One year ago I walked down the aisle and married my best friend. I’m happy to report that on our first anniversary, I would do it all over again.
On this side of the first year of marriage, I know being a newlywed isn’t easy. I thought it should be. I knew marriage was hard work, but for some reason I had that little glimmer hope that the first year would be all passion and magic, no bed head and laundry piles. When the movie ends, and they ride off into the sunset, they never seem to show the part where they come back from the honeymoon in the middle of the night to all of the fire alarms in their apartment beeping and no where to put the wedding gifts, except on the floor in the hallway.
After a year of marriage, I now know that the most important moments aren’t the ones you spend weeks or months planning. They’re the ones that just happen. The ones where you laugh together. At each other, at yourself… Maybe even at the idea we still cling to that two imperfect people are going to make one perfect life together. Because when your home is finally spotless, and he’s in an outfit you approve of, and your hair is cooperating, I’ve learned it then magically becomes time for a trip to the ER, or for smoke to come billowing out of your oven, or for an in-law to work their magic. Sometimes the big moments don’t end up as perfect as we plan them. But the little moments, they’re the glue. They get you through the rest.
This year I learned that independence is hard to tame. Learning to make future decisions with someone else can be fun and romantic at one moment, and frustrating at another. It means having to put words to dreams and expectations you don’t even realize you have and then trying to merge those with the ones he’s never shared with you. Having someone there to snuggle with at night is usually a perk, but when you’re at the best of part of your novel and he just keeps interrupting you for one more thing, you will want to throw a pillow at him. And compromise… it’s one of the best tools a married couple can have, but some things can’t be compromised. Sometimes you can’t both win. And when those are big decisions, it’s hard to decide who’s turn it is to lose.
But the best part of the first year of marriage is realizing what it means to really love someone unconditionally. When you’re sick and sleeping on the bathroom floor and there’s someone there, who isn’t your mom, taking care of you. When you burst into tears for no better reason then you’re a girl, and it’s the right day of the month, and one more thing went wrong, and he’s learned to just take you in his arms and not to ask too many questions. When you work all afternoon on a new recipe and one bite in he looks like he’s going to die, but he offers to keep eating anyway. When he goes out of his way to do something for you, even though you really don’t deserve it that day, because he loves you even on days you’re difficult. And when you do the same things in return, because you just love him more the you can explain, even when you don’t like him very much. Those are the moments that make it all worth it.
It’s been a crazy year. Bring on the next one.