Today Mr. Fantastic and I celebrate 13 years of marital bliss/hard-won reconciliation/ lessons in selfishness and humility.
Marriage is one long commitment to work it out made by two people who like each other enough to legally unite their lives in front of a bunch of friends and relatives. I realize that my definition of marriage doesn't sound romantic. But, marriage doesn't always feel romantic, either. That doesn't make it any less amazing.
In fact, romantic love is easy to do. It's loving the person you want to smack that's hard.
In the best-case scenario world, you never regret the decision to be together forever. In the worst-case scenario, the whole crazy thing falls to pieces. Most of us live somewhere between those two extremes.
For me and Mr. Fantastic, thirteen seems to be our lucky number. We are really, sincerely happy together these days. The golden lasso around our hearts is a life-defining respect for one another that has grown over the years. We have individually sucked it up for the team many times, and the grinding of our wills has made us shiny and new in love.
Any cynical onlooker would probably think it's disgusting, but I find my husband positively dreamy and he thinks I am the cat's pajamas. Go ahead and be nauseated, we can't get enough of each other.
Our life is still peppered with struggles and conflict, but the work we have put into our relationship the last few years has bullet-proofed us against those nasty fiery darts. I may feel like a failure in other areas, or be discouraged and confused about my career and projects, but after the day is done, I am loved and I love in return.
So, after thirteen years of marriage, my best advice is to do the hard labor it takes to make your marriage a refuge. Curl up on the sofa and talk about the hardest and best parts of the day. Play a game of dominoes in front of a roaring fire. Pick up a tiramisu on the way home and eat it with two forks while laughing at a stupid movie that only the two of you think is funny. Send suggestive texts to each other. Tell the kids to stay away from Dad's favorite cheddar and sour cream potato chips. Make the bed to make her happy, then immediately mess it up together that same night while you make each other happy. Laugh a lot, be transparent with each other, pray together, and use kind words. We are all wonderful, flawed people who married other wonderful, flawed people, and we need our spouses so much.
Thirteen years is only the beginning of the happiness for me and my Mr. Fantastic.
Morgan, I love you for real, for true, and for always. Our best things are just over the horizon....