I don’t know that I ever thought being married for fifteen years was a possibility. I think it was something I thought other people did – get married and stay that way forever.
But here we are. Five kids (or three, depending on who’s counting). A fat little epileptic dog, a teenager researching the North Korean/China relationship, a ten year old building creations on minecraft, and six year old who just graduated to chapter books yesterday. A trip out for coffee and grocery shopping as the celebration – because between blizzards and a new job, there’s no time for anything else.
A lot has changed in fifteen years. I think when we first got together, nobody, including us, thought it would last. He was newly divorced, I was almost immediately pregnant. He was five years older, Jewish, and even though we grew up less than an hour away from each other, neither of us had ever been to the other’s hometown.
But from the very beginning, I’ve never wanted anything other than him. We’ve never not shared that same vision – of what our life could be, of what really matters, and what we were willing to sacrifice to get there. It’s not just the five kids, the ones that he brought to the marriage and the ones we created together. It’s not just the Shabbat dinners every week, the books read out loud, the family day trips and the days when we’re snowed in and can’t leave the house. It’s not just the coffee that he makes every night and pours for me every morning. It’s not the laundry or the Patriots games I suffer through every fall and winter. It’s not the science projects, the D&D games with our son. It’s not the nights in the hospital, the times we held our son down for medical treatment and cried in each other’s arms afterwards.
It’s not the flowers he brings me once or twice a year, or the way he cleans off my car after a storm. It’s not the way that he cleans the vomit, or solves Jessie’s math homework when I gave up three years ago.
It’s all of that.
Marriage isn’t easy. Everyone says that, and mostly, I agree. But on a really core level, it’s not about easy or hard – it’s the foundation for everything else. It’s what my life is built on, the dreams for the future, the backbone of the memories and the undercurrent of my present day. It’s how I survive the hard things, and why the fun stuff is so much more fun. I work at our marriage, and so does he – but mostly, we do take it for granted. We can, because it’s such an unquestioned and absolute reality of our lives. Our kids don’t wonder about our marriage, their reality is that Daddy loves Mama and vice versa. I never wonder if he wants me to call or check in during the day, because of course he does.
Fifteen years looks… the truth is that I had no idea what fifteen years of marriage would look like. But my life, this life, with this man, and these kids, looks like everything I dreamed of having, and never really believed would be possible.