My husband knows me better than I know him.
This is just a fact in our marriage. And while I’m working very hard to change this, it’s still a reality. It’s not as though I don’t pay attention (I do!) It’s not as though I don’t care (I do!) It’s just that he’s really intuitive. He knows what bugs me, what scares me, what makes me cry and what warms my heart. He can read my mind (scary) and he knows me better than anyone else on Earth. He always has.
We celebrated our 15th anniversary last week in New York City while my folks watched our girls. We did all the things we both love to do: sleep in, go for long walks, catch a movie, take in Central Park, shop and eat.
We got caught in the rain on the actual day of our anniversary as we were walking back to the hotel from a bowling date at Chelsea Piers. It was a hard and steady rain. It soaked us to the bone and rendered our golf umbrella virtually useless. What could we do other than laugh about it? At one point, my husband stopped to take off his socks and sneakers, after realizing they’d never dry completely overnight. He walked the rest of the way barefoot, splashing through the puddles. Nothing worse than walking the city in squishy, wet shoes, right?
It was a wonderful weekend. He held the umbrella over me. He held doors open for me. We talked about real things at dinner. How our relationship has changed and matured. How we’ve overcome some really rough times. The fun memories we’ve made.
At one point he asked me what my favorite memory was from our 15+ years together. How could I choose just one??? I mentioned some of my favorites – living in Chicago, the birth of our daughters, going on a cruise – until I realized I was listing about 50 different things. And of course by that point I was rambling.
It was five years ago on our trip to Hawaii for our 10th anniversary. It was fabulous. We were carefree as we drove to Diamond Head and hiked that grand volcano. We stopped to soothe a burn I got from the motorcycle after climbing up on the wrong side of the bike (which was ugly, but didn’t stop me from hiking another mountain that same day). And I held on tightly as we hugged sharp curves and navigated through winding, two-lane roads that cut through the mountainous terrain that defines the middle part of the island. It was a great vacation and certainly one of our best times together.
Now, five years later here we are in New York City. A little older. A little more sleep-deprived since having our three-year old.
But there’s something else. I feel like I’ve finally gotten my shit together about this whole marriage thing. I confessed to my husband (who – as it turns out – was fully aware of this all along) that I didn’t fully understand what marriage was all about when I walked down that aisle 15 years ago. I thought it was some “gotcha” moment that girls dream of when they finally get the guy of their dreams. The hard part’s over, right? Smooth sailing from here on out, right? Wrong. I didn’t realize that, in fact, marriage is work. It sounds cliché to say right now, but it’s true. And it took me a long time to really get this.
I’ve learned that marriage is a choice I make (and my husband makes) every day. Some days are easy and some days are hard. There is frustration, anger, resentment, temptation, loneliness, boredom and a whole mess of other reasons why the grass always looks greener. But if you’re lucky enough, and determined enough, and if both of you are on the same page, it can work.
I don’t profess to know everything about marriage. Mine is certainly far from perfect. But what I’m sure of is that the work that’s required in a marriage is worth the effort.
Now on to the next 15 years. Where my only goal is to get to know my husband better than he knows me.