Alex and I are celebrating 15 years of marriage today. We were tiny baby people when we started out and we’ve sort of mostly grown into real whole adults. Adults who still regularly go to superhero movies and drink slushies until we’re sick.
I’ve blogged about the 10 things I’ve learned about marriage, and a couple of years ago I wrote down 13 things I love about my husband, so this year I’m thinking about some other stuff, the 10 unexpected things I’ve discovered about marriage. These may not be true for everybody, but they’re true for us. You’ll have to tell me if we’re alone or if you can relate to any of them, too.
1. Sex gets better with age.
I didn’t see this one coming. Sex in my twenties was a lot of timing and calendar-watching and stuff about ovulating. It was hard, baby-making work, and it was about as fun as solving algebraic equations on a pogo stick. Then we had small children and they were sucking and hanging all over me and I wanted them off and the thought of a grown-ass person sucking and hanging all over me made me want to take a gigundous fly swatter to his man-parts. None shall pass. Back it on up. Mommy will be huddled in the fetal position humping a large jar of Nutella. That is all. Mothers of small children, hang in there. It will get better.
2. Our jokey sarcasm game is on fleek.
(I’ve recently discovered “on fleek.” It is my new “totes” and “like a boss.” Thank you, Internet. You keep giving us fun new words.) We just keep upping our banter, and the older our kids get and the harder they roll their eyes, the more fun we have. When the kids are nuts, we turn to each other and just go to town with inside jokes. Which drives the kids crazier. Which makes us laugh harder. My parents did this to me and my brother, and I am so dang happy to pass on this torch.
3. We’re best friends. For realsies.
We both work from home and are always together in this obsessive entanglement of intertwining brain cells. I help him pick which of 40 logos that all look the same is the best, like some mega edition of the better-worse-or-the-same game at the eye doctor, and he reads my stuff before I send it into the cosmos and offend everyone with my oversharing (Hmm…I wonder what he’ll say about the fly swatter man-parts sentence….). At the beginning of our marriage I fantasized on a weekly basis about getting in the car and driving away forever, so it’s completely unexpected and rad to find myself in love with my best friend and enjoying this level of in-his-face-iness. We are Cartman’s song from South Park:
You guys are my best friends
Through thick and thin, we’ve always been together
We’re four of a kind, havin’ fun all day
Pallin’ around and laughin’ away
Just best friends, best friends are we.
I love you guys.
4. We still fight…but our relationship is stronger.
We get it all out on a regular basis. So many words and arguing. It’s exhausting and sometimes I’m like, “Ugh! I wanted to finish watching Daredevil on Netflix and instead we’ve spent the last hour debating who started the fight we had last week. We are so lame.” But this is where we are at year 15. We are both facing each other, balls out and ready to engage. We just keep reconnecting and reconnecting. We care so dang much and can’t go two seconds without clearing the air. We are besties, and we are gonna work it out, whatever it is. (A note about why the fighting: It’s just that when you have kids and jobs and so many things coming at you and you’re supposed to juggle it all as one, well, it takes a lot of work to establish that oneness, that united front. And so we whittle each other down into softer, more compromisey jugglers.)
5. We’re humbler.
Which I think you have to be with all the fighting and laying it down. You have to get humble and learn to be wrong and own it and apologize. Early on, this was harder, but we’re older and stronger and humbler.
6. We both submit.
We love us some submitting to one another. The s-word is kind of freaky, but in our marriage it’s equal and we do it together. Your turn, you go, you first, how can I help, what do you need from me. We submit our asses off around here.
7. We give each other space to be our own brand of Christian.
At first, we thought we had to practice our faith the same. Which mostly looked like me shaming him for not pursuing God the same way I did. Here at year 15, I’ve backed on off of him and realized we’re different people and we can pursue God differently. And we have different gifts and we can use them differently. He loves how I lead the kids and I love how he spurs our family to generosity.
8. Screw fancy date nights.
We date a lot, but we’re so over trying to make it epic. We’re old and we’re tired and we don’t want to drive all over the city and do cool people things. We actually want to go to our favorite restaurant again and then go home and watch Agents of SHIELD. And hey, if we get bored, we could always do number one. (When my parents became empty nesters, they started going out more and doing cool things. They got season concert tickets. When my brother and I were in the house their idea of a hot date was Sam’s Club. Clearly we were holding them back. Maybe Alex and I will be the same way…yawn.)
9. We have each other’s backs with the kids.
It is all hands on deck around here. We are partners when it comes to parenting, and we are continually tweaking the dance that is our routine. I take before school, he takes bedtime, I take swim team, he takes Sports Involving Grass. When one of the kids tries to turn us on each other to achieve illicit privileges, it’s adorable. We’re like, “Oh honey. You don’t even know who you’re dealing with,” and high-five in front of the poor soul.
10. We’re no longer trying to impress one another.
Once you’ve seen graphic photos of each other’s colonoscopies, there’s really nowhere else to go but further down. Fist bump. Middle aged marriage is the bomb. The fart bomb.
Happy Anniversary, Alex. Let’s do another 15.