Thursday 9 January 2020

15 years of marriage

I will never forget how I felt when we made the decision to get married: I was scared. I had no idea if it would work out with us or not. It could go one of two ways: either it would turn out to be the best decision of our lives - or it would be a complete disaster. And I honestly had no idea which way it would go. I gave us a 50/50 chance. 
All I knew at that point in my life was that I had tried to live without him, and that I was utterly miserable. That's the only reason why I, the ultimate worrier, list-maker and weigher of pros and cons, would take a chance on a bet with such an uncertain outcome. 

You all know how the story ends. We end up happily ever after. But what happens after the happily ever after? Every movie, book and fairy tale ends before it gets really interesting. Because, while the chase, the uncertainty, the back and forth and the grand finale are exciting, the real good stuff happens after.

Like Rich buying me a disco ball for my She Shed. Which is a whimsical gesture he would not have done 15 years ago when we got married. Back then he was still too guarded, macho, and too cool (=insecure) for a gesture like that. Besides, back then he didn't know yet how much ridiculous joy I would get out of receiving a disco ball. 
Or him scrubbing pots and pans by hand. This may not seem like much, but for Rich, it's a step as huge as the first man walking on the moon. Epic. Previously unimaginable. Thought to be impossible. 

We knew laughably little about each other when we decided to live together approximately 5 minutes after we met. You guys know this. 

But here's the thing: even if you've dated for years before he goes down on one knee; even if you've known him since he was a little boy; even if your parents know each other and approve of each other; you still won't know him that well. 

The really deep, wordless, I-can-read-your-thoughts connection doesn't happen after a few short months or years together. It happens after decades. It happens when you have weathered some tough shit together: money problems, illness, disappointments, family problems, hurts that cut down to the marrow; maybe separations, maybe betrayals, maybe some other problems. Every relationship is different. 

The real magic happens when you commit to another person despite the times they disappoint you. 
Make no mistake, it will happen. Not only once, but multiple times.
Magic happens when you stick by them even though you may hate them sometimes. 
It happens when you support them in their hobbies even though you don't share (or even understand) them. 
It happens when you stick by them through the boring times. 
When you resist flirtations/temptations that might present themselves to you. 
When you don't give in to the husband-bashing that your girlfriends may initiate to make themselves feel better about their own relationships. 
We didn't decipher each other's codes until we were well into the double digits of our time together. 
I have a brash way of talking when I'm speaking German because that's how I grew up. It's very honest/in-your-face, but we don't think of it as rude. However, people who are not used to it do, apparently. I never knew how it comes across to others before Rich told me, and even then it took us years before he didn't get offended by my abrupt way of speaking anymore.  

When I'm feeling intensely raw and vulnerable, Rich sometimes doesn't realize it in time and I perceive him as being insensitive. He isn't. He just hasn't caught on to the fact that I need kid gloves, while he is still using his normal man hands. That, too, took us many years before we figured out why I would cry and feel misunderstood, while he felt bewildered and at a loss. We are still not in perfect sync, but we are anticipating each other's needs and vulnerabilities more now than ever before.   

We have both made huge-to-us-concessions to each other out of love. 
I live with a gazillion animals that complicate life in some ways: when other people question our lifestyle (which happens in predicable and tiring frequency), or when we want to go on vacation and have to find someone reliable to look after them.
Rich lives with someone who not only writes a blog about their life, but who also wrote a book about their personal love story for all the world to read, and who insists on posting at least quarterly couple-selfies to Instagram. 
A marriage that stands the test of time doesn't happen overnight. But a happy marriage should give you pleasure and joy at every one of its many stages. At its essence it should feel right and effortless. It won't be effortless, but it should never feel like hard work. If it does, something is wrong. 
I don't like the belief that marriage requires sacrifices. Making decisions for the sake of your relationship shouldn't feel like a sacrifice. If it does, something is wrong.  

Life is hard. We will all face hard times, and our relationships aren't exempt from that.
But the magic of being with someone you both dedicated your lives to is that you don't have to face the hard stuff by yourself anymore. You always have your person by your side.  

Our connection has grown stronger with every year we've been together. 15 years married, 17 years together, and we've never been more united. Our bond is the most precious thing in both our lives. 
It's still far from perfect. We bicker a lot (Rich claims I need it for my mental well-being - he is not wrong), and we will continue to face ups and downs. 

But, boy oh boy, is our marriage ever good. We ask each other every day: "Have I told you today that I love you?" And we always have. We tell each other every morning upon waking up and every night before falling asleep that we love each other. 
Nothing else in my life comes even close to how happy our relationship makes me. 

All I can say is this: marriage is worth playing the long game. A thousand times over. 

Happy Anniversary babe. I love you. 

Previous anniversary posts:
14 years
13 years
12 years



  1. Congratulations! It is super lovely he bought you the disco ball!
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

    1. It really is, isn't it? I just love that he knew me better than I know myself - I had no idea how much joy a disco ball would add to my life! 😂🌟

  2. Happy anniversary you two lovebirds ❤

    1. Thank you Mary!
      We're so grateful for each other. All I want is for him to stick around another 40 years or so 🤞


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