Today, my best friend and I celebrate 10 years of marriage.
Looking at my Facebook “memories” today, I see our posts dedicated to one another over the past decade. They are cheerful and heart-felt statements full of love and joy over the formal union we created, in front of 100 of our closest friends and family, 10 years ago on this day.
But those social media posts featuring smiling faces and photos of the happy occasion that was our wedding day do not tell the story of the past 10 years.
The fact of the matter is that marriage is hard. It is hard work. Some days, it is joyful hard work. Other days it is: “I am so sick of you I don’t want to look at you another minute” work.
Some days, it is literally sitting in Adirondack chairs on the beach, holding hands and saying, “Who gets to do this? We get to do this.”
Other days, it is: “Please just leave the house and give me 30 minutes to myself because I can’t stand you right now!”
Some days, it is walking around in the fog in London together, feeling like you’re living out some fairy tale version of a romantic comedy.
Other days, it is: “Why, oh why, do you have to leave every. Single. Closet. And. Cupboard. Door. Open. Every. Single. Day. Of. My. Life. You. Drive. Me. Insane.”
Some days, it is randomly standing in the kitchen when one of your favorite songs comes on and you look at one another and, without saying a word, move closer together in an embrace that begins swaying to the music, and there you are, dancing in your kitchen, in your dirtiest yard work clothing with your hair up in a ponytail and your makeup dripping off, but feeling like this is the most perfect moment of your life.
Other days, it is: “You need to take a shower Right. Now. Because you stink like a pig farm.”
Some days, marriage is realizing, in September 2020, that you’ve survived six months of a global pandemic quarantine together, 24/7, and you still enjoy sitting together after work, looking out the window at the squirrels and birds, and making small talk or talking about nothing at all, and still feeling content.
Other days, it is, thinking, dramatically, to myself: “I cannot possibly live with another human being, especially one who snores so effing loudly, for another minute of my life.”
Some days, marriage is sitting side-by-side on the couch, each with an ipad in our lap and separate headphones on (because we like NONE of the same entertainment), but holding hands or snuggling just so we can be connected, even while enjoying our own taste in Netflix or Amazon Prime.
Other days, it is wondering how in the hell you ended up married to someone who does not see the comedic genius of Adam Sandler? Or Will Farrell? Seriously??? What is WRONG with my man?
Some days, marriage is watching your husband play with your grand nephews and the dog and thinking, “Aww…if only we’d gotten married earlier in life, he’d have made such as great father.”
Other days, marriage is: “OMFG…I NEVER EVER want to pick up another piece of dog poo in my life! Why am I on Dog Doo-Doo-Duty today, all day long, when I am trying to work full-time while my husband is out and about having fun, living the Retirement Life?” (And realizing, of course, that he has earned every single second of his fun-time after a 40-years-plus career of hard work and long hours…suck it up, Buttercup Patti…)
Some days, marriage is calling your husband at 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning in July to tell him, um, don’t be alarmed, but my sailboat didn’t make it to Mackinac Island because someone went overboard, and I now have one helluva story to tell for the rest of my life…and I know you were not planning to come to Mackinac Island because your work life is crazy busy and you are already over-scheduled, but in the past 24 hours, I’ve seen my life flash before my eyes and I need you to come to Mackinac Island STAT. And, of course, he does.
Other days, marriage is: How in the hell did I not marry a sailor who appreciates the wind in his face the way I do?
Some days, marriage is bursting into tears on the day of your big work event because you feel so much stress and pressure and calling your husband, who is 500 miles away and not expected back home for the big event and finding out that he is on his way, having juggled his work schedule just to be there for you.
Other days, marriage is: I appreciate you helping me with my work event, but you need to stop trying to take charge and you need to do things MY WAY or hit the HIGHWAY. 😉
But most of all, marriage is, as they say, being an imperfect person committed to another imperfect person and deciding to be that person’s rock and advocate every single day of your life. Some days one of you has more to give than the other. Some days one of you has nothing to give, but somehow, that ebb and flow of life and energy balances out so that hopefully, hopefully, at the end of any given day, everyone feels loved.
Dale and I could not be more opposite: I’m Positive-Pollyanna Patti, a glass half full gal, while he is Doomsday Dale, an Eeyore to beat all Eeyores, who is a glass half empty guy. I am Practical Patti, who is level-headed and a steady-Eddie, usually calm and pragmatic. He is Dramatic Dale, the Drama King of our family, second only to our dog, who takes after his father, in the most dramatic of ways. 😉
But, we are both solid, responsible people. He is a man who cares deeply for his family, his friends, and his community. He is beyond loyal and true. I try my best to let him know how much all of that is appreciated, though I’m sure I fall short on many, many days.
And yet, he still loves me.
Thank you for putting up with me and my cranky grumpiness. Thank you for letting me just “be me” and not having any expectations that I would ever be a “traditional wife” because I am none of those things. Thank you for being the Chief Cook and Bottle Washer in our home, and for being the Best Dog Dad ever. Thank you for being the Chief Financial Officer and caring for our long-term outlook on life.
So, on this 28th day of July, I am so happy to be celebrating not just 10 years of marriage, but 18 years of “togetherness” as a couple, and 38 years of friendship with my husband, the very best friend I’ve ever had.
Marriage is hard, yes, indeed, it is. But it is also laughter and shared history and life experiences. Some days it is taking too much and giving too little, and other days it is giving more than you ever thought you had to give and receiving nothing in return…until it really matters.
Thank you for being the perfect “imperfect person” to match my own “imperfectness.”
I love you. Happy 10th anniversary.