Seven years ago, on a rainy day, I wed my best friend. It was the best day of my life, thus far, and I remember walking on cloud nine. It was the start of a new life, that of a married couple, that seemed like the natural progression of two strong individuals who loved one another.
If there’s anything I’ve learned it’s that you never stop learning. That, and we’ve successfully avoided the so-called “seven year itch.”
Ideally I would have written this post in time for it to go live on Monday, our 7th wedding anniversary, but as luck would have it I was utterly exhausted from Holy Week. It’s why there are no photos of me from Easter anywhere on social media. It’s been a marathon since last Wednesday, and after singing the Easter morning service (after the Holy Thursday service, the Good Friday service, and the 2+ hour Easter Vigil service on Saturday, plus all of the group rehearsals and my own private rehearsals at home) all I could do was peel off my Easter Sunday best and collapse on the couch. I almost forgot we got married during Lent, and judiciously waited two weeks to go on our Italian honeymoon to avoid the mayhem of masses at the Vatican at Easter.
It was so generous of Brian to be understanding and not ask anything of me. I took a nap (rare for me as I don’t like naps) and we had a quiet day at home, complete with an informal anniversary dinner the night before our actual anniversary. The next morning, on our wedding anniversary, I dropped him off at the airport for a business trip. Such is our life.
Cards aren’t our thing. Neither are flowers or gifts in general. We do things for each just because, and anything outside of that feels empty and loquacious. I find it more sincere to pen my thoughts in a long letter, or a blog post if you may. After all, this is a man who won me over with a Pablo Neruda poem posted on my MySpace wall :)
Without further ado, I’ve compiled a list of a few lessons I’ve learned these past seven years.
1. Sometimes the best thing you can do is not say anything at all.
The most hurtful things can sometimes be said in the heat of the moment. When you’re both so angry that you are grabbing at straws to make the other person either see things your way or make them angry because they are not seeing things your way.
Likewise, sometimes during the happiest moments, the best thing to say is nothing at all. The head of your loved one resting on your shoulder is all that needs to be said. And it’s the best thing ever.
2. Your spouse is not only your best friend but also your family.
Yes, scripture says a man will leave his family to start a new family. But until you are in the thick of it, you don’t realize its true meaning. This has been put to the test far too many times these seven years. In a true testament of love, my husband has put me above everyone else, time and time again.
3. Love constantly changes.
I’m not referring to loving your partner any less. Yes, love does change from the initial lust and butterflies that you experience shortly after those first few meetings. But love is more than just lust. Love turns into an emotional wanting. It also turns into an emotional haven. Wherever Brian and I may be…that is home. Even in a busy intersection or in the middle of a large crowd…one look at his face, or a simple embrace brings me home.
4. You are in this together.
Moving. New jobs. The purchase of a home. The birth of new friendships and the dimming of friendships. We go through it all together.
When one of you is in need of support, the other will be there to lend a hand or a shoulder to cry on. The cycle repeats itself beautifully. And each time it does, you feel blessed by this life partner and are thankful for them. And each time you wonder how you lucked out in finding them and how you convinced them to stick with you.
It still boggles my mind how he didn’t run for the hills.
5. Inner beauty outshines external beauty
They say beauty is fleeting. I agree, but not in the sense that we become less beautiful to our loved ones.
I am still madly in love with my husband, and attraction has not waned. However, I recently realized that when I look into his loving face, I don’t see his features. Instead, I see love. I see compassion. I see mischief. I also see a good sense of humor, intelligence, perseverance, affection, stability. None of these qualities are tangible; they can only be experienced.
The longer I am married to my husband, the less I see his features and the more I see his soul. And what a beautiful, generous soul it is.
Happy Anniversary, my love. Here’s to seven more.