Wednesday, April 27, 2011

10 Years of Happy

As I sit here on the eve of our ten year anniversary, I'm reflecting on the past decade with a warm, fuzzy heart. Marriage isn't easy. It's something you have to work on daily. A friend of mine doesn't believe love is a feeling, but a choice you make. I used to think that was crazy, but as I've matured, I understand it. I now think that when you fall in love, it's a feeling. After several years of living together and really getting to know a person, while you still love them, the strong feeling of love waxes and wanes because you're comfortable and life's little challenges tend to take most of your attention. There's days that I don't "feel" like I love Jeff even though I know I do. Sometimes that feeling disappears for months and it's during that time that I choose to love him and remain faithful because I know the feeling will come back. In a decade, that feeling has always come back and every time, it's stronger than it was before. Love and marriage takes patience.

I've noticed that people are all too easy to call it quits because they think life is supposed to be a cushy, easy existence where marriage is going to feel like the first year of a relationship and where there are no fights. You know, where it's new, exciting and unknown. After 10 years, I can tell you, it's still exciting and unknown. I realize that it completely depends on the type of person you're married to, but for me, it's always exciting because Jeff is experimental and approaches everything with a child like wonder. I find that so endearing and entertaining! I remember what it felt like the first year of our relationship. I couldn't get enough of him and would get butterflies in my stomach at the thought of getting to see him. I still get that way sometimes but the feeling is slightly different. The butterflies are more like a warm hum deep within me that makes my heart skip a beat. The longer we're married and the deeper the relationship becomes, the more the feelings mellow like a proper wine. Instead of the sharp, tangy bite of a new or green wine, the flavors of the marriage blend together and all the flavors complement each other and leave that warm feeling in your belly and an aftertaste that makes you want more. I think I'd rather have that feeling than the excitement of a new relationship.

I also have realized over ten years that the reasons I love Jeff are the same reasons I find him so infuriating. It's a double edged sword that I'm more than willing to carry. I know most people have probably heard 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, but I wonder if anyone has really paid attention to it in relation to their own marriage. This is from the NLT Bible: "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand it's own way. It is not irritable and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." That is so true.

Jeff and I both have done some insensitive stuff and no matter how unintentional it was, it still hurt. However, we forgave each other and don't love each other any less because of it. Those moments, that vulnerability and that pain has only allowed us to know each other better and appreciate each other more and we don't hold them against each other. Despite the few hiccups our marriage has had, I have hope and faith that we'll get through it..and we always do. I trust Jeff and consider him my best friend. How lucky am I to have a best friend that I'm also totally in love with?? Ten years and I still can't keep my hands off of him. I'm still very much attracted to him, but I love him more as a person because I know him better after ten years. We're always easy to laugh, conversation is always easy and we're quick to hug.

Jeff says I tell him I love him too much and that it takes away the specialness, but I refuse to stop saying it. I want to celebrate it and when I feel it, I say it. I never want him to doubt how I feel and I am SO proud to be his wife and to be able to call him mine. I'm just so lucky to be with a man who loves all of me..even my quirks. =) We're like puzzle pieces that fit together and while the jagged edges of each piece sometimes rub together and create friction, we just fit. Some people don't get us because we're such opposites, but we just fit and I love us! The good always outweighs the bad and more often than not, I'm overwhelmed with a a sense of love for Jeff and can't wait for our time together. He knows me better than anyone else and I hope the next ten years are even better. Happy Anniversary, Jeff and thank you for making the past ten years so much fun and for making marriage one of the best decisions I ever made! I love you!