April 21st, 2009 marks 8 years of marriage (and just over 14 years since our first kiss). I think a lot about how much time has actually passed and it almost doesn't seem real.
We met in the fall of 1994, freshman year at Lewis & Clark college. It was the middle of the night and I was stumbling around lower-campus after too many 40's of OE when I came across a group of people sitting under the flag pole, on the terrace above the rose garden, engaged in a heated debate.
The simple phrase "Fuck a duck in a truck with Chuck."
So many questions inherit in this simple, whimsical statement.
Who does the duck belong to?
Who does the truck belong to?
Is Chuck the mastermind behind the whole scene?
And it was, at the time, one of the most fascinating things I'd ever heard. I took the only logical course of action. I cinched up my thrift-store German army jacket against the cold and ensconced myself in a nearby bush, the better to find out the resolution to this existential dilemma. After some time I got cold and tired and decided to pack up and head for home. Little did I know that the group had been aware of my presence the entire time. At least a couple of them were convinced that I was some crazed homeless person. Luckily Jane recognized me from around campus and uttered, as I got up to leave, the first words I ever heard from her sweet lips.
"Hey. What's your name?"
And I staggered home to bed.
I came back the next night and was welcomed into the circle. I came back the night after and the night after that. I don't know many hours I spent talking with them before we actually met in daylight but, soon, I was eating almost every lunch and dinner in the cafeteria with the group. Jane was utterly fascinating to me from the beginning. Talking to her was so comfortable and it was impossible to be sad around her joyful smile and easy laugh. It wasn't long before we were spending almost every moment together. I started spending the night in her dorm room but it was months before we even kissed (March 4, 1995).
From those strange beginnings came the most important and amazing relationship of my life, solidified in the Lewis & Clark chapel on April 21, 2001. We've covered a lot of ground together and I'm grateful for every day of it.
I've had a lot of people make comments about what a good couple we are and I always find it strange. That's why we're married. Because we like being together! Why would you settle for anything less than that?
I also see a lot of people looking for marriage cure-alls, like there's some magic formula that you can follow to make your marriage great or fix a broken one.
I think that people forget that marriage is a choice. You've chosen someone above everyone else. But it doesn't end there. You have to keep choosing that person again and again. You have to make the effort to keep yourselves close together, especially when it's hard. There are times when you haven't slept in days or you're having money problems or work problems or you're just having a shitty day. And it's on those days that it's most important to make that choice.
There are lots of ways to stay close, but everyone has to find their own things that are important and cultivate them.
Here are a few of mine
- Say thank you. A lot. Especially for little things.
- Enjoy touching, hugs, hands, pats.
- Let things go. Most stuff isn't worth making an issue of, so just let it go.
And, with that, I'll leave you with the 5 tenents of marriage, as related to me by one of my two favorite priests on my wedding day.
8 great years and counting.