While I am not a huge fan of most reality TV, I have on occasion watched it, including “Say Yes to the Dress.” I understand the sentiment of wanting to find the so-called perfect dress for your so-called perfect day. But something about the show just rubs me the wrong way. It’s the way it emphasizes the importance of having a wedding over the work of being married. That one day is just a tiny pebble in a huge mountain terrain.
Today my husband and I are celebrating our thirtieth wedding anniversary.
I often can’t even believe it. I was only 21 when we met. Married at 23. I was so young. So naive about what being married meant. At 14, I had watched my parents’ marriage end, seemingly out of nowhere. Obviously, it wasn’t out of nowhere, but they had kept the unraveling away from us and I was a typical self-absorbed teen so my radar was mostly focused on my own little world of friends and school.
Because it felt like their divorce came out nowhere, I entered my own marriage with this nagging belief tugging at me: that my marriage would inevitably end at some point. Finally, (about 14 years into my own marriage) during a session, my therapist said something to this effect: “I don’t know how you did it, but you managed to find the right person for you at a very young age. That’s not why you’re here.”
I felt such a huge relief wash through me. I knew that she was not a psychic and I knew her observation didn’t guarantee marital stability but having a professional give me permission to let that nagging worry go was freeing.
Many friends look at our marriage and marvel at how we do it. Like we have a secret that we won’t share. I honestly don’t know exactly how and why we work.
I do know that he has always supported me in anything I have wanted to do whether it was insisting that I use the bonus he had just received to go to a writing retreat while he stayed home for a week with our two young daughters or encouraging me to become a yoga teacher, reassuring me that we could indeed afford it.
I do know that we both encourage each other to have lives of our own, understanding that we can’t be everything to each other. We’ve taken separate vacations so he can do car stuff and I can go with girlfriends or attend writing and yoga retreats.
I do know that he always has my back. That the welfare of me and our daughters is always his priority.
I do know that he lets SO many things just roll off his back like when I am cranky or afraid and take it out on him.
I do know that I try to show him that same support and acceptance that he shows me.
I do know that he makes me want to be a better version of myself.
I do know that instead of saying yes to an extravagant dress, we said yes to our marriage.
And we continue to say yes to our marriage, to our family and to each other every single day.