Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Eight years of marriage; going on 11 together

We celebrated eight years of being married yesterday; we've been together for 10 and a half.

Tony went to work; so did I -- I spent much of the day in Manton writing about their fledgling bluegrass music program. That story will be in Friday's Record Searchlight. It's quite remarkable, and watching these kids play is just a treat.

But we went to dinner together and talked, shared mushy cards, and told each other how lucky we are to have found each other. Nothing unusual on the actual day, but we have a long weekend getaway to the ocean planned soon.

The ocean is very much a part of our story: we met for the first time at the steps to the beach in Pacifica, and by the time we came back up those steps some five hours later, we knew we'd found something very special. After that day we spent as much time together as we could, eventually moving in together, and then marrying in 2000. It was amazing and wonderful, finding each other like that when it was not even what we thought we were looking for. But it was clearly the universe at work, answering long-ago prayers.

Our wedding was a storybook one: we got married on a yacht in SF Bay with about 50 friends and family enjoying the day with us -- food, drink, sunshine, and the ocean. We wrote our own ceremony, my uncle Tom officiated. It completely reflected who we are and how much we love each other. It was wonderful, and we still think it's the coolest wedding we've ever been to.

And it is amazing to us that the last eight years have flown by. We see a lot of change from our wedding photograph -- my hair is completely different, color and style; I've lost a lot of weight. Tony's beard has turned almost entirely white; his hair is grayer too. And he's lost weight. I think that the happiness in our faces is still there, though, perhaps even more deeply.

There is not a day that goes by without both of us telling each other how we treasure the other, how lucky we are to have found each other, and how grateful we are. This relationship -- this man -- is the one I used to dream about having one day, but never really believed that I would. When I got divorced, I knew I would never "settle" for someone. If it wasn't absolutely right, if I could see only possibilities and things I wanted to change about the person or traits that I could "live with," it might be good for some fun, but never for a long-term relationship.

And that's the way I think it ought to be.

That's not to say that you shouldn't compromise. Life, single or coupled, is compromise in most ways. You give, he takes; you take, he gives.

But I believe that you should be completely, totally smitten with another person and have done your due diligence -- given it time to develop, for the initial tingle to have settled down a bit (although never, ever lost~!), seen each other in crisis mode as well as in fun times, before you take the leap into marriage, or even, really, into a committed relationship.

If there are things that still drive you nuts, that you find hard not to resent or snap at, then reconsider. It won't get better.

We have been amazingly fortunate -- or perhaps it's just that we were 50 years old when we met, and a lot more willing to be flexible -- but our personal habits and styles are so similar that we have never had any conflict over toilet seats, toothpaste caps, clutter, or the like. He eats whatever I fix and always tells me how good it was (even ordinary stuff). What's not to love about someone like that? ***glow***

We don't criticize each other, not ever. It's simply not necessary. We talk about everything, even the ice weasly stuff that tends to wake us in the middle of the night. There is no lying, no withholding of information. If we're worried, we talk about it. Sometimes it takes a while for the ice weasels to release it, but it always comes out. And it makes it easier to bear, even the hard stuff, when someone shares the burden, and it makes the night less dark and scary.

Okay, we both tend to be a little co-dependent with the other. We aren't perfect...

We know how fortunate we are. We treasure and tend this relationship to keep it that way. And we are always, eternally grateful to have found each other.

May you be so blessed. Ask for what you want. Sometimes you get it.

P.S. Happy 29th, Brigitte

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