My husband and I recently celebrated our anniversary.
Well, that’s not entirely accurate.
As I write this, I’m working in advance since we’ll be out of town when my column is due. It’s actually about a week out from our anniversary. However, I’ll be back to work by the time this runs in the paper and by that time we’ll officially be married another year.
Right now, I’m scurrying to finish my work and pull all the details together in preparation to leave town. As you read this, we’ll have already taken a much-needed anniversary vacation. I hope to report that I have gotten good rest, a good suntan, some good stories, great memories, and a fresh outlook.
It is quite challenging to write about something that hasn’t happened yet as though it already has. So, without the ability to foretell the future, I’m going to stick with what I know for sure.
While my husband and I haven’t been married that long, we did date for several years. The dating relationship is still, at this point, longer than the amount of time we’ve been married. Somehow the marriage anniversary number doesn’t seem to do justice to the investment – time and otherwise – we’ve made in our relationship.
Of course we’ve had our ups and downs; we’ve been together for nearly nine years in all.
The other night, I was reflecting with my husband and it hit me how much has happened in that time and how much younger we were when we met – and we really weren’t “young” at that time either. We’ve definitely had some fun and have dealt with our share of challenges. It’s easy to appreciate the fun stuff but there’s also value to be found in the trials, which usually comes to light later. It’s those difficulties that act like a fire that either makes a relationship into something stronger or consumes it.
There have been times when my husband has been my hero in the midst of some highly stressful situations, being my lifeline when I felt like I was drowning. He’s been solid and reliable, generous, encouraging, and understanding. He has soothed me in my distress and stepped in when I was being mistreated.
I never thought of, or even imagined, myself as someone who would ever need to be “rescued.” I’ve always been pretty independent, pulling myself up by my bootstraps in the best way I could, occasionally with a little help. However, there are definitely times that he has come to my rescue – my knight in shining armor. As corny as that sounds, it’s a title he deserves. He’s earned it. It’s also not something he’s ever held over me – no strings attached or expectations of being owed.
It’s because he loves me and that’s how it should be.
I imagine I could’ve made it through those hard times without his help and survived but sometimes when the waves keep coming and you start to get overwhelmed, having a partner extend their hand – and heart – in support is a welcome reprieve.
The give-and-take of a relationship is important. Yes there are withdrawals, but deposits have to be made. A person can’t give away something they don’t possess. While I only mention above about the occasions I’ve needed him, both parties have to contribute to the emotional bank account.
With a fair amount of time under our belt, it’s funny how time has changed our perspective on some of the difficulties of our past. There are things that at the time seemed like big problems and resulted in big arguments but now serve as some of our funny stories to tell. We actually laugh at some stuff that was incredibly frustrating or bothersome at one point in our history together. I’ve written a few of my more humorous columns about some of our challenges – like home improvement and differing expectations on vacation plans. We don’t necessarily want to relive any of it but we’re glad we made it through intact. I imagine that more time may soften some of the other rough patches.
I’m so glad we’ve clung together during “rough seas” because eventually they blow over and calm waters always come afterward. I feel grateful and blessed to have a man like him in my life and am truly happy to share another anniversary with him, and I could not ask for more.
Dawn M. Henley is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.