Today is the fourth anniversary of my marriage to my wife and, today, I am thankful for her.
I wasn’t a huge fan of marriage before I proposed to Sandra. I was happy when other people found happiness in marriage, but just couldn’t see it working out for me. I had seen too many people fall in love and then watched it end in divorce and, sometimes, bitter hate. I had worked professionally with people who could no longer stand to be in the same room with each other and had devoted themselves obsessively to making their ex-partner’s life as miserable as possible, and their children were caught in the cross-fire. When those people got married, they no doubt believed it would last forever. Who was I to think I was exempt from the power of time to erode our illusions?
The simple fact is people change over time. Right now, yes, I can spend the rest of my life with this person, but what if she’s not the same person in 10 years? What if I’m not the person I am now? Sandra believed marriage was forever and, if I wanted to commit to her, I also had to commit to that ideology. I’m not a big risk taker: with so many “what ifs,” I was wary of taking the plunge.
It occurred to me, though, that life is filled with the unexpected. Sandra put a lot of stock in marriage: she saw it as a key to her happiness, and it wasn’t sufficient just to “be” together. Maybe I would get hit by a bus tomorrow and I would have missed out on the opportunity of making her happy, and sharing in that happiness. The point is that we never know what the future will bring, so why allow it to enter into the equation?
The proposal wasn’t easy. I forgot the ring for one thing. Not a good start. Then the weekend was filled with all the sorts of hurdles that made it not the weekend to propose, because it simply was not going to be perfect. But then I realized that nothing in our lives has gone perfectly. If anything, our first year together was a complete disaster, filled with one mishap after another. In that sense, it was the perfect weekend to propose: imperfection – a microcosm of our entire relationship. Why not share imperfection and fight misfortune together?
When I said “I Do,” I was committing to loving Sandra for the rest of my life, and that was a committment I knew I could keep, regardless of what the future had in store for us.
Four years later, I can say that marriage has become easier with each year, and I feel more love for Sandra with each passing day. Does she drive me nuts? Sure. More than anyone I know. But I feel joy when I know that I have the privilege of spending my life with a truly marvelous woman and phenomenal supermom; someone I love and — more meaningfully — trust; someone who still loves me even when I am at my worst.