(Before I begin, do you have any idea how much that title kills me? First of all, “ain’t,” much less “ain’t no”???? OUCH)
On Friday, Spouse and I celebrated 16 years of marriage. It did get a bit lost in the shuffle of the day as it was also IEP meeting day, and a two-performance Nutcracker day. We did exchange gifts – of which mine to him was a total fail. But we didn’t go out to dinner. We didn’t do anything special at all for just us. Saturday involved more Nutcracker and two Christmas parties. Sunday – you guessed it, more Nutcracker. It was just another day. That didn’t really bother me. It wasn’t a biggie anniversary, such as fifteen or twenty years. And the day just represented our life right now – kid-involved, busy, chaotic. That got me to thinking about marriage in general.
When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I was waiting for my Prince to swoop in and save me from myself. I looked for him actively. I tried to be whatever I thought I should be to appear perfect so I could find him. I spent way too much time and energy on the entire process. It was only after going through the few disastrous relationships I’ve mentioned before that I learned I needed to save my own self. I needed to be okay with me. I needed to like me just as I was before anyone else would like me as just me. I needed to learn to be okay with being alone. I needed to learn that perfect fairytale relationships, perfect fairytale princes don’t exist. Once I figured that all out, I was ready, although I wasn’t super conscious of it at the time.
When Spouse and I met, there was no pretending to be anyone. I was brutally honest – I didn’t want a relationship. Because I wasn’t looking for Mr. Right anymore, I wasn’t trying to be his perfect mate. I let him see the real me, right out of the gate. We were in a holding pattern for over six months, although we spent every day on the phone, and every weekend together. He saw the real me, in all my crazy, OCD, perfectionist, insane family glory. And he stayed. But don’t get me wrong – a Prince he was not. Then one day, I realized he was who I wanted. Luckily, he felt the same. Eighteen months later, he proposed. We planned our perfect winter holiday wedding, and it was beautiful. We did not live happily ever after, because, well, marriage is not a fairytale. It’s messy. It’s fun. It’s miserable. It’s breathtaking. It’s ugly. It’s beautiful. It’s hard. It’s the easiest thing ever. It takes making a choice, sometimes consciously every day, this is where you want to be. There are days, sometimes weeks, at a time I don’t like him very much. I’m sure he would say the same of me. Every once in awhile, we will go through a period of time where we seem more roommates than a couple. We get busy with kids, work, friends, life. We are distracted from our relationship. And then we will take some time, a moment to breath, and it all comes back together again. I don’t need him, but I want him. That makes a difference.
He’s no prince. I’m no princess. This ain’t no fairytale. But it’s our marriage, it’s our life, and I love it. He still makes me laugh. He still makes me feel cherished and wanted. He is an awesome daddy. He takes care of us. And amazingly enough, he still seems to love me. Go figure.