Monday, July 25, 2011

Thirteenth Anniversary

Today is our thirteenth wedding anniversary. Every anniversary is a chance to celebrate where we are now, and how far we've come as individuals and as a couple, and look to where we are heading in the future. Marriage is a complicated animal, filled with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, and moments of happy bliss countered with the greatest insecurities and fears that you will split up and not make it through the rough patches.

As the product of a broken home, I approach marriage with a kind of "hold-your-breath-and-hope-for-the-best" philosophy. It was always my goal to have a good marriage, not simply a marriage which lasts, as the two are very different things. Jason is from an intact home where his parents just celebrated their thirty-seventh wedding anniversary, so he is much more relaxed and secure when it comes to our marital future.

I am astounded at what we have already come through in the last thirteen years. We have grown up together, discovering who we are individually and changing radically as one year flows into the next. I have to adjust every time Jason makes changes, and he has to alter himself as I change. Then there are the life changes which we both have to adapt to: the moves, the job changes, the friends who are close and then move away, and of course, the process of having babies which have now grown into children.

When we are close, we feel really close to each other. The opposite is also true. Any division in our relationship has the power to tear us apart, as a tiny rip in a piece of fabric can develop quickly into a jagged rift which breaks the cloth in two. As we build up relationship equity in the good times, I am less panicked that the jig is up in the stressful periods. I think this fear is common for people with divorced parents, but I am grateful for Jason's solidity when I am unsure. I need that compass point, facing true north, so I have something to follow.

Each spouse brings so much into the marriage. A lot of it is good, and much of it is not. I'm learning to see marriage as a living organism, and all living things must be allowed to change and grow, or they stagnate and die. I want to keep improving myself and therefore making my marriage better and stronger. I love that I chose a man who will keep pace with this growth, and although it is always rocky when we are both changing, eventually we settle in and find a new normal, and that takes us to a better place than we have ever been before.

On this anniversary, lucky thirteen, I do feel fortunate. We have worked hard for the relationship we have built, and in this last year we have touched the mountaintops together and trudged through the deepest mud at the bottom of the pond, and survived both. With every year, we get a little bit better as a couple, and I appreciate the time we have spent as married partners and the time we have been granted to do even more together. Working for a strong and happy marriage is a precious gift, not only for each other but also for our children, and today I am grateful.