Two weeks ago, we went away for the weekend on a spontaneous beach trip to Lake Michigan. Who takes a beach vacation on Lake Michigan? Probably not most people, but my husband and I do. And you know, it was lovely. It was an anniversary trip of sorts, but more than anything, it was an opportunity to re-connect and re-center our lives with each other. During the trip, we had a short conversation about how much better this little three-day getaway was than our honeymoon when we got out of the country for an entire week. How, really, nearly every trip we’ve taken together after our honeymoon was better than our honeymoon. I’m not going to bother recounting the details about our honeymoon other than to say it just was not what we expected. It wasn’t horrible, we had fun after we adjusted to our expectations not being met, but it just wasn’t great. I don’t think we knew who we were as a couple quite yet—even though we’d been together nearly three years. Marriage isn’t a walk in the park, and, looking back on that honeymoon five years later, maybe it is kind of an insane tradition to do something like that—take a monumental trip that uses up a lot of money—and expect it to be the best time of your life. Good for you if it was, it just wasn’t what we had in mind at the time. Maybe it was because we hadn’t been together longer when we got married, maybe not.
Anyway. This little weekend getaway the other week was blissful. It was a spur of the moment kind of thing we decided we were doing the week before the trip. This five year trip, which was a heck of a lot more affordable than our honeymoon, held so much more meaning for me (I can’t speak for the man) than our honeymoon did. We knew how to sit on the beach without saying anything together. We knew when one of us was sick of sitting on the beach and not saying anything. We knew when it was time for us to find some food before we got cranky with each other, we knew what to wear to dinner, where to go for our meals—and then we learned where we won’t go out to eat again (we’ve sworn off fancy places for good. Forever. No more. We aren’t those kinds of people.). We just knew each other’s cues and quirks and all that made for such a fun and memorable experience. And I’m so thankful we’ve found ourselves here after five years (really, 8 if you want to get technical).
Mostly, I’m thankful for a partner who has put up with my insanity full-time for five years. And with respect to that, I’m going to do one of my favorite things: make a list about why I love this guy so much.
1. He cooks. He likes to cook. He cooks well. When I was teaching and doing, well, nothing else, Mike cooked for us. Nearly every week. He does it when i don’t feel like it--which, actually, is more often than he doesn’t feel like it. There;s nothing better than not having to worry what we are going to be eating because he took care of it when I couldn’t take care of it or just didn’t feel like it.
2. He has always supported me. In everything. Every single thing I’ve ever done. And when I look back at all the time we’ve spent together, he’s been really on one-track with his career and life--and I’ve been, well, all over the place. He’s never one to tell me I can’t do something or that it’d be better for us if I didn’t, and I can’t appreciate that more when I see other couples who function in the opposite way. It wouldn’t work for me. He is a strong supporter of my independence--and his independence from me. It’s healthy.
3. He didn’t care that I didn’t change my name. People I don’t even know care about it.
4. He’s good at arguing with me. We never have knock-down, drag-out fights. We aren’t yellers much either. But he’s spent time arguing with me and has learned to do it in a way that is, really, rather effective when I try to be open to it. I’m extremely non-confrontational and passive-aggressive, and once he recognized that, he learned how to pull me out of my silence. I’m learning to talk and try to address things before they become issues.
5. See #4. He brings out the best in me.
6. He often jokingly sings “She’s a lady” when I’m not being the socially-accepted picture of a lady. Which is rather often.
7. He got passionate about his health and fitness. I never, ever imagined in a million trillion years that I would EVER have been standing at the finish line and watching him finish a marathon. But there I stood at the finish last fall, feeling really proud and awed. Because while I was, for most of our relationship, the one who worked out and ran, I have no desire in my body to run a marathon. I am so glad I got to share the moment he finished with him.
8. He has always known when I’m about to meltdown and when I need him to just stop and give me love. I always wanted to be with someone who would run after me if I ran--who wouldn’t let me cry alone, and I never, ever fall apart alone.
9. He watches the admittedly crappy things I like to watch (on the rare occasion I am actually watching something these days).
10. He tries to be interested in the things I love--he’s listening to an audio book right now because I told him to, so now we get to excitedly talk about it.
11. He loves our furry flock of fools. All four of them.
12. He’s never trying to uphold the ridiculous male stereotypes. He has feelings, he’s not afraid to talk about them, and he openly shares with people the things he loves and doesn’t. I love that so much about him.
13. He apologizes. Always.
14. He’s always my biggest fan and gets excited about things I get excited about. He opened my admission letter to grad school and jumped and down with me on the sidewalk in the middle of my college campus when we read that I got in. He toasted a piece of brownie with me over my acquisition of my wonderful agent for my novel--and has listened to me state my disbelief over my dreams becoming reality at least once a day since. He cheers with me when Herbie remembers to get his toys from the yard. Getting excited about good things is something that isn’t quite as great without other people to share in the joy.
15. He’s really balanced me out. There’s too much to say here, but he’ll know what it means.
I could keep going, but 15 things for a 5 year anniversary is enough I think.
Babe, I love you. I love our life together. I’m so thankful we spent that rough honeymoon together so we could have that Michigan trip the other week. Happy, happy anniversary!
And will this matter when I’m dead? Duh.