I think one of the reasons I love summer so much is because in my family, we have a lot of birthdays, special occasions, and causes for celebration. I made a pact with myself a couple of years ago to put more effort into acknowledging these moments because they’re fleeting, and they also happen to form the underlying structure that our lives are built upon. So there’s that.
One of these special days is our anniversary…we celebrated our 23rd this year. It seems surreal that I’ve spent more than half my life married to my husband. Unbelievable, really. On our anniversary, I truly feel the enormity of that; the accomplishment it is. But most days I’m just immersed in the day-to-day business of living life.
Steven and I started dating our senior year of high school, and I can’t think of one person who thought we’d make it. The odds were stacked against us for sure. We came from completely different backgrounds, had opposing viewpoints on many things, and it was no secret that his family didn’t care much for me in the beginning.
We argued about those things in the early days, and probably had more strain on our relationship than others because of it. But we were able to keep those difficult things outside of us somehow. We never took it on in a way that could’ve broken us if we weren’t careful.
These days, I get asked all the time, how do you make it work? How have you stayed together for so long? I even occasionally get asked if I would ever consider doing some relationship coaching or create a group program for couples.
Who knows what the future holds in terms of what coaching I might offer, or what I might write about, but the truth is, right now I honestly don’t have the answers to those FAQs about marriage.
For me, marriage has been an odd mixture of fierce love and tenuous tolerance; infinite patience and unnerving frustration; hard work and complacency; undying loyalty and throwing my husband under the bus to a girlfriend over coffee. In other words, it’s complicated.
I know this much is true: “Happily Ever After” doesn’t mean “Perfect Ever After.” Once I understood that, the sailing was a lot smoother in life and in marriage. My husband and I can both be selfless, kind, and astonishingly generous with each other, and we can also both be assholes.
Here’s another fun fact: 23 years, 2 daughters, 7 fur kids, 8 homes, and far more laughs than tears along the way, we both recognize that we have a choice to stay together or not. And we choose each other.