Monday, December 13, 2010

Our Seventh Anniversary!

Today is a significant day for LT Wonderful and me. 

We are celebrating our seventh wedding anniversary!

I've often heard stories about how difficult the seventh year of marriage is, but I never really put much stock into it.  But for a hundred reasons; yet really just one, this year was our most difficult.  The reasons behind the difficulties are many little things-during the past year or so we have moved twice, changed jobs, changed lifestyles (Navy to civilian), we have a toddler, a four year old, we're adopting three more.  On top of that, we spent most of the last year anticipating this job in Korea, then had it postponed and extended several times. 

But those are mainly excuses.  The main reason this year was so difficult is that we stopped making our marriage a priority.  We let ourselves get bogged down with the details of our lives.  It wasn't a him or me thing, it was a him and me thing.  He got busy with work.  I got busy with the kids.  It was unintentional and avoidable.  I thought that nothing could ever happen to us but the truth is that no one is immune to problems.

We found ourselves thousands of miles apart with 16 hours of difference between us.  We weren't angry with each other, we just kind of stopped communicating.  We can come up with so many excuses but the bottom line is that we weren't putting each other first.  We weren't putting our relationship first.  We were trying to fit each other into our own lives and it wasn't working.  Some hurtful things were said and done and we were suffering. 

So we scrapped our best laid plans and met at home in Portland.  I'll be honest,  I didn't want to leave Nicaragua.  LT Wonderful was concerned about leaving the project in Korea.  But we both decided that it would be best to go home.  We needed to re-prioritize our lives and start putting each other first all the time.  

And that's what we did.  With family and friend support, we came home as a sign of our commitment to each other and our marriage.  We went on dates.  We talked.  We focused on reconnecting and having fun.  We communicated.  We started cleaning off  the bridges that had been neglected.  Once we felt like we were on the right track we left for Korea again, together.  

Once in Korea we continued focusing on our relationship.  After our personal relationship with God, our relationship is our top priority.  And I'm happy to say that the choices we've made and the work we've been putting into our relationship has paid off.  Amazingly, when we are both focusing 100% on each other, all of our individual needs are met.  When we start focusing even just a little bit on ourselves and not on the other person then we start to have problems.  It's a continual give and take, but I feel like we're on the right track. 

So this year; even more so than in the past years; we have something to celebrate.  

We fought back.  
We worked for our marriage.  
We are working on our marriage.

 It would have been much easier to stay in our separate worlds and let everything else take over.  

But we didn't.  

There were tears, hurt feelings and hard decisions.  But more that, now there is forgiveness, love, hope and a renewed commitment to each other and our family. 

So I'm going to take today and really enjoy it.  When we said for better or for worse seven years ago I know we meant it.  But now that we have lived through the worse of that better or worse I really feel like we're onto something.  

I was thinking about it last night.  I think love is like a tree.  It starts out pretty fragile but gains strength as it grows.  When it goes through a dry season it suffers.  But if you care for it and lovingly nurse it back to health, it grows stronger and more beautiful.  Trees are resilient.  So is love.  It just takes two people to work together to get a relationship healthy again.  Taking the metaphor one step farther (to perhaps gross territory, but whatever) when you throw crap on a tree it may stink for a while but it grows stronger than ever before.  It takes the nutrients that it needs out of the mess and uses it for growth. 

I think love is like that, too.  Sometimes life throws crap on your relationships.  Sometimes you throw crap on your relationships.  But if you can work together, learning how to do it better next time you really can grow.  Not just in spite of the crap, but amazingly, because of it!

Mark, Happy Anniversary!  I'm glad we've got the seven year stigma out of the way and can move on.  This year will be our best yet!  We've stopped throwing crap on each other and together we can grow stronger when life throws junk  our way.  There is no one out there that I'd rather be partnered with!  

I love you, Mark.  Now and forever. 


Britney said...

What a raw, honest, and beautiful post. COngratulations for making it this far, and for committing to love each other each and every day. xoxo

thecrowls said...

I so appreciate your vulnerability in your post. What a blessing your marriage is to your readers.

Cadovius said...

I know exactly what you mean hun! I love you! Congrat's to you and Mark for working on something that too many just throw away. I'm proud of you both!

Heather Carl said...

you know my i just want to say...i love you both, over the moon!