November 12 marked our fourth wedding. That’s 48 months of wedded bliss. That morning, I told him “Happy anniversary, babe!” and he responded simply, “My condolences.” (It’s a running joke between us that I got the raw end of the stick when I married him and that he hit the absolute jackpot. Let’s be serious, it’s the truth.)
Marriages often are judged by time; how many years it has lasted or how many years before it failed. But I prefer to gauge the strength of our marriage and the beauty of our story by the significant life events we have experienced, we have weathered, together. Maybe the real measure is two kids, three houses and four jobs. It’s how we spent the bulk of our first year of marriage apart while my husband helped get a friend elected to Congress; it’s the recovery period when we lose a close election. It’s raising two young boys together, while juggling demanding careers and pursuing new ventures. It’s finding time together to rekindle what can be easily lost in the day-to-day negotiations of life as parents, partners, friends. It’s loving each other as we grow, change and more clearly define who we are, often relearning who the other person is now.
The honeymoon stage is over. We have ushered in a season of grueling, gut-wrenching, glorious love. This is the truest form of love I’ve ever know. My patient husband can only take so much of my crazy and I often push him to the breaking point, maybe intentionally sometimes because I just want to fight (Don’t judge. You do it, too), yet he is patient anyway. I can be mean and take the actions of others out on him, yet he is kind anyway. He never gets jealous, but I sure wish he would. I mean, that’s supposed to be adorable. He boasts for me, champions me, celebrates me, yet does not tell others of the ridiculously generous things he does (and gets mad if I tell anyone. Tough luck, dude). He keeps no record of my wrongs, never gives up on me and has endured with me, with our family, in a way that demonstrates to me he will never fail us.
So no, I don’t have the early stage of marriage emoji heart eyes all the time. That’s because I’m too busy engaging in the richest, deepest, most intimate relationship of my life. The depth of his love, his support, his grace, his perseverance gives me the wings I need to soar.
The honeymoon stage may be over but I could not be more certain about the decision I made, we made, four years ago.