One of the things I have set out to do very intentionally through daily blogging is to take time to write retrospective posts on significant dates. I have done so in the past, both more recently on my birthday and earlier this year when my oldest daughter turned ten.
I think pausing to reflect on where you’ve been only helps as you look toward the future. With a new year on the horizon, and amidst a busy holiday season, it was also my anniversary.
When I think back to that time in my life, I remember being confident that I was making the right decision, despite being told by family members we were too young to make such an important, life-defining choice. A few days before the wedding, a friend’s father asked me if there was anything he could say to talk me out of it. Almost immediately, I replied “no,” without realizing it was a test. He smiled and said, “good answer.”
If there’s one thing I have never doubted or second-guessed in my life, it’s my relationship with my wife. We are far from perfect as individuals, but together I think we make a strong team. We compliment each other in many ways, and we strengthen and sharpen each other continually.
We have also spent much of our life together rejecting most of the so-called “expert” relationship advice. We don’t make “date nights” a priority, but we value the quality time we spend together every day. We also don’t spend a lot of our free time apart, with other friends to get a “break” from each other. We don’t conform to many of the social norms for raising our children either, but believe in a more wholistic view of spending time together as a family unit.
None of this is to suggest we have the best relationship and that everyone should try to imitate it. But what we do have is a shared conviction about having a mutual respect for one another. When we disagree, we try to listen to the other person to understand things from the their perspective.
Side note: neither of us think we “married up” either. I could write an entire post on this phrase, but it is one used in certain circles and I’m not a fan of it. My issue is it seems to imply that the other person must have “married down,” (I know that’s not the intent, obviously) so while it is an attempt at praising your spouse, it’s actually more of an insult.
I’d like to think my partner was smart enough to make an equally wise decision, and that we have grown better together over the years. It’s basically a humble-brag and I truly hope we can do better.
We also don’t bury our feelings or wait to resolve problems. If there’s one piece of advice I could impart upon anyone, which has both built and repaired our relationship, it’s doing whatever it takes to fix the small issues before they turn into bigger problems. This practice did not come naturally to me, but looking back I can say it is one of the most significant reasons we have been able to get through everything so far.
I’m sure in another twelve years I’ll look back to this time and realize how naive I still was in various ways, but I know I will still be grateful for the person I have to walk with through this life.