Yesterday was our tenth wedding anniversary. We had a pretty low-key celebration. Lori came over to watch the boys, and we went out to dinner and a movie. We hardly ever get to go out alone, so despite the un-special-sounding activities, it was pretty special for us. I think the last time we were out alone, aside from the trip out west for the Knighthawks championship, was when we got our taxes done. And before that...who knows? Even our dinner destination (Texas Roadhouse) was unimpressive, but we'd never been there before and the rolls were well worth it! We're not really foodies (particularly since I don't have a sense of taste, and Craig doesn't like fancy foods), so it doesn't make a lot of sense to go somewhere expensive. We also went on the cheap for our movie, but that was only because the movie we most wanted to see was only out at the cheap theater. We saw "42", the Jackie Robinson story, and it was awesome. Well, aside from the painfully uncomfortable string of racial slurs, anyway. Fantastic story, plenty of laughs, and some enjoyable acting. It was a nice night out, though, and it was fun to reconnect like that. We didn't really exchange gifts, though he did get me flowers and I ended up buying him a new door knob for our bedroom door, one with a lock, after a rather frustrating morning this morning with a little boy who would not stay out! And in case you're wondering, this is a proactive move to prevent awkward moments down the road, not something in response to any actual traumatic moments...thank goodness!
Being married for ten years is definitely something to celebrate in this day and age. It's a little mind-blowing, actually. Ten years ago, ten years seemed huge. And while it is, we've just sort of done our thing along the way. While we've had periods of time where I'm sure we weren't the happiest with each other, we've never had a hardcore fight that would ever make us question the future of our marriage.
While we haven't had to work hard at our marriage, I do realize now more than ever that marriages do take work. It doesn't have to be drudgery, but you need to put forth an effort. You have to pay attention to making sure your spouse's needs are met, while also ensuring that yours are met enough to not grow resentful. You have to be aware of how your spouse changes over the years and make sure that you can meet the needs they have now, not just the needs they had the day you said, "I do." I'm sure that coping with those changes is one of the reasons that couples get divorced. And I'm sure that the burden of meeting someone else's needs in addition to your own can be overwhelming for some people. Making sure that you maintain the fun is huge, as well. I think that may be where we've struggled, if anything, particularly with the addition of two kids on top of full time jobs that already took up plenty of our time. We're definitely stuck in our roles of Mom and Dad in the morning and evening, and by the time the kids are in bed and we can go back to Husband and Wife, we're both so tired that interacting in any meaningful way isn't easy. I worry when I realize days have gone by and I've forgotten to chat with Craig about something, but I know why it happens. We both have a lot on our minds, and at the end of the day we just want to shut down and lose ourselves in our technology of choice. It's a slippery slope that I think a lot of people get into, but I think we've done pretty well in trying to recognize when it's happening and refocus on each other for a bit. And sometimes it does take a tense discussion to break through the haze on either side and make our needs more obvious, but I don't think there's anything wrong with that either...as long as once it happens the communication is clear and the response is appropriate.
I often think of my wedding ring as a metaphor for all of this. My ring is beautiful. It was exactly what I wanted and I've always loved it. There have been times along the way that I've questioned my choice of gold over a white gold/platinum setting, since I wear mostly silver and it often looks richer, but the gold makes it stand out from my normal jewelry and I know that something like platinum wasn't really a financial option at the time. I love the look of the wedding ring wrap I picked out (after looking at SO many), but I get mad at myself when I notice that it has gotten dirty. It's such a beautiful ring and I hate when I don't take care of it like I should. But once I clean it and it's sparkling, it's so gorgeous and I fall in love with it all over again.
Similarly, I was confident on my wedding day that I had made the right decision. I was head over heels in love and was marrying a sweet, funny, loving man who I could see myself growing old with. Along the way there have been moments when I wish I could tweak things, or that Craig possessed certain characteristics that I didn't realize I'd value (like, say, the handyman gene). But I know that there were a million other reasons why I chose him, so little things here and there shouldn't bother me. There are times when I neglect us, or forget to pay attention to Craig's needs or our needs as a couple (hello, life with a newborn), but once I realize it and make the effort, it feels great to reconnect and remember why we had such a great connection in the first place.
We've both changed over the years, and parenthood has been quite a ride. I think it's made things a little tougher because we often neglect each other while trying to focus on the kids, but I think it's also added a different dimension to our marriage. It's great to see that other side of someone and watch them embrace a tough role like that. It doesn't mean that it's easy to balance tasks and find your respective strengths, but it's all a learning process...so as long as you're willing to learn, you should be safe.
We still have a long way to go to equal our parents, but these first ten years are a big step in the right direction. We've had a blast so far and I hope that with two growing kids, things will only get to be more fun. I'm proud of us and proud of the two little boys we've created. Our night out last night may have been a far cry from the elegance and well-planned nature of our day ten years ago, but I think both events were well-suited to the people we were at each moment. We've grown and changed over the years, but our love has remained strong. Thank God for that. I know it's a day late, but Happy Anniversary, Craig! Time to start the journey of our next ten years...I'm definitely looking forward to the ride.