A Decade Wiser

I am taking a break from the topic of infertility to focus on something that is incredibly important to me-- my husband. Sometimes I get so caught up in life and the struggle we face and I forget what an extraordinary man I chose to make my life with. So today, forgive me while I gush about our marriage for a bit.

Today is my tenth wedding anniversary. It's hard to believe Jeremy and I have been married for a decade. Simultaneously, it seems like an instant and a lifetime. I can distinctly remember the way he looked standing in front of the church and the way he had tears in his eyes when we exchanged vows. But, the fact that so many faces who were with us that day are no longer here shows just how much time has passed.

On the day I got married, I was 23 years old. At the time, I didn't think that was young. It didn't feel that young to me. I had been, more or less, on my own for five years and had been a productive member of the adult, tax paying world for just as long. I felt like I grew up a whole lot when I watched my mom battle cancer. So, no one could tell me I was young when I got married.

I'll tell you today-- I was young when I got married. But, unlike many young people who get married, I was lucky. You see, I married the right man even though I lacked the life experience to show me just what I needed.

When I met Jeremy, more than 14 years ago, I didn't like him. Let me restate that--- I HATED him. But, what I discovered was, in fact, that I didn't hate him.... I hated who I thought he was. If you don't know my husband, you're missing out. There aren't really that many people in this world who truly know Jeremy. What I mistook for indifference and arrogance was an incredibly introverted man who didn't want to step on toes. Jeremy is quiet and humble, patient and kind, goofy and sweet. He is steadfast and never gets too excited about anything. In short, he's the yin to my yang. He is, in many ways, the things I wish I could be.

Sometimes, when people are young, they look for all the wrong things in a partner. Sometimes they latch onto someone because they just want someone to love them. Sometimes they try to find themselves in a spouse. I don't think I had any extraordinary kind of wisdom back then, but I do think I am exceptionally lucky in my choice.

Jeremy and I have the kind of marriage that is built for growth. In fact, we both encourage each other to grow. We have always had some shared interests, but because of the distinct difference in our personalities, we've always been individuals as well. Becoming Mrs. Wilson never made me less Becky. If anything, it made me more confident in who I am.

I don't profess to know everything there is to know about marriage, but I have had some pretty good examples in my personal life. My parents were married for nearly 25 years when she passed. My in-laws were married for almost 40 years when he passed. My grandparents have been by each others side for over 60 years of marriage. So, I have seen a thing or two that seems to help lasting marriages. And, I have mentally noted many of these things.

What I do know is marriage isn't magic. It's a living thing that requires work from both participants for success. I think Disney and pop culture in general sometimes give us the wrong ideas about marriage. It's not going to fix you if you are broken, but a good spouse will be there to hold your hand and help you put the pieces back together. It's not going to be romance every day-- sweeping, grand gestures are best reserved for the once-in-a-while category. Your marriage isn't doomed if you argue or disagree. Honestly, I think your marriage might be doomed if you never disagree or make yourself into someone the other person wants you to be without regard for your own feelings. Life happens. People leave the toilet seat up, keys in the door or socks on the floor. Someone will get frustrated once in a while. But, instead of learning never to disagree, marriage is about learning to fight fairly. I guess meeting as members of the debate team helped out with this one.

I always laugh when couples think they love each other as much as they can on the day the marry. I truly hope that is not the case. The depth and breadth of the love I feel for Jeremy only grows with time. I truly thought I loved him with my whole heart back in 2004. Now I know that's just selling us short. As we age, we love each other more.The trials and tribulations of life just make us appreciate the beauty we have in our relationship.

There have been times in the last ten years when I waited for Jeremy to walk away--when I thought I was too much to handle or too broken for him to stand by my side. But, as he reminded me the other day, there's never been a day when he's not on my team, and really, when he isn't my biggest cheerleader. His patience seems to know no bounds.  There's a line in the song from our first dance that says "the hope I borrow is yours." It never stood out to me before we were married. Now, I know exactly what it means. I have borrowed his hope so many times and I think I might have even lent mine out a time or two for my husband.

At the end of the day, we're always in the other one's corner, giving them everything we have when a boost is needed. When you say the vows and you promise for better or for worse, most of us assume we'll see a lot of the "better." The reality is, a true test of a marriage is withstanding the "worse" and becoming stronger for it. The truth is that marriage is easy when everything's coming up roses. It gets so much harder when life throws every kind of trick possible in your path. Walking our path for the last ten years, I think it's fair to say we've faced, and continue to face, more than a few obstacles. But, we've grown together, stronger every day, because we know we're able to face tomorrow with a lighter burden to bear if we share it with one another.

We could spend so much time lamenting the fact that a decade later, there's still a hole precisely the size of a child in our family. We have our moments when we do. Some days are darker than others, especially when that hope is wearing thin from being borrowed so much. But, at the end of the day, I am grateful I have my husband. I am grateful for the imperfect life we have built together, for the silly and serious memories we have created over the last decade and the future memories we have yet to imagine. We're both committed to becoming parents, or at least following the path to parenthood as far as we can. In the coming months, I'll likely share some of the details of what is going to happen next for Team Baby Wilson and the new things I'm about to reluctantly learn. But, for now, for today, what I have is enough.  Happy anniversary, Jeremy. Thanks for holding my hand and my cherishing heart for the last ten years. Let's go for a hundred more.


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