On Thursday, September 4, 2014, my husband Bill and I will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary together. People keep asking what special plans we’ve made, where we’re going, if we’re renewing our vows. I hate to disappoint them and tell the truth. No, the party planners aren’t having a fabulous 10th Anniversary Bash, we’re spending the day alone together. With zero obligations to anyone else or the world.
We have a few special plans – I’ve ordered a cake from the bakery that made our wedding cake for our DC reception (white chocolate mousse, yum!) – and if I’m lucky, something else special will be ready at the framer. We’re going shopping for a few luxury items we happen to have been hoarding gift certificates for, and we’re going to spend the evening alone together.
We still haven’t decided whether or not we’re going out, but as anyone happily married for 10 years can tell you, Bill will just look at me and say “whatever you want to do is fine with me.”
As long as we’re together, it’s a celebration of our marriage. And we celebrate pretty much every single day. Nope, not kidding. No fancy hotel rooms or buckets of champagne required.
Many couples have jealousy issues about the time each spouse spends with friends (same sex or opposite gender), family or work. The only thing Bill and I both jealously guard is our “alone time” together. There’s just never enough of it. We work together almost every day. We live in a place where we cannot help but be each other’s best friends. And yet, there’s just never enough “alone time” together to feel satisfied.
Whenever we leave Vieques Island “for a break,” everyone assumes this means we’re on vacation. NOT. We’re rarely on vacation. We have a full office setup in DC and clients to meet with there too, if we’ve headed “home” for our time away. Usually our “breaks” are filled with doctor’s appointments, family obligations, business meetings and unpacking the never-ending stack of boxes that seem to creep into our condo while we’re out of town. Apparently, once you’ve hit the ripe old age of 40, your parents are no longer obligated to keep boxes of your crap stored in their house. Ay Dios Mio!
Ten years is something to celebrate for certain – and we will. But there are some serious things about marriage that I’ve learned over the years and while I’m certainly no expert, I wanted to share some of them with you. Especially with couples in the first 10 years of marriage because those of you who have been happily married for longer already know all of this stuff:
- “Home” is wherever Bill and I both are. Vieques, DC, or a hotel room in New York (only for business when we can’t avoid it) can all be home as long as we’re together in the same bed at night. Technically, we include the dog in that statement, but sometimes he doesn’t get to come north for the quick trips because traveling is harder on him than us. There may be times in your life when everything is so upside down that you feel lost. But you can’t be lost when you’re at “home” and if your husband or wife is with you, that’s “home,” at least for the time being.
- Every day together is a blessing. Sure, we get on each other’s nerves at times. I’m bossy. Bill sleeps too much. I’m a list-maker, my husband loses the lists. When I do the dishes and load the dishwasher, Bill reorganizes it (I’ve learned via FB that this is not an uncommon problem). But end of day, we both realize how unimportant those things are in judging the overall quality of marriage.
- My husband is my best friend. I have other besties – people whom I truly love – but at the end of the day, Bill is the only one in the entire world who knows all of my secrets and still loves me, despite them. True, we’re more isolated than most couples, living in our tiny fishbowl on Vieques Island, but when we’re back in civilization, we still spend most of our time together. He has no desire to go to the craft store with me, and I don’t want to go to the gun range with him and his boys, so we get some separate “alone time,” but usually, we’re lucky enough to enjoy most activities as a team. That’s the way it should be. It just feels right.
- We are each other’s best advocates. No matter what’s going on or who is involved, my husband and I always have each other’s backs. Sometimes we’ll discuss it later and realize we might have handled something better if we’d had time to coordinate, but we do our best not to disagree publicly. And we often have an audience. Marriage helps you develop your own secret language with each other, but sometimes it’s possible to mess up the translation.
- Forgive almost everything as quickly as you can. Holding a grudge doesn’t solve your problem, it makes it worse. Actions mean more than words. Show you’re sorry and your partner will show they forgive you. And move on.
- Never leave each other unattended in a hospital – and go to the doctor together as frequently as it’s logistically possible. Knowing everything about each other might save your lives someday. And being aware of what each of us is struggling with makes the other more supportive. Bill and I have both had life-threatening illnesses during our marriage and those close calls have made us stronger as a couple. While the memories are brutal, they also serve as a good reminder to ourselves when we aren’t appreciating each other properly.
- Even though he’s divorced now, the guy who described Mars and Venus as two very different planets wasn’t wrong. Respecting each other’s need for space at times can be difficult, but necessary. We all process things differently. As you go through life, you will experience many happy and sad occasions together, but you won’t both react to everything in the same way. Embrace the differences you have as much as you can. I’ve learned to let Bill have his “cave” time, even though now it’s only in a metaphorical sense since he lost his Man Cave when we sold our house to move to the island. He’s learned when I need to be left alone and when I need him to talk to me.
There aren’t enough words in the world to tell my husband how much I love him. He is my everything. When he’s happy, I’m happy. When he’s sad, I’m sad. When he’s bored, I’m usually working. But that’s the way life goes and we’ve learned to make it work so that most of the time, we’re happy.
You’d be surprised how many people asked what big plans we had in store for September 4th – and at the varied reactions I got to my reply. I’m not even sure Bill actually knows the game plan for the day tomorrow – it depends on whether he notices I’ve posted this blog. Actually, that’s not fair, I think the poor guy reads everything that I write, even blogs about the shows he refuses to watch with me.
So when you get to this point Bill, this paragraph is for you:
I love you more than I ever could have imagined possible. Without you, I am nothing. Together, we’re unstoppable. Please don’t ever stop being exactly the man you are, and please continue to forgive me for being the woman I am and finding my mistakes funny instead of something else. Let’s “never let the bastards get us down,” and let’s spend more time with the people we really enjoy. Wherever this crazy ride we’re on takes us, keeping holding my hand like you always have and everything will turn out right side up again. It always does. I’m pretty sure that when you married me, you never thought things would ever get this crazy in your life. But it’s good crazy, right? Thank you for doing it with me. I could never be this brave alone.
Happy 10th Anniversary to my loving husband. I wish all of my readers the same kind of happiness. And remember, you don’t actually have to plan a party to celebrate something important. Celebrate your marriage every day and you’ll find the bells and whistles just aren’t that important.
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and our new company, Sandy Malone Weddings & Events!