On Monday Shawn and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary. And by celebrate I mean, I worked until 4:30pm then we spent an hour figuring out where we should go eat, walked over to the restaurant and found it too busy for our liking, so we walked around the block while weighing our other options. We finally decided to pick up a six-pack at the deli down the street and make the most of our left-overs at home. Of course it was lightly raining during this whole charade (the kind of misty rain that doesn't seem like much but then you realize you're soaked from head to toe and you've only been standing in it for a few minutes...), so we were drenched by the time we arrived back home and thoroughly pleased with our decision to choose the couch over a cold pair of bar chairs. We ended up putting on Netflix's Bill Murray Christmas special while making pulled pork bacon burgers and fries. Yes, you read that correctly... our leftovers consisted of a half pound of ground beef, a little over a cup of pulled pork, two strips of bacon, and a few whole wheat hamburger buns. There's nothing like starting our third year as a legal couple with some over-the-top indulgence, no?
The first few months after we got married pretty much everyone we know asked us "So what's it like being married?"... at the time, it didn't feel any different. Shawn and I have known each other for eleven years, and have been living together for over five of them, so getting married really didn't feel like any significant sort of change. But now that we're two years into this thing, I've changed my tune. Forgive me for this awful metaphor, but....
Marriage is kind of like two people on a row boat together. You can both coast along and hope to get somewhere eventually, or you can put in the effort together and enjoy the ride. Sure, one person can row the boat on their own, but that's a lot of weight to push without the help of the other person. And as anyone who has been in a row boat knows, it’s not always a fun ride, and one wrong move by either person can rock the boat and then you both get wet (although sometimes, falling into the water isn't such a bad thing because you're more determined to row that damn boat once you both climb back in). But if you can enjoy the scenery, and you're both willing to put in the effort, the ride is beautiful.
Was that awful? That was awful. But I think it gets my point across.... relationships take work. Not all the time, I mean, a lot of the time it's smooth sailing (see, there I go again!) and those are the times that make it all worth it. Being married is a whole different beast, because you're tied to that person for real. It shouldn't change how you feel about each other, and it certainly shouldn't make things more difficult. But it should change your perspective at least a little bit. Relationships can be a bit selfish and still work. But marriage isn't selfish. A marriage takes two people. I'm not saying you need to give up being yourself, (Please, don't ever do that. You are amazing!), but you have to figure out what it means to be your best self when you're with that other person. Most of the time, that means setting aside your ego. Most disagreements happen because one person is too proud to let the other person have their way. Marriage is a give and take, and sometimes you're the one doing the giving, and other times you're the one doing the taking. These past two years have been a journey in finding the balance between the two.
Dude, you can't row that boat on your own. But you can watch the sun set over the lake's horizon every evening and cherish those moments together, and the work it took to get there.