I remember looking down at the ground. At the wood planks that were all perfectly spaced and in need of a new coat of stain. They creaked slightly as my flats clinked down the stairs, holding on to the bartender’s arm. I remember hearing a violin, somewhere in the distance and a lot of shuffling of chairs across the wood planks. I remember smelling the sweet smell of roses and sweat and fresh forest air.
I remember hearing a lot of, “Wows,” and “Look at her!” I couldn’t look up. I had to focus on the ground.
Then I heard, “Hey man, there she is,” and I looked up and saw Matt standing at the overlook waiting for me, his eyes misty, hands clasped in front and slightly white knuckled.
He was nervous, too.
Seven years ago I married my best friend. Since then we’ve survived a mortgage, a dog, a bunch of cats, car purchases, me being pregnant, the four kids that followed, long car trips while pregnant with children, vacation, trips to IKEA, and potty training.
Marrying him was truly the best day of my life. Without him, all the things I have and live and breathe wouldn’t be possible. The children I’ve birthed, the house I love, the laughs, the patience, the understanding.
Patience being – Time due home: 6:30 PM. Time on the clock: 7 PM. Text from Matt: “I’ll be late,” time stamped 7:30 PM.
Understanding being – Spider in the house: Matt’s job. Wasp in the house: My job.
Trips to IKEA – both patience and understanding on Matt’s part.
Matt simply makes me happy. We don’t have to say I love you every day, because we already know. I know he loves me by the way he loves the kids every day. The way he puts up with the cats because he knows I love them. The way he works hard so that I can stay home with the kids. The times he tells me my cooking is the best. When he lets me sleep in 10 minutes longer because he wants to.
I show Matt I love him by baking him chocolate chip cookies, buying him his favorite peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s and saving him a few, cleaning the toilet and sometimes on really good days, putting the laundry away.
That’s a marriage, people. That’s real life.
Love isn’t all mushy and butterflies. Sure it is in the beginning, but when the novelty wears off, that’s when the true test begins. Can your marriage survive boring days? Can it survive buying a car while 5 months pregnant? Really bad movies on SyFy? Long conversations about tax reconciliation? Being woken up at 5 in the morning over something sports related mentioned on Twitter? Your impulsive wife up and buying a compound miter saw? Your impulsive wife up and using the compound miter saw when no one else is home? The date nights that include a slightly warm dinner with some bad animated film babysitter in the background?
If so, marriage is for you.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.
When I’m 90 and people ask me, “How did your marriage last so long? What’s the secret?” I’ll smile and say, “He took my to IKEA and didn’t complain.”
Happy Anniversary, Matt.