here’s what I know we’re doing right — we still want to be together, more than anyone, more than anything — I want him. I struggle with the responsibilities that sometimes pull us apart because I want more time with him. I am frustrated we don’t have more time to talk because there’s no one I enjoy talking to more. Even after ten years, ten years of change and growth and plenty of challenges, he’s still the one — he was always the one.
I’m not looking for a way out after all these years but a way in — a way to find more time together, a way to see and hear and enjoy each other more no matter how crazy life gets. And that, I think, says a lot. We may not know how to make life and marriage work sometimes, but we at least want to make it work together — and that if nothing else, means we’re doing something right.
Happy ten years to my love. I hope we have a hundred more ❤