Today is Thanksgiving and fittingly — Austin and my second wedding anniversary.
Our marriage is my favourite thanksgiving, as I wrote last year reflecting on one year of marriage. Those concepts are still very central to caring for our marriage. And while I again don’t purport to be an expert at being married (give us another couple decades!) we’re pretty great at making our own marriage something awesome, light-filled, supportive and gratifying.
Two years in, I give thanks for my husband and offer a few additional thoughts about what makes our marriage work so darn well.
Always give back rubs — Literally and metaphorically. This has a lot to do with “saying yes” (something I talked about last year) but also about making the offer. Austin and I offer to care for one-another — to make breakfast and give back rubs and steep our nightly tea as we read on the couch. To offer is to show we care.
Don’t buy into the trope that “marriage is hard” — How many times, over and again, do we hear this line? It’s up there with “the first year of marriage is your most difficult” as one of those cliche fallacies that might be true for some, but shouldn’t be the rule. Our marriage isn’t hard. We run into circumstances and events and are sidelined by moments in our marriage that are hard, but we shoulder those blows together. Austin and I put hard work into our marriage to ensure it makes all the other stuff easy, or at least, easier.
Prioritize — Year two of marriage has been packed. We rang in 2015 in Costa Rica, snuck away in the dead of winter to Morocco, celebrated friends’ weddings in Dallas and New York, enjoyed a food filled birthday jaunt to Chicago, spent long weekends in both the Twenty Valley and Prince Edward County, bought a house, took a month to travel through Spain, Italy and Greece… and somewhere in there, I launched three massive projects at work while Austin wrapped up his dissertation proposal, developed a course and taught undergrad and master courses. Just reading this makes my head spin.
I credit our ability to stay sane through our schedules to an unspoken mantra in our marriage: ruthlessly prioritize what matters most. Even with so much on the go, we make the time to cook dinner together, spend time wandering the city, enjoy quiet nights in and use our time intelligently so we have more of it, together. We don’t waste endless hours watching TV, working inefficiently or wasting our time to pursuits that aren’t meaningful to us.
Start the day with love — This one is essential. I set two alarms each morning — one goes off well before I need to get out of bed. We turn toward one-another to say good-morning and snuggle in, a good 15-minutes of connection before we even step from our bed. When the second alarm sounds, I bound to the shower and Austin to make our morning coffee. I can’t imagine our mornings without this tone-setting moment of pause.
Constantly remember — The first year that Austin and I were dating, I made him this perpetual memory calendar from a tutorial on Design.Sponge for his birthday present. At worst, I figured we’d use it for a month and cast it aside. At best, I figured we’d keep it up and have a (literal, physical, complete) history of our relationship. Lo, we’ve kept up the calendar and as a result have a daily chronicle of our relationship, from the minutiae (a good recipe we cooked) to the momentous (we got married). “Doing our cards” has been our way to remember, and remember fondly, the myriad places we’ve been together. I doubt many couples can say they have every single day of their relationship — since first encounter — documented. This makes me happy!
I love our marriage and co-creating a life with the smartest, kindest, most exhilarating man I know. At Austin’s side, I am still the best version of myself: someone who wants to stretch further, do more and be better in all pursuits.
To Austin: the love of my days and light of my heart — today and every day, I’m remembering our vows exchanged in the middle of a vineyard on a perfect fall day:
We make our promises gently.
This extraordinary day we have made.
Listen – the birds in their ordinary heaven.
Tonight the sky will blaze with stars.
Today, my love, rooms bloom with flowers.
The sky is ours.
We have answered
and so have a million before us
and each of their names is a vow.
So now I can tell you, quite simply
you are the house I will live in:
there is no good reason to move.
Good earth, you are home, stone, sun, all my countries.
Vital to me as the light.
You are it.
(Photo credit: Every Little Wonder Photography)