In for the long haul

25 Apr
The thought of love has been on my mind, not because I am a romantic person.  I’m not, I don’t even enjoy celebrating anniversary’s.  I say skip it and do the ‘just because.’  My girls wanted to see the opera house where we got married.  It’s hard to believe we have been married close to ten years. 
 
Marriage is an odd union when you break it down.  You make a promise, a vow to spend the rest of your life with this one person.  And chances are both of you will change drastically over the years.  If you grow and evolve, congrats it’s the natural order of life to change.  You make this grand statement in front of family, friends and odd onlookers you invited to buy dinner at the event.  You dance and drink and accept gifts and then fly off to commemorate the occasion on your honeymoon.  It’s radical explaining this to my five-year old when she looked terrified and asked me “do I have to get married?”  I’m so lucky to have a precocious daughter who finds everything fascinating.  Once when I explained the tooth fairy to her, she burst into tears.  I thought perhaps I explained it improperly.  I asked what was wrong to which she responded “I don’t want a giant woman with wings taking my teeth.  I don’t want her touching my pillow while I’m sleeping.”  Marriage is another ritual that we celebrate that feels right but makes little sense sometimes. 
 
I count myself as extremely lucky when it comes to marriage.  When I first met Mike, he said to me “I don’t know why but I am crazy about you.”  I was young and blunt and told him when he figured it out to give me a call.  I never expected to hear from him and I never anticipated falling in love with such an amazing man. 
 
I am not going to paint the union seemless.  There have been rough patches that lasted for a few miles.  For the most part though when my friends ask how we make it look so easy, I laugh and shrug.  I believe in the adage ‘an unexamined life is not worth living,’ so I examine the shit out of my shit.  I look it over, analyze it and then pay for therapy:)  I think we work because we genuinely like who the other person is.  I still get excited when Mike is nearing the end of his commute and calls me to tell me he’ll be home soon.  I still believe Mike is the funniest person I have ever met, and nothing feels quite real until I relay the day’s activities with him. 
 
I have embraced change over the years and Mike pushes against it.  I once put our house up for sale when he was at work.  I told him there was no harm in seeing if we had any offers.  We sold our house in two days and now live in an old home that we both adore.  I cringe every time Mike tells this story to new friends, but know that we have pushed one another outside of our comfort zones.  This chemistry would most likely not work with other couples, we are gut wrenching honest and in the moment with one another.  
 
He is the most supportive person in my life.  He stood by me years ago when I began the uphill battle to become sober.  Now that I am seven years without drinking we can laugh about the struggles, but I would not have had the courage without him.  Last year when I signed up for the marathon I asked him if he would come and watch me run.  He laughed and said I’ll run the last couple of miles with you.  I said “Mike, there are 50,ooo people running it, you may not find me.”  He looked at me and said “I’ll aways find you.”  I saw Mike four times throughout the race.  At one point he jumped in and ran a few miles with me and then had to jump out to go to the bathroom.  I was in quite a bit of pain and begged him not to leave.  He just told me he would find me again and not to worry.  Sure enough two miles later I spotted my 6 foot four-inch husband in the sea of people carrying drinks and running to catch up with me.  He made me laugh even when I thought I could not physically run another step.  He finished the race with me sipping iced tea.  I recently had a frame engraved with a marathon photo, it reads ‘WTF-WE did it!’  
 
I think we work because we consistently show up to do the work.  More than mutual love and respect, we like the people we have become.  Perhaps I am this person because he always goes the distance with me.  I know marriage is so much more than a day, than a celebration; it’s endurance and strength.
 
Today I vow to love Mike in spite of his insistence that every person loves Hall and Oates.  I will forge ahead even though he bobs his head to that damn ‘Live with Darryl Hall” show and sings ‘private eyes’ while stretching in the living room.
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