Today marks Shane’s and my fifth wedding anniversary. FIVE. Hard to believe it’s been half a decade since the two of us stood in front of our most favorite people on that California farm and promised to love each other for ever and ever. I remember the butterflies in my stomach that morning, as I realized I was just about to go through with one of the biggest decisions of my life. I remember the fun of getting my hair done with my mom and my girlfriends, and then the nervous rush to get my dress on and my makeup done and my veil placed ‘just so’. And then I remember the peace and the joy that I felt when I saw Shane waiting for me out on the lawn, and the assurance that came as we took a quiet moment to pray with each other before the flurry of the photos and the ceremony and the hellos to family and friends. That day was everything we wanted it to be – the perfect beginning to our new life together.
It’s not uncommon for people to refer to marriage as “hard work”. When Shane and I were dating, if I heard someone mention just how much it takes to maintain a good marriage, I always acknowledged those comments with a thoughtful nod and a murmur of agreement. But inwardly, I was thinking, “What can be so hard about spending your life with the person you love?” Marriage sounded pretty great – you always have a date on Friday nights, you get help with housework and bills and stuff of the daily grind, and at those times when you really need a back rub, there’s someone there to give it to you. And I was lucky – I had found a man that made me indescribably happy, someone who made me feel safe and loved and excited about the future. Five years into this grand adventure, I still won’t say it feels like work. But being close, truly doing life together, does take effort. Some days I fail miserably – like the other night, when I snapped at Shane after a long day because his schedule and priorities did not align exactly with what I had on my to-do list. But on other days I succeed at letting him know that he’s pretty damn special – I bake him muffins, or tell him that I’m so thankful for the man that is, or give him one of my for-Shane-only extra huge bear hugs and ask him to tell me about whatever is on his mind. Sometimes these expressions of love come easily, and sometimes I have to remind myself that I can’t let my investment in him be based solely on feelings. Even when I’m grumpy, he still needs affirmation. And hugs. So here’s to 50 more years of hugs, through the good times and the bad. And if the past five years are any indication of what’s to come, there are plenty of good times in store for us.