This week my husband and I celebrate 15 years of being married.
I’m not sure what the appropriate event should be to celebrate 15 years, but we went to a Korean Sauna and to Texas Roadhouse. I suppose we decided to embrace some cultural experiences, from Asia to the wild west.
The sauna was a definite experience that I cannot properly write about here. Or anywhere. Let’s just say that I wasn’t prepared for the lack of clothing that we experienced, but once I stopped giggling, found it to be quite a restful experience.
We debated going to a fancy steakhouse, but, let’s be honest, big portions, appetizers I know how to pronounce, and free bread is more my style anyway. I like fancy restaurants for the atmosphere, but we had a couple of dates recently, so this time I was more about the food.
We sat down to our cinnamon butter that was disproportionately given in ratio to the amount of bread it had to cover. I ordered a sweet tea, despite knowing it would keep me up all hours of the night, we grasped one another’s hands, looked deeply into each other’s eyes, and said…. nothing.
After 15 years, there really just isn’t much left to say. I tried to come up with some romantic something or other, but it escaped me. We just stared and chewed bread and talked about work (which we said we wouldn’t do) and talked about kids (which we said we wouldn’t do) and talked about how we had nothing to talk about.
It’s a comfortable feeling to be married 15 years. It’s not that I don’t enjoy putting on the fancy dress and going out, but being in a relationship that feels like an old pair of sweatpants is pretty nice too. I can just be my fat, bread-eating, true self and, in that place, I am still loved and wanted. That’s a great feeling.
I’m not gonna lie. My Facebook post about the special occasion did NOT mention the pounds gained, the awkward sauna, the silent dinner. My social media will not mention that I gave him a card, but he forgot mine (which I think translates to, “forgot to buy mine.”)
No, this is not what my 954 followers will read about. My FACEBOOK POST will instead show beautiful pictures from glamourous trips we have taken in years past. The photos are from our wedding day, our honeymoon, a fancy, dress-up dinner we went to once.
There’s nothing wrong with this. I want all the world to celebrate this beautiful moment with me, even if I don’t know how to celebrate it for myself, exactly. It’s a day worth reflecting on, worth being special, worth giving it time and attention.
But, I want my friends to know that this pair of sweat pants I wear called “marriage” was sewed with great effort, real trials, and great pains.
Our fifteen years nearly didn’t happen. Every beautiful moment that I share with the world was forged by fire. We found beauty in the ashes and strength from pain. We exchanged mourning for joy. Now I show the joy, but I do not want to forget about the mourning.
We have lost babies and jobs and businesses together. We have argued and struggled. Addiction was a third wheel in our marriage at one point. We have been together in tears, apart in loneliness. We have been best friends and worst enemies.
This celebration isn’t of the day we said our vows, but all the days after that we didn’t kill each other.
It’s a celebration that we fought for our family when it would have made more sense for it to fall apart.
At dinner, my husband apologized for all the wasted time and wasted years. Now that’s words worth breaking the silence.
Yet, I have to disagree. The years and the time weren’t wasted. We have more thankfulness for one another now. We have an appreciation for our love and our time together that I never could have found without the pain. We have a renewed sense of friendship and joy that is greater and deeper when you haven’t had it. I understand what it means to have my husband close and near, because for awhile I didn’t have it. I love him deeper and I admire him more now than I ever have. I saw him fight for us and appreciate his warrior within. We won a battle. I’m glad we did that together. It also gives me great encouragement for the battles we have yet to face that lie ahead.
I’m fine with the beautiful story we have written together. I’m more than fine, I’m appreciative. It may be a windy, curvy story, with some derailed thoughts and unfinished chapters, but that’s kind of how life is. I’m glad we are still writing our story together.
I’m thankful to be eating in silence with nothing to say. For years, I was trying to manipulate every moment into one where we could connect. I was craving deep conversation with my spouse. Not needing it is just one more reminder that we are at a good place.
It also gives me more time to focus on the bread.