One year ago I married my best friend. It’s odd approaching this one year mark. It’s odd first because I can’t believe it has already been one year. So much has happened in a short period of time that I feel in some respects cheated out of this first year. In others, I feel the fast pace has been a blessing in disguise. Had we had time to stop and truly reflected on all we were going through at any given time during this first year, I’m not sure if there would have been a second. And truthfully, at times, it has been both our strong commitment to the sacrament of marriage that has sustained us during this first year. While our first year has been filled with amazing milestones and wonderful moments, even the good things like buying a home can cause conflict.
We started our life in what was a beautiful ceremony and awesome reception. And for those planning their weddings, I encourage you instead of the traditional “Single Ladies Only” dance, have a dance that is for ALL women present and follow it by an ALL man dance. It was one of the highlights of our wedding. The men loved doing it because what man doesn’t like to show off and the ladies loved it, getting to watch their man dance! It was awesome!
We followed with a surreal honeymoon blessed by God’s hands to the Caribbean. And I truly mean it was blessed by God’s hands or we would not have had one. As we arrived to our ship, a storm was moving out of our travel area and on our last day we raced ahead of a hurricane. The cruise schedule to go out the day we landed back in Florida was cancelled. Yet, our honeymoon was beautiful and filled with clear skies! We visited relaxing Labedee, Haiti (sadly hit hard by the hurricane the week after we were there), Falmouth, Jamaica were we had tea in a villa and (for the archaeologist in me) saw where true running water was first used almost 30 years before New York, Grand Cayman where we swamp with dolphins and held baby sea turtles and mainland off Cozemel, Mexico where I walked up and butt slide down a temple (so absolutely afraid of heights but the archaeologist had to do it). We were gifted with fun filled days at sea, one where I even made my own pineapple…well decorated a cupcake to look like one.
We came back to living apart for the first four months of our marriage. We were house hunting…anyone who has done this can understand how stressful that is. He lived in a two bedroom CRAMPED apartment and I had a business that I ran out of my home and, as my family and I are traditionalist, I believed until you are married, you live at home as a woman. We hadn’t figured it would take as long to find a home and had put in tons of offers and it didn’t make sense to move my business twice. So we spent four months…my husband, my stepson and I…going back and forth between places with nowhere to really plant roots.
Then his lease ran out. Financially, it made more sense for him to move in to his mother-in-law’s, my mother’s, than for us to get trapped in to a lease elsewhere. Anyone who has lived with in-laws knows that regardless of how good a relationship you have with them, which my husband and mom have a great relationship, it is really tough. And my mother and I have an awesome relationship, and I even felt it was tough. Again, nowhere to plant roots. Nowhere to really start learning what it was going to be like for our family and its unique dynamic.
I had health challenges that complicated issues and my working, which with us now having two household’s in one space, working my Mary Kay business became a challenge, which affects household budgets. Again, stressful on a health and financial front.
Not more than two weeks after my husband and son moved in, we entered escrow and excited that we would shortly have a home of our own, a place to grow as a family and figure us out. But it would be another 60 days before the house would become ours.
My husband’s ex-wife lost her job, which meant opening old wounds and multiple court dates and adding even more challenges to an already exacerbating situation. If anyone has been in a less than amicable divorce, I’m sure you know that sometimes one party or both can make things really difficult, even when they don’t have to be. For a brand new marriage, to have this animosity and uncertainty loaming around for months doesn’t help your new relationship either. Sadly and I truly do mean sadly, she still has not found employment and the uncertainty of her situation is disconcerting for all involved.
Then we got our home on May 1st and realized we would not be moving in as quickly as we thought. We love our home and were anxious to get moved in. But even the good things bring stress and challenges. What seemed like never ending tasks of repair and bringing the house up to move in and livable standards took 2 ½ months. So after 5 months of living with my mother (and no we didn’t mooch as we paid rent), two and half months of paying mortgage and rent, long days and nights, we moved into our home. Finally a chance to breathe…
The next month saw the start of our son’s sophomore year, which days were filled with registration, drop offs, homework complaining, back-to-school nights and butting heads. Speaking of our son, he has also brought his own challenges and stresses. First, he is a teenager and they inherently come with a prescription strength dose of stress and frustration. It’s in their manual. Now add to it trying to learn our new family dynamic and having a different level of expectations and level of acceptance for behavior, can make an already stressful situation boil over, no matter how much everyone loves everyone.
So our anniversary snuck up on us. One year. One year. It is hard to believe. One year. We are two people that love each other. We are two strong people. We are two independent people. We are two people that have considered spouse-icide on at least one occasion, but only for a split second. We are two people who don’t always like each other. We are two people who are not perfect.We are two people who choose to be together. We are two people who made a commitment…for better or for worse. We are two proud parents of an almost 16 year old who drives us nuts often, who we don’t always agree on how to handle him. We are two parents of cute little Yorkies and a Persian who we spoil. We are two people that feel comfortable enough to be ourselves around the other. We are two people learning to live together. We are two people who try. We are two people who make mistakes. We are two people who have hurt each other. We are two people who have said things we wish we had not. We are two people who ask for forgiveness and forgive. We are two people that make the other laugh. We are two people still learning the other. We are two people that still want to do things together. We are two people that support the other. We are two people who do not quit. We are two people who are friends. We are two people who would still choose the other, despite the stress, challenges and butting heads. We are two people who are celebrating their first year of many more as husband and wife. We are two people that love each other.
To my husband, Joe, may the next year not be as eventful.