Monday, September 27, 2021

13 years of marital bliss etc.

Dear Nick,

Today is the day, 13 years ago, when we stood up in front of so many loved ones and promised to love and I honestly can't remember what else (although I know for a fact that obey was not in there) forever and ever.

This was right after the exchange of rings or maybe between rings, and is possibly my favorite photo of the two of us.

I remember female family friends telling me to marry a man who made me laugh. (One mom told me to marry a nerd, because nerds make the best husbands.)

At the time, or those multiple times, I imagine I was like, uh, I really just want to marry someone cute who takes me out for nice dinners. But as it turns out, I married a nerd who makes me laugh, and I probably should've listened to way more advice from the moms in my life way earlier.

Anyway.

We asked an old family friend to marry us, which meant getting some kind of internet minister certificate. Which he got but then DC somehow made approval complicated.

And DC also wanted us to get tested for syphilis before they would grant us a marriage license.

Neither of us objected, and both our primary care doctors said they were happy to give a blood test, but then were like, an official form? To prove you don't have syphilis? Where does one find this form?

The DC getting married instructions said doctor's offices would have such form.

They had no idea. We had no idea. It was all proving more administratively complicated for our minister and us than it seemed it should be.

And time was ticking.

So in the week prior to the wedding, we got a marriage license in Alexandria, and headed to the office of a lawyer in Old Town who would marry us.

You drove, and as you parked you said, "Watch the door."

I was like, "Yes, yes..." Because let us be frank: you are a person who gives instructions like, all the time. 

I barely knew you and I knew that.

And then I opened the car door without paying attention and slammed it into the metal post that you were trying to get me to avoid. It made a big dent.

You came around to my side and yelled, "God fucking dammit! I told you to watch the door!"

So I said I'd pay for it, which didn't make an sense because all our finances were about to be joined and so if I was paying for it, you were paying for it. Which you pointed out. You were still mad.

At which point I started to cry and said I didn't think this was a very good way to head into a marriage.

I mean, really.

So you apologized for getting so angry and I apologized for ignoring your request and subsequently walloping your car really hard with an iron pole, and we headed into the lawyer's office.

And then some shockingly brief amount of time later, we were actually married.

It was so easy I was wondering why neither of us had ever done that before. (Ha! I'm kidding.)

But for me the day that matters is the day we spent with our loved ones surrounding us. Which was today, 13 years ago.

I look at the photos and I see the faces of people we dearly loved who are no longer with us. I see people we love and still have in our lives.

I am so grateful they were there with us.

So, I think we would both agree that 13 years is no small chunk of time.

This morning I said, "Happy anniversary! I'd marry you all over again!" 

As I was giving you a kiss, Jordan said, "Yeah. Some days I'm not so sure that's true."

What I did not understand before marriage was that staying married turns out to be a choice you make repeatedly. Some days you're in harmony and life flows and is easy and joyful. And some days are hard. Sometimes those days turn into weeks or even months or longer.

Marriage, it turns out, at least ours, is playing the long game. I never had a long game before.

Sometimes, in our marriage anyway, one might spend months of their first child's life awake and seething at night, dividing up the furniture. Sometimes one's husband might be mad at them for pretty much an entire year. 

Sometimes one might consider and perhaps even discuss not being married, and then decide together that in fact, the two of you would prefer to slog through whatever it might be together.

This turns out to be remarkably satisfying.

And sometimes one of you is having the hardest time ever, and the other is there to support you through it, no matter what.

I never had this kind of certainty. 

Happy anniversary, dear.

Today I'd marry you all over again.

I'd just be more careful about the car door.

Love,

Lisa

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