18 years ago today, two kids got married.
We had been together three and a half years and had been living together for a year an a half. The Hubs had been in the Secret Service for almost two years and I had had two different jobs in the past 20 months that we were living in DC. We had already changed apartments, figured out what the hell 401Ks were and thought we were bonafide adults.
When we got married, we were the first in our crew to do so. We had a gorgeous Catholic mass complete with all the trappings: escorts down the aisle, a veil, and family and friends blowing bubbles as we left the church. I was completely calm and collected on my wedding day- there was no doubt in my mind I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing with my life.
Our reception had over 200 people in attendance, great food and an open bar. The party was epic and included a school bus, grandfathers dressed up as the Village People and hours and hours of dancing. The party officially ended at 11, but the after party was still going on at 3 am when my father finally ordered Pete and I to go to bed because we had to be up for the post-wedding brunch the next day. 😉
We were two kids with the world at our fingers tips, promising each other forever in front of God, family and friends.
It’s still one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Over the past 18 years, those kids grew up. We moved a handful of times, adding two kids, three cats and a dog to our crew. We battled infertility, dealt with job loss and said goodbye to friends and family that left us too soon.
There were a few times over these past 18 years that I wondered if marrying the Hubs was the biggest mistake of my life. Times where I looked at real estate listings, wondering what house I could afford on my own for the kids and myself. Times I laid in bed next to this man I promised my love to, wondering what in the world I was thinking when I said “I do” all those years ago.
It seems cliche to say that marriage is hard work…as well as slightly dishonest. I don’t consider my marriage hard work, but our marriage is something we have to work at. We need to remember to prioritize each other, to talk to each other about the things that matter, and to love each other through the rough spots. Sometimes my marriage is a feeling of completely contentment and sometimes it’s a decision I make daily to forge ahead with, and make things work.
Thankfully those hard times are completely overwhelmed by all the times I can’t stop grinning, so very glad this messy, loud, chaotic life is mine. Times when I am so very grateful at all the happiness around me and this life we built together.
So, if I could tell those sweet kids getting ready to start the biggest chapter of their lives anything, here is what I would tell them:
- Happily ever afters don’t just happen – they are attainable, but you better be ready to work for them!
- Don’t underestimate the power of a date night.
- Therapy is a God-send, don’t be afraid of it.
- Change is good – just because it’s scary doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a leap.
- Money comes and money goes – stay on budget, keep talking and have faith.
- Friends – individual and couple friends- are essentials as is time to develop your own passions.
- Find things that bring you together – a love of movies, history, travel, whatever- just make it yours.
- It’s OK to go to bed angry, sometimes you need time to cool off. But don’t let things fester even if the conversation is hard and uncomfortable.
- Figure out your damn love languages – it’ll help a lot!
Here’s to many more years of a happy, happy life!