Not gonna lie, this annual post always takes the longest to write (you can read past years here and here). I actually started it in January, weeks before our anniversary, but it’s hard to summarize a year of marriage into a single blog post, so I took a break 1/2 way through and now it’s April and I don’t like anything that I wrote before. So here we go with a fresh version:
Our third year of marriage has been full of my questions, like “How can we really have it this good?” and “Is it really possible to be this happy with your partner?” and “What are we doing right that we can share with others?” because hearing about marriage problems now makes me incredibly sad. I want everyone to be happy and full of love. We are at the age of almost-30 when some of our friends are getting divorced and several others are starting to have growing pains, which means frequent fights, patterns of ignoring, and short-term separations. Husband and I are not naive-we fully expect that some years of marriage will be harder than others and try to plan ahead for potential problems, even though we know that careers, family, and health can throw curveballs at any time.
But this year of marriage was not hard. Parts of our lives were hard, with managing two different schedules and supporting family during difficult times and attending funerals and reviewing our finances and squeezing in spring cleaning and navigating changes in our church and trying to avoid discouragement with another year of tests, evaluations, and late nights. But our marriage stayed strong.
Because I still rush home to see him. And he still swings by the house on his lunch break if he knows I’ll be home. And I still make grocery lists and he still starts cooking as soon as I am on my way home from Muncie. I’ve gotten better at writing down his Mensa meetings and he’s shown improvement in remembering my church and Junior League commitments. We still alternate between tossing in loads of laundry and putting a load of dishes in the dishwasher. We don’t blame each other if one person ends up too busy to cook or run errands and just agree to order take-out instead. We still occasionally pay someone else to clean our toilets so we don’t accidentally end up living in squalor while we’re up late trying to finish writing papers. Husband studies in the den if I want to watch TV in the living room and I try not to blast Kelly Clarkson too loud if he’s trying to take a quiz. I accompany Husband to his medical conferences and he joins me on my blogging excursions.
Some way, somehow, we’ve come to this deeper level of understanding. Husband can tell when I’m just grumpy from a long day of commuting or actually sad from a discouraging day with clients (the crying in the bathroom is usually a clue). I can distinguish between Husband’s moods to know if they are a result of being tired from working 12 hours or if they are coming from feeling stressed about his future residency options (again, the stress rash usually provides a strong hint).
For the first time since we were married, I’ve realized that I have something to lose if Husband and I were not together. Of course, I never wanted to lose Husband, but I think I held on to some source of independence and an attitude of “I’ll still be fine on my own.” But this year has really shown a transition to interdependence. I rely on Husband and our teamwork is essential to my personal, professional, and married self. Together, we do more than I could ever do on my own. I think that bothered me for a little while, but it doesn’t now. I’m not fighting against it. I’m embracing it. And I’m thankful and amazed and mystified.
I mentioned third year has been full of questions. They’ve also included thoughts, like “What would our lives be like if we hadn’t met?” and “How do we get to be so happy when other people are so unhappy?” and “Why are we the lucky ones?” I can guess that it’s things like the unchangeable time and place of our births, our mutual attraction to intelligence, our shared values, the prayers of our parents, and our annoying persistence, but I really don’t know. Maybe it wouldn’t be as fun if I had figured it all out already. Maybe our rough times are twenty years down the road. Maybe the billions of factors throughout time and space that brought us together need no more explanation. Maybe it’s nice to have a little mystery.
I keep telling people that 2018 is our BIG year with comprehensive exams, board exams, mission trips, away rotations, dissertation proposals, and residency applications, but I really know that EVERY year is a “big” year with the potential for career decisions and new houses and babies and family drama. I’ll take it, though. A little mystery and interdependence can go a long way.
I can’t wait to see what happens next. 4th year of marriage, here we come!