I’ve been married 18 years as of last weekend. For some reason this year hit me. It just seems crazy that I’ve been married to the same man for 18 years. For a lot of people that seems perfectly normal. I mean after all you do get married to stay together forever, right? Apparently I’m not a lot of people.
I never expected to get married, let alone stay married. I sort of fell into it. So, when people ask me after all these years of marriage, “What’s the secret?”
I usually have no clue. I normally say, “It just works and we still like each other.”
Not very romantic or helpful, I know.
I always feel like I should say, “The moment I met him, I just knew we’d spend the rest of our lives together.” Sounds great, but I had no idea. When I first met him he kind of annoyed me.
I could go with, “We work at it and we never go to bed angry.” That doesn’t really fly because work seems like something you have to do or something that’s hard. You work to pay the bills or achieve a goal. Being married to Michael is not work, it takes effort, but that’s different. It feels like a natural state and we often go to bed angry.
There’s always the traditional, “We just love each other and I can’t imagine living my life without him.” But, that’s not entirely true either. Granted, we do love each other, that part seems to be very clear, but I have imagined my life without him. Things I would do differently, places I might live, the gorgeous men I would have romantic getaways with. Weird? Maybe, but I’d be lying if I said that I’ve never imagined my life without Michael. I have a very active imagination.
All of these thoughts make me feel unqualified to answer the “What’s the secret?” question. I want to tell people, “Yeah, I have no idea.” But after 18 years I should have some advice to impart. I’ve spent some time since last weekend thinking about this and here’s what I feel qualified to recommend based on my own experience. The secret if you will…
Make sure the person you choose to spend your life with makes you laugh…really laugh, pushes you to be better, listens to your unending chatter, tells you that you’re beautiful, wakes you up early just to spend more time with you, thinks you are sexy in a t-shirt, surprises you and most importantly cooks for you. Michael cooks for me and our children. It is hands down the most romantic thing on the planet.
Likewise make sure you make him laugh so hard he looks like a kid, listen even though you’re a better talker, hold him to a higher standard than anyone else, take your time when you kiss him, talk in bed so he’ll sleep in, touch his face. Most importantly make sure he knows that even though you have in fact imagined your life without him, even with all the incredible fantasies you can conjure up in your head, you choose to live your life with him, and only him, day after day. Until one morning you wake up and it’s been 18 years of something you can’t even begin to describe.
Maybe I never pictured myself married because never in a million years could I have imagined this.
I love you, Michael. Happy Anniversary.
That’s all from the laundry room. No socks.