I had no intention of writing anything today. But sometimes things just mysteriously come together.
I’ve been married for 20 years today. 20 years. 2 decades. My husband said, “Wow. 240 months. 20 Christmases. 20 Thanksgivings.” Sometimes it feels like 5 years and other times it feels like 30. Such is the nature of marriage and of time.
I once told my parents (after much self-examination) that I was just not “marriage material”. I was 21. I didn’t want to get married. Ever. I was not the marrying type. I just did not feel like ‘that‘ type of girl. The permanency scared me. The necessary compromising offended me. The lack of control over who the other person becomes and who you yourself may become sickened me. It just seemed like a real stupid risk. Unfortunately, I announced this to my parents on a morning that they were rushing out to a breakfast and they wouldn’t even let me come with them. I felt abandoned. Unbeknownst to me, they were having breakfast with my boyfriend who was on a mission to ‘ask for my hand’ and ‘get their blessing’.
They said, “No.”
HAHAHAHA! Have you ever heard of that happening in real life? Me neither. They said, “No” to my earnest, optimistic, 22 year old boyfriend. They thought we were too young. (we were) They thought we were not ready. (we weren’t) They thought their daughter was at home in a pool of her own tears and wallowing in some self made melodrama about how she was not a marrying type of girl. (I was) Some months passed. There was a lot of crying. blah. blah. blah.
My husband persevered. He is very tenacious. We got engaged. We got married.
pictured above (clueless people with immature pre-frontal cortexes)
I can boil it down to 2 simple reasons why I married him.
The man never gives up on becoming better. He is relentless. I knew that he would never give up on me, on us, on himself. I thought that would prove to be a useful and necessary trait if you were going to put up with the likes of me. I think it is still a valuable quality to have. It has served our family well.
The other reason is a two-word comment he made in the car to me when we were dating. We were talking about something (nothing of note) and he locked eyes with me and smiled and said, “Cute brain.”
I had never had anyone say anything so amazing to me before those two words or ever since. Cute brain. It struck a chord in me and has stayed with me. That guy knows how to close the deal.
He just gets me.
For the sake of transparency, I would like to say-It hasn’t been a perfect 20 years. Far from it. We have had our challenges. We have made some colossal mistakes. We have had our disagreements. If we had followed the asinine “don’t go to bed angry” advice, we would both have died from insomnia in 2004. Goodness, that was a bad year. The beauty of staying together is that we made it past 2004. It’s far in the rear view mirror now and that is a blessing.
The traditional 20 year gift is China and the modern 20 year gift is Platinum. Please no. First, if one more dish makes its way into this house my husband will go insane in the 21st year of marriage.
A platinum something? Nope. No platinum knick knacks shall enter into this house. No more objet of any kind. Nothing on a shelf. Clutter kills.
We have had some memorable and disastrous gift exchanges over the years. One of the first years we were married he gave me a gift that he wrapped up inside a box for an Oster blender.
The problem is, it was an actual blender.
It was Christmas and I kept repeating, “Oh. It is a blender. An actual blender. You gave me a blender. Blender. You thought of me and you thought ‘b l e n d e r”. It was an awkward moment for the rest of the family. He said (bewildered) “But you SAID you wanted a blender someday.” I did say that. Aaaand that is the last appliance I ever received as a gift.
One year we just blindly gave the other what we like. He prefers experiences. I prefer something to mark the occasion that I can hold on to, pass down, potentially store in the basement for all eternity. I gave him a book. He doesn’t care for books. He gave me tickets to a concert. I can’t remember what concert. We both opened our gifts and felt, “meh”-we should have swapped them.
We had talked about going to see the jeweler that made our wedding rings. He is a darling semi-retired man with a tiny office in the Medical Arts Building in downtown Minneapolis. We talked about picking out an anniversary band to mark 20 years. I like this idea. It marks the occasion. I can pass it on to my children. It has symbolic meaning.
Today I got a voicemail from my husband. This is what prompted me to write this all down. The voicemail was in the middle of the day while he drove four hours roundtrip for a meeting. He said, “….Also, I think we should go meet with the jeweler. I’m kind of waiting on you to tell me when you are free to go…Also, I was thinking..not sure…maybe it’s dorky or dumb but…What about a new front door? It might be kind of dumb. I just know it’s something you talked about and it would kind of be fun down the road to you know…say we put that in for our 20 year anniversary. I know it’s just one step away from something to plug into the wall but…let me know.”
I welled up. Real heartfelt tears. See…I hate my front door. I would love a new front door. YES. I’m in love with this idea. It is symbolic. It will last. We are here to stay. We are only just 20 years into building something to last.
He just gets me. That is the best gift of all.