Fifteen years ago today, my little brother walked me down a very long aisle where I decided to try my hand at marriage for a second time. I was 24 years old and considering it was already my second attempt at marriage; I admit the quiet voice in my head was yelling “what are you doing?”
I am still not sure if I really knew what I was doing all those years ago, but one of the biggest lessons I have learned in the past 15 years is that expectations can be the killer of a marriage. People often ask me how do you make a marriage work over the long haul and as I reflect on the past 15 years of marriage and 17 years together, I would say, marriages are a journey not a destination.
We live in a day and age where too many times the actual wedding is seen as the end game when nothing could be further from the truth. In fact if you want to stay married you realize early on that the people who wore the pretty party clothes aren’t the real people who live with each other day in and day out.
In our marriage we have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, we have buried parents, grandparents, moved 1200 and 3000 miles respectively from our families of origin, battled less than pleasant former spouses, gone broke temporarily, later going bankrupt permanently and the list goes on. Hell, we even buried my maid of honor a few years into our marriage.
In many ways when I said yes to the Man Unit 15 years ago today, I was still a child who believed in the fairy tale of marriage, but life blew that fairy tale to smithereens. Despite all we have dealt with in our life together, last year was the year when in order to keep this partnership alive, we had to blow up our former lives and create ones that work for us. The marriage/partnership we have today doesn’t resemble what we agreed to in front of the lovely minister who also happened to have been my father, but it works for us.
The union we have today is stronger and better than anything we had previously, in part because we finally gave ourselves permission to be ourselves. The idea of what a marriage is and what roles we ought to play can kill a marriage when those predetermined roles don’t fit who we really are.
So today here in BGIM land we are celebrating 15 years of this thing called marriage and the joys and sorrows those years have brought us. Despite the road not always being clear and frankly treacherous at times, I look forward to many more years in this journey.