Ten years ago I married my best friend.
OK, got that cheesiness out-of-the-way.
It’s mine and Lis’ 10th anniversary and it couldn’t have come at a more difficult time. It’s right smack dab in the middle of the final week of Relay For Life preparations (and if you all want to help me reach my goal of $1K then please click here. Much appreciated!), trying to finish up the last of the school’s newsletters and it comes when I’m attempting to make my month – business-wise. Way to plan Kevin and Lis!
But alas, this is what marriage is all about! It’s not easy. It’s ever-changing (worst excuse I hear when I hear about separations, “They changed!” No s#!t! Everyone changes! Were you the same 10 years ago? Um…probably not! You just have to learn to change together!). It’s about patience. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s taken for granted. And most of all it’s a commitment.
Nowadays we make commitments and are quick to get out of them … because they don’t please me. I’m not getting what I wanted out of it, so peace, I’m out!
If you have that attitude you shouldn’t be married, because marriage is never about taken care of yourself first.
It’s unfortunate that nowadays 10 years is looked at like a HUGE milestone. Since I’m a sports fan I’ll use the analogy of a 20-game winner in baseball. It happens frequently (maybe once, or if we’re lucky twice, a year), but not as often as it once did.
And when I tell people my parents have been married for 35-plus years people look at it like baseball fans look at 300 wins. A number reached by past generations but something our generation may never see. Yes, my parents are Greg Maddux, just not as dull.
My grandparents? They are at 56 years and counting … easy comparison to baseball fans would be 56. A record that may never be reached.
OK … I’ll get off my marriage soapbox.
Note: We’re not perfect! Nobody is perfect and nobody’s marriage is perfect! Nor will it ever be! We just both realize that it takes a lot of hard work, communication, forgiveness and love to make this commitment last. And we’re willing to work on it.
We’ve had our ups and downs and ups and downs, just as much as any other couple. Trust me, we’ve all gone through similar situations but we forgive and try to forget and we move on because we made a commitment and vowed these vows – even if they were in Portuguese.
Rather than write about how lovely my wife is, how wonderful a mother she is to our kids, and how I’m blessed to have found someone who shares in the old school way of building a family, I thought I would honor our 10th anniversary by looking at those vows most of us said and most of us take for granted, and see how we’ve done in regards to that.
“To have and to hold”
We’ve had three kids … there has been having!
There have been times that we are passionately in love and there are times where we sleep as far away as we can from each other (though still in the same bed).
There are times when we laugh and have fun together and there are times where we are so upset with each other that we ignore each other for a day or two (this is a good thing, as I married the perfect person to counter my anger management issues. She doesn’t throw flames onto the fire, she simply walks away – for a day or two).
There are times we lay down together on the couch to watch a movie and there are times though where I don’t feel like holding her sweaty hands, or she doesn’t really want to snuggle with me because I sound like a lumberjack in the middle of the Redwood Forest.
And there are times that she doesn’t want to do anything (and there’s been one time where I didn’t), but physically (like boom-boom physically) our marriage is better than it’s ever been, so for those of you that gave up early … you’re missing out! It’s not just what you do and how you do it (though it’s part of it) but the connection you feel as you get older that makes it so much better!
“For better, for worse”
Better … living in Brazil and teaching English. Watching and attempting to know how to raise three kids. Continuing to laugh at each other’s jokes and dorkiness. Golf courses! Long talks on Skype from opposite sides of the Hemisphere. Still pinching her butt while she washes dishes. Getting older together. And again continuing to laugh at each other!
Worse … dealing with stressful work situations, anger issues that led to filling up holes in the wall, tough financial situations and more that have thankfully disappeared from my thoughts as I write this.
“For richer, for poorer”
We’ve never been “rich,” except for our love for each other (Cheesy? Maybe!). There was a brief time when we were a two-income household and were able to pay cash for a nice couch (ooohh!), but the cancer put the kabosh on that. When I was working one job we (mostly Lis, since it’s in my blood to spend the money we have) were able to save and buy a house. But now …
Lis stuck by my decision (I should say our decision) to quit my decent-paying insurance gig (with benefits) and start my own agency (without benefits) from scratch. Poor … if you call a $172 paycheck last month poor then you might say that. It may be stressful at times but we stick by the decision and continue to fight so that we can get back to that “for richer” part.
“In sickness and in health”
Not quite two years into our marriage Lis was diagnosed with leukemia. This whole “in sickness and in health” thing was quickly tested. She battled and she won (though I don’t want it to sound easy, there were at least two close calls where I wondered if we’d jump to the “Till death do us part” part), and she continues to win. It changed our lives real fast, for the better and forever. If we can beat cancer than we can beat the $172 paycheck, the stress from wacky ex-employers and the frustration of putting three kids to bed at the same time.
I told Lis last night as we talked about the upcoming Relay For Life (donate here) and about being a Caregiver. I never thought of myself as a Caregiver, and still don’t. I was a husband that made a vow to love her “in sickness and in health”.
“To love and to cherish”
As mentioned above, we’ve loved and cherished even when we didn’t love and cherish. There are nights where we are so upset with each other that we don’t really want to say those three little words before we fall asleep. But alas, we do.
There are times where I don’t love her as much as I did the day we got married (she was smokin’) and I know there are times when she doesn’t cherish me as much as she did the day we got married.
Every day is different. There’s a week of incredible “movie love” and then there’s a week of “blah love you FINE!” but we continue to love and find new ways of loving.
As I mentioned above it’s a work in progress … every friggin’ part of it!
“Till death do us part”