9 Years and Counting

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Wedding, 2001

Nine years of marriage.

That is the first thought to pop into my groggy mind when I woke up at 7 am this morning.

How did I get here? 9 years is a really, really long time to be with one person. We have been through so much together. So much has happened. In our marriage, in each of our lives – personal, professional, with our families. How did we do it?

I wish I could say it has been a slow, smooth ascent into Nirvana. I wish I could say I have never been angry, that he has never walked out of the room because I was utterly obnoxious. I would like to say that we have sailed along blissfully for 9 years and simply can’t believe how times flies! But anyone who has ever been in a long term relationship knows that would be entirely impossible.

My marriage is a good one. We have had our ups and downs, and there have been times when one or both of us was ready to give up. My husband is a kind, gentle, sweet, sincere, charming and loving man. When he isn’t, I keep reminding myself of who he really is and the happiness that we usually share. When we went through hard times in our marriage, I was determined to see it through. Nothing good ever came easy, right? I have told myself that many times over the past 9 years.

People rush into marriage, they rush into divorce, they rush into second marriages – I can’t blame anyone for the choices they make, I know that sometimes shit happens and marriages can’t be saved. I am so grateful that nothing has happened in our marriage that was beyond forgiveness. But I think sometimes people just give up and walk away.

When everything is running along smoothly, it is easy to be happy, to be in love, to walk around with a shit eating grin because you have the best spouse on earth. But when mistakes are made, when feelings waver, when the going ‘gets tough’ – that is when love becomes an action instead of simply a feeling.

I attended a seminar given by a religious speaker, Josh McDowell, in the early 90’s. Although I am not religious,

Key West, 2007

something he said all those years ago have always had an impact on me. I am paraphrasing, of course, but he said something to the effect that love is not just a feeling, its an action. I have thought of that throughout the years I have been married. There are times when my feelings towards my husband are lackluster. He may piss me off and I would like nothing better than to ignore him until he sees the error of his ways and comes begging for forgiveness. But I am way too old to think that is actually a tactic that will work. So, when I am upset by him, I push on through. I continue to hug, kiss, snuggle, smile, etc – because these loving acts bind us together as much as the love we both have in our hearts.

Sometimes love needs a push. Sometimes it needs a gentle prodding along in the right direction. Sometimes love needs to be nurtured, protected, encouraged…if we didn’t work so hard on making our marriage work, it would have fallen apart years ago. When things are rough, we fight to make it work.

Where as I wear the crown of love and patience in our marriage, my husband wears an equally impressive crown of tolerance and perseverance. I am not easy to get along with. I know that. I warned him going on that I was a little crazy. It didn’t sway him, thankfully!

So here we are, 9 years along in what I hope will be a lifetime together. I am happy. He is happy. My daughter is happy. For now, we have a story book romance, a perfect ending, we are living happily ever after. And when, down the road, things get bumpy and we aren’t so happy, I will just remember back to days like this, when I can’t believe my lucky stars that I was able to marry such a wonderful man…and that will get me through until things run smoothly again.

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  1. mother in law says

    Jennifer, Thank you for such a wonderful description of my son. I am glad that he found his special someone that will always be by his side. Never give up on him for he will never let you down. He may be slow at reconizing somethings but I really believe that they don’t go unnoticed. Like always I’m late with the card but it will get there.

  2. sister in law says

    Even though we are not as close as I would like us to be, I am grateful and proud to have you as part of our family. You have made my brother a very happy man, and I am very thankful for that. I am also thankful that he has made you a happy woman. We all know how Chris can be sometimes, but believe me, his heart is pure, and his intentions are always the best. I know how much he loves you, and I know that he will be there with you through whatever life may bring you. Congratulations on 9 years of happiness, and may you have so many more. I love you guys!

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