Today is my anniversary. 16 years. Amazing. We were kids, literally, when we got married. Both of us still in college, both of us just starting our careers.
When I think back, I wonder what we were thinking. How did we know, “This is the one?”
My groom, a 22-year-old adorable, hot guy, was extremely romantic way back then. He used to talk about feeling an amazing ball of light when he was with me. He was convinced that we were made for each other. (And back then he didn’t believe in soul mates like I did — and do.) I have to agree. There was and still is something between us. Maybe it was chemical. Maybe it was psychological. Who knows? He was right, though. We’ve grown so much over the years, but didn’t grow apart. Instead, we just grew closer. We have stayed true to our vows, too:
I, Karen, take you, Chris to be my husband.
I promise to be true to you (One rule — we never lie or keep secrets, even if we’ve done something stupid like taking a photo of a hot, half-naked guy on a bike to email to friends.)
in good times (Having our babies and watching them grow and succeed, going to Disney, hanging out with friends on the boat, game night, family parties, family game night, graduating from NYU, getting a new job, sitting on the beach, touching each other and still feeling the spark even after all these years…the list goes on and on)
and in bad (Losing two babies, fighting, burying our pets, losing his grandmother, fighting with and losing touch with good friends, only having enough money — in the beginning — to pay the bills, watching our children struggle, family disagreements, family illnesses and emergencies, tough parenting issues)
in sickness (His five operations and two-year illness, my shyness and self-esteem issues, my miscarriages, my autoimmune stuff)
and in health. (Me running 5Ks and a 10K, working out together, his recovery from the operations)
I will love you (it’s always there — that ball of light
and honor you (I do, even though sometimes we disagree and I completely ignore his opinion, knowing that he will love me anyway)
all the days of my life. (fingers crossed — forever)
The secret, I think, is that we give each other plenty of space. He’s fine with my yoga and exercise, with me going out with my friends. I’m fine with him burying his head in the computer for hours and going away with his friends on the boat or skiing or going out for a hockey game, a concert, or a drink. (Sheesh, sounds like his friends are more exciting than mine!) We disagree. Heartily. And yet we still love each other. And he’s patient and kind — more than I am, actually.
We’ve accepted that I’m the money chick and he’s the fix-it man. That sometimes we both need each other to see the big picture. And that saying sorry is something that’s right and necessary.
I know there are plenty of people who go 16, 20, 25 years and see their marriages fall apart. I am not naive. I know that it could happen to us if we don’t work at it. But I guess the good news is that both of us are still willing to work at it. And that’s a beautiful thing.