Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Here we are, six years in!

Ken and I - we are so very different. Six years of marriage means six years of finding out why that is a good thing. 

A few weeks ago, Ken got a soda stream. Which is amazing, but also funny because when we first got married  he couldn't stand sparkling water. In the past year, however, we've been consuming an excessive amount of La Croix, and he figured that a soda stream would keep us supplied with carbonated water at a lower cost. I marveled at this, how I would have probably never gotten one even as much as I like sparkling water (I am more of a I can live with it or live without person), but since Ken (being more of a if he loves it he needs to live with it kind of person) had slowly been convinced of the glory that is sparkling water, now I get to have one too. We've been having recent discussions about this, pointing out other examples where he was not on board with something I was enthusiastic about (apple picking, Halloween, throwing parties, etc.) but after being influenced over time and growing to love it too, his enthusiasm makes it all so much better...and more enjoyable because we get to do it as a team. I have so many passions and interests and Ken has incredible force of will, so if those things converge at any point, good things can happen.

It goes the other way too. He is my anchor, the one who reminds me to turn off the stove, pay the bills, plan for the future. He is practical and is super savy with a spreadsheet (yeah, I find that sexy). I wouldn't have settled down when I did if it wasn't for him and I definitely wouldn't have bought a house. 

The other day, as we were leaving a hotel room, Ken asked, "Do you have everything?" "Yes," I responded distractedly as I made my way to the door. He opened up the closet to double-check, "Your dress! Your slip!" Then he opened the mini fridge, "...and the breast milk, and pump parts." Then he found a bag with my shoes. He gave me a long meaningful look and I cheerfully responded with, "You know this is why I married you, right?"

After six years I think it is safe to posit that my roots have flourished because of him and that his sense of adventure has expanded because of me. Thank goodness for our dissimilarities, right ?

To celebrate our anniversary this past weekend, my MIL graciously offered to watch the girls for the night and booked us a hotel room, which was wonderful and exactly what we needed. We spent the time doing things that we both love doing and have in common - paddle boarding, getting good food and drink, and sleeping in.  

At year six, marriage means:

- REALLY appreciating being able to sleep in together.
- Watching each other become grown ups. I've known Ken since he was 18 so it is quite enjoyable to see how he is evolving. My favorite part is getting to watch how he parents two little girls.
- Knowing how to handle disagreements. Our recent house buying and renovating was an indicator of this - we have gotten better and listening and communicating even under a lot of stress.
- Being kind and respectful to each other in our words and actions as a way of saying, I hear youI treasure you, I love you.
- Sometimes I find myself irritated at him over something incredibly petty, but then somehow he can make that instantly dissolve with a joke, or a look, or a kind word, and I feel butterflies in my stomach again. What is this magic trick?!
- Fiercely protecting this marriage and life we are building together. The more years we rack up, the higher the stakes.

 I asked Ken to fill in the blank for the two statements below, and this is what he said. Take from his what you will.

At year six, marriage is: like the 24 year old that took 6 years to graduate undergrad. Took a little bit longer to learn certain things, yet the future is still bright.

At year six, being married to Christine means: I am the luckiest 6 year college graduate ever. 

I heard an episode of “This American Life” (called, “Choosing Wrong”) where the introduction is Ira Glass interviewing a man named Alain de Botton, author of articles with titles like "Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person", and "How We End Up Marrying the Wrong Person", and two books about love.
When he was asked what advice he would give people getting married, he said, “Be incredibly forgiving for the weird behavior that's going to start coming out. You will be very unhappy in lots of ways. Your partner will fail to understand you. If you're understood in maybe, I don't know, 60% of your soul by your partner, that's fantastic. Don't expect that it's going to be 100%. Of course you will be lonely. You will often be in despair. You will sometimes think it's the worst decision in your life. That's fine. That's not a sign your marriage has gone wrong. It's a sign that it's normal, it's on track. And many of the hopes that took you into the marriage will have to die in order for the marriage to continue. ...But in love, darkness is a real friend of relationships." 
De Botton writes, "[A good marriage] is not so much between two healthy people. There aren't many of those on the planet. It's one between two demented people who have had the skill or luck to find a non-threatening conscious accommodation between their relative insanities." The standard question on an early dinner date he says should be simply, "And how are you crazy?"
This rings true to me because my faith in redemption has allowed me to see that dark moments are often the predecessor of true transformation. Those dark times when I realize I am selfish, insecure, impatient, etc. often leads to struggle with those things and then ultimately to the repentance of those things. This leads to reconciliation with the God who protects me, with my partner who has sworn an oath, and just as important, with myself and who I want to be.

 it's funny how that happens. You are afraid you might lose yourself in marriage, but the joys of it, the difficulties of it, the in-your-faceness of it, does something good for developing your maturity and self-worth...to then make you a better partner and friend. 

And look, the past five years of anniversaries!!