Today my husband and I have been married for 17 years. That’s actually a really long time when I think about it, and it went really fast. That day was wonderful 17 years ago, yet it seems like a lifetime ago in some ways.
I recently read about how people were commenting on how marriage is easy, and it created quite a debate. I remember after getting married thinking how much all of those Brides magazines suck. They painted such a pretty picture of the wedding, but they didn’t talk about the marriage. I would never ever label marriage as easy, but it is definitely worth the work.
On our first anniversary, 16 years ago, we had plans to stay up on the North Coast of California in a fancy inn for the weekend. Along the way, we planned on stopping to see the new Austin Powers movie that had just came out that day. We got lost, (this was before GPS…gasp). Then, frustration got the best of us as we argued our way to the beach inn. Good thing it was all made up by excellent food and naps on the beach that weekend. We even had a picnic basket of wine and brie. We felt so fancy! And relaxed!!
If this picture were to happen now, it would be because my husband won some sort of bet or competition, and all three of my kids would be hooting and hollering in the background as they took the picture! Our picnic baskets since our first anniversary have contained such items as swim diapers, PB&J, and capri suns. Definitely not brie and wine.
Fast forward to today, our 17th anniversary. We took a 5 hour drive back from our annual week camping at Pismo beach with my sister in laws and their families. The 5 hour drive is followed by unpacking the trailer in 100+ heat, cleaning the trailer, tending to our house and zoo of animals, as my husband mows the lawns. Romantic right? We may get gyros for dinner, which I’m excited about. Or, since we went from 60 degrees on the coast to 100+ here in the valley, we may have cereal. It’s flippin’ hot.
Tomorrow brings a double header baseball game for my son and his team which my husband coaches, and a possible soccer game for my daughter. So, there is our anniversary weekend. Honestly, I have no complaints though. Our kids are what have made our marriage a family, and I would have it no other way. (Although, I am quite happy there are no baseball games today therefore my anniversary dinner doesn’t consist of a choice of a hot dog or nachos from the snack bar!!)
While sitting around the campfire in Pismo (6 adults, 8 kids ranging from 9-19), one of the 19 year olds asked if I had advice for him about relationships. It was a super fun, light hearted conversation which everyone jumped in. One of my sister in laws said when you find the one, and you get married, you have to commit to being all in. The message being, you can’t just give up when things get hard. My advice was you have to laugh. Laugh hard with the one you are going to be with for life. You have to be able to laugh until you have the ugly cry-silent laugh with tears running down your face. If you can do that, the person is a keeper. Because butterflies and rainbows that are dancing around when you first meet, they go away. They return at times, and when they do, you chase after them and try and hold on to them for a while. But when they aren’t there, you have to laugh, it keeps you connected.
I most certainly do not have a magic formula or tips for a happy marriage. I find the times that are the most difficult usually have an underlying theme of being so busy that we don’t have time to catch up. And when we do get a rare (rare is even a generous term here) outing or overnight by ourselves, we really enjoy each others company. I find myself halfway through dinner and some wine realizing, ‘hey, we still really like each other!’ A nice feeling when you’re able to peel away all of life’s craziness and just spend some time together.
I’m not a mushy person. I can be a pretty big pain in the butt and hard to live with. There are times I see red, and I don’t call him my best friend (see here for that explanation), but there is no one else I’d rather be on this journey with, and I’m thankful he chose me too! Happy 17th anniversary to us!