Marriage is hard. The only thing harder, I’d say, is motherhood. No matter how prepared she thinks she is, a woman is completely ignorant to the ways of motherhood until it’s thrust upon her immediately after she gives birth to her long-awaited bundle and the doctor snips the umbilical cord. No doubt motherhood is a true baptism-by-fire type of situation, which is part of the reason it’s so incredibly challenging but also so dang rewarding; it’s bittersweet. On the other hand, a woman getting married is very aware of what she is getting herself into before she walks down the aisle, or at least who she is getting into it with. There has generally been a significant period of courtship, sharing new experiences as a couple, along with long, deep talks together before the two decide to spend the rest of their lives with each other in wedded bliss. And although it may seem like a woman knows her mate well before marriage, one thing she probably doesn’t account for is how they will both change over time. It’s the adaptation to change that makes successful marriages and the lack thereof that makes for trips to divorce court.
Tomorrow, Chris and I celebrate 11 years together as husband and wife, though we had a complicated history long before we said “I do.” So far during our married life, we’ve hit euphoric highs and devastating lows. We bought and sold our first home and purchased our second. We found our first cat, our first dog, our second dog, our first hamster, and God (again). We bought cars (and paid them off, too, like real grownups), transitioned smoothly from one job to the next, had our first baby, second baby, and third baby boy. We’ve experienced joy so profound we’ve cried. We witnessed 2 preschool graduations, 2 kindergarten graduations, and 1 First Communion. We became soccer parents, baseball parents, swim parents, hockey parents, and karate parents. We’ve taken a child to the ER 3 times, waited anxiously twice while two underwent ear tube surgery and another 2 times when one had a MRI and CT scan. We were the casuality of a layoff, started a business and closed it, and suffered severe financial difficulties. We’ve had fights so bad that at times we’ve considered giving up. We quit smoking, completed a mud run, urban race, and a half marathon, and found Bikram yoga.
Though some items on this list were personal achievements or disappointments, we’ve always managed to encourage one another to reach our goals and provide guidance during our low times. It’s because of this support, in part, that the other was successful. We have matured tremendously since we became newlyweds 11 years ago and continue to adapt as we go along, always changing, always learning new things about the other and realizing new discoveries about ourselves.
It’s been 11 years, and we have not only survived but thrived.
I look forward to everything the next 11 years together will bring, and even the 11 after that, and 11 after that, and 11 after that, too, if things are still really rockin’.