Wednesday was our tenth anniversary. Repeat. We’ve been married ten years and two days.
Excuse me while I continue to digest that.
In the weeks leading up to the day I kept getting the same question about what sorts of special plans we’d made for the day, and I kept giving the same shrug and saying “we’ll probably stay home and rent a movie”. And judging by the looks I got in response, I think that answer left people wondering if we had too many obligations to get away, or maybe just didn’t care enough to make a huge deal of our anniversary.
It’s true, we didn’t go out to dinner or to a symphony or on a trip. We went off-road with the truck, parked by a lake and soaked up the sun with the tailgate down. And those who know us best probably realize this is much more “us” anyway. We are just as happy here in our home as we would be on a beach in Hawaii, why leave?
The other reaction I get when I mention how long I’ve been married is an unmistakable look of disbelief. I can see minds calculating and hesitating to ask the question. Sometimes I just save them the trouble and explain that I was 18 years old when I got married. Caleb was 20. I was in college and he was stationed at the military port in Charleston, waiting for an overseas deployment that never came.
There’s an entire book worth of story about our elopement and the years following it. Getting married, at the time, didn’t seem like a big deal to us. Just a step along a road we’d been walking for years and knew we’d be walking for many more. We didn’t give much thought to how our marriage would be received by our friends and our families. Maybe we were more concerned with Caleb’s military situation and the fact that we lived hundreds of miles apart and were having trouble keeping ourselves tied together.
For many anniversaries after that day, we celebrated with a sort of tainted sense of guilt. We wondered how many years would pass before emotions would be a little less raw and a little more accepting. “On our tenth anniversary,” I declared. “When we’ve proven that we were meant to be, we’re going to tell our story and make people understand.”
But ten years is a long time. Long enough to change your mind. Long enough to quit worrying what others think. Long enough to make it less about acceptance and more about this:
The next ten are going to be even better.