I’ve been married to Andy for 10 years.
If there is anything I learned from last year, our anniversaries come and go here with little pomp and circumstance. And we like it that way, because we’re tired and always forget to grab cheesy cards from the grocery store the night before.
But, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the milestone. My parents were also high school sweethearts that married young, and it makes me proud that we’ve not only managed to stay together, but also like each other for the majority of the process.
A friend told me recently that I was “lucky” my marriage was so great, and I had to laugh. Not because my marriage wasn’t great, but because of all the things making it a largely positive relationship, luck is not one of them. It’s not even in the top 100. I am not and have never been a lucky person. I’m assuming that when I was born, a black cat walked across my mom’s vagina in the delivery room and that her bed was positioned under a ladder next to a broken mirror. My luck is shit.
I shy away from giving myself many credits in life, but my relationship is something I’ve seriously rocked. We’ve both work really hard, we make tons of concessions, and have more downs than ups. We’re here because we’re stubborn and smart enough to know that losing each other would be the stupidest (and easiest) thing we could ever do, so we’re pretty diligent in making sure we’re the best people we can be to each other.
How We Got Here
1. We learned how to be adults at the exact same time. I know getting married young is kinda dorky, and even I will admit the feminist in me smiles when it sees the age of marriage creep up higher and higher each year. But, being in a relationship from the age of 15 means that we basically grew up together, were a part of each other’s biggest life moments, and at the end of the day, totally dug who we grew up to be.
2. I’m okay with the fact that romance has shit to do with flowers. My tire needs patched. I keep meaning to take it, but then… I don’t feel like it. It’s a total pain in the ass. I’ll do it eventually. In the mean time, Andy spends every morning in the freezing cold pumping up my tire before he goes to work. Some girls love poetry, I like to not die on the highway, and Andy loves me so much, he agrees. His love letter to me is less about fancy surprises or champagne and more about filling my car with gas or emptying the dishwasher because he knows I hate it. In return, I show my love by trimming his eyebrow hairs and resewing the hole in the crotch of his favorite pair of work pants that he swears he’s not sticking his finger through. It’s like every day is Valentine’s Day at our house.
3. Technology is our love language. We talk all day through robots. In person, we’re not super chatty, Andy is pretty shy and I’m usually writing or jabbering nonsense into the voice recorder of my iPhone. So we rely on texting, emails and g-chat to stay connected all day. Oh, and lots of sexting. Everything is sexier with a good instagram filter, right? But no phone calls. If Andy calls me, it’s for one of two reasons; there’s been an emergency or I’m in trouble for something and he can’t locate the correct emoji to properly express his anger.
4. We know how to fight. Mostly. I am putting this here because we haven’t had a fight that we couldn’t come back from, so I guess this is a win? Because I am more expressive than Andy, I used to spend the majority of our arguments screaming at him in an attempt to elicit some sort of response. Like, literally, his calm demeanor was only making me more enraged. WHY AREN’T YOU YELLING AT ME RIGHT NOW DO YOU NOT CARE!? This was ineffective, mostly because I never felt like I won. Now I know the best way for us to fight is in the car. You know how excited your pets are when you are going for a car ride, but then one day, instead of the car ride, you take them to the vet, and then every time after that, they flinch a little bit getting into the car? That is now how Andy reacts to getting into a car with me. It’s actually kinda hilarious. But the truth is, we fight in the car because it’s the once place from which neither of us can escape as we try to hash things out. And with gas under $2, we’ll just keep on circling the block.
5. We ditch the kids. Look, we’re amazing parents. We have the coolest kids. They are smart and well adjusted and crazy kind. But, sometimes the best thing we can do for our marriage is the get the ever loving fuck away from them. Don’t try to make us feel bad about this. It is way too easy to give every inch of ourselves to our children. We know this about us. We’ve been that couple in bed with three kids jammed between us, and while that made us feel like we were doing the right thing, we weren’t.
Mainlining all our energy into our little ones didn’t make us great parents, it made us okay care givers. They weren’t learning anything from us, they were looking at us the same way I look at the judges on the tv court shows or the chefs on Food Network. A quick fix to an immediate problem. Once we started escaping from them; whether it be date night or a quick vacation, not only did our relationship get a million times better, our parenting did, also. Our obligation to stay together wasn’t just about the kids anymore, it was about us, too. And honestly, I was tired of resenting my husband for being a more attentive and caring partner to our kids, than he was to me. Just like I bet he was pretty tired of me giving all my love and happiness to our kids, and having nothing but resentment and exhaustion for him. To some, this may sound selfish. But to those of you who are reading this shaking your heads along with the words, trust me, it’s okay to want to feel wanted in your marriage and be a good parent. And the sex is amazing.