Tuesday, January 06, 2009
12 Years Strong
Last year, we went to someone else's party after going out to dinner. They took our children and watched them at the party while we were out, and we joined everyone after our dinner. This year, between the bad weather and our exhaustion, we decided we'd have a quiet night to ourselves. I'd planned on making a nice dinner for us after we put the children to bed, Rich wanted to watch It Happened One Night or Persuasion, we had plenty of dessert, snacks and wine, and we'd ring in the New Year together. Quietly.
The Monday before our anniversary, though, Rich told me he'd like to go out. He asked me to try to get a baby sitter if I could (and I had a ringer, because we have some friends who would have come over to our house to stay with the children if our normal sitters couldn't do it). Well, one of our babysitters has gone and gotten a boyfriend, so she was busy, but the other one who is the eldest of six children himself, was free and in fact had a party to go to afterward that was closer to our house than his. So, he came over, the children tormented him with an RC tarantula (he's afraid of spiders), he got to shower once he put everyone to bed to get ready for his party and, evidently, left our house partly naked without us noticing, because after he'd gone, I found his hat, then his socks, then his shirt. The next day, Jerome found his cross.
So, Rich and I went out to a fun brick oven pizza place, shared a big salad and two of their pizzas (which meant we had leftovers, too!), I had a mandarin orange lemon drop, Rich had a Pepsi. What I really wanted, though, was a Bellini. They were out of the peach stuff. So, we stopped at the bar of the restaurant on the field, knowing they would make me a drink if I asked, even if they were closed. They also were out, and made me another drink. So, you know come August, I'll be making a whole pitcher of them.
We were home by 9:30, we let Jordan go to his party, I nursed Yasmina to sleep and we watched Persuasion. This was the first New Year's Eve since I was a child that I have gone to sleep before midnight. Rich held out until 11:30 and I did until 11:45. We have been really tired.
This was just the beginning, though. The lady who cleans our house, Cathy, also works at the restaurant, and she is always giving us too much of her pay in food and drink there. She told us that she wanted us to come by for appetizers and drinks on her as an anniversary gift. So, Saturday, Rich and I put the children to bed, left Alexander in charge and walked up to the restaurant. While I was dithering over what I should drink, Rich told them to give me a nice cabernet, because even my teetotaling husband knows that the first duty of wine is to be red. The chef had shrimp cocktail and coconut shrimp for us, we had salads, we sampled the crab, shrimp and scallop stuffed ravioli in a lovely tomato cream sauce and for dessert, we had creme brulee (which was bruleed perfectly) and a pistachio gelato. Then Alexander called us to tell us that Yasmina was awake, so I drank my coffee down and we headed back home.
We have had a good 12 years. Some harder than others. This year has been a rough year all around, with all that has gone on with our church, with the transition of the airport to its new owners, having a new baby and just being tired from that, but we are so glad we had each other to walk through it together. I cannot imagine another man who could have gone through some of the hard times we have. We have years of memories of things that might have broken other couples, and thank God, they have grown us. Rachelle wrote a Christmas post which sums up how important commitment is.
We've had many people ask us the secret to our marriage. They see us looking so in love, working together so seamlessly, and they want to know why. We tell them that it is our commitment to God and each other. I've had people tell me that this was too pragmatic, not romantic enough, but it is the truth. We have the romance and happiness we do because we have committed and do commit every day to the vows we made before God. Sometimes we don't feel it. The commitment gets us through that until we do again. If we relied on our feelings for our marriage to stay together, we wouldn't have made it through our first year.
The hard things we have gone through, the hard things we have made for ourselves, they are things that I would not want to lose (though there are things I wish we had handled differently), because they have grown us up and joined us together in a way I would never want to have missed. This isn't to say that there isn't romance, or that it is all drudge work, but that just like anything else that is worthwhile, there are times when it is more fun than others, but that we work at it a little bit each day, and the reward is great. Marriage is a lot of work, but it isn't a lot of work at once. If you take it minute by minute and do what needs to be done, it isn't that hard at all. This is why I have a hard time believing people who say that they just fell out of love. It takes a long time of not connecting, of not communicating, of saying no when you should say yes, of choosing not to put your energy into your spouse or marriage, of devoting your efforts to another cause, of focusing of the failures and faults instead of the successes and attributes of your spouse, of speaking ill of him or her to others or spending time with those who speak that way of their spouses. Dissatisfaction is the root of most failures in marriage, as far as I can tell, and it grows from all of those things. Being on guard against that is the best defense any marriage has, it keeps the other things that follow far off. Fidelity is one of the easiest parts of our marriage. Not because there isn't anyone else out there, but because it is such an ingrained habit not to seek that other person, this is something we do each moment of the day, not something we hoped would happen and then found out that once some of the shine has worn off that the other items on the market look brighter to us. We have learned to see the patina instead.
We are looking forward to another 63 years together. I love you Rich!
I say AMEN to what you said about marriage and commitment! Charlton and I will celebrate 9 years in May and I can honestly say that I LOVE my life and my marriage!
Congratulations to you both!!