We went out on Saturday night to celebrate our TWELFTH anniversary. First to a movie (Moonrise Kingdom!) then onto dinner and drinks at City House. While we were waiting on our micro brews and popcorn at the theater (love that), we ran into a friend we haven't seen since before she got married a few months ago.
"How's married life?" we asked in unison, because that's how you roll when you've been married as long as we have.
But before she could so much as get a word in, we were falling all over ourselves to make sure she knew our first year was terrible. We do this to people a lot. We wouldn't want anyone to go around thinking we've always held hands at the movie theater and finished each others sentences now, would we? Oh, no. That would be crazy!
She seemed shocked.
"But, why? I mean, if you don't mind my asking. Was it situational or...your relationship?"
"Oh, definitely our relationship."
"It's just that it's such a big deal, you know? Getting married? Even if you already live together, it's like a REALLY BIG DEAL. You become a family."
I couldn't tell if she was scared or relieved or surprised or just confused. These are all very normal reactions to this type of over share, by the way. It's awkward, I know. But we can't help ourselves! Whether people like it or not we feel like it's our moral obligation to make sure everyone knows we were absolutely miserable as newlyweds. Just in case they happen to be struggling in their marriage and think they made a terrible mistake, we want them to know these things take time. And a lot of effort. And a pretty sizable commitment. That the growing pains are normal. And that as long as they both keep choosing one another again and again and again, things will have no choice but to get better.
Yesterday we took the boys canoeing along the Harpeth River (Foggy Bottoms has a "kids route" that was just perfect for the boys). We hadn't been since I was 7 months pregnant with Finn and it was kind of shocking how much had changed since then. Not only was our family bigger by a whole person, our canoeing skills (i.e. COMMUNICATION SKILLS) were about a million times better as well.
Last time we were so bad at working together we almost flipped the canoe. With a 4 year old and a pregnant lady on board!
This time we almost almost flipped the canoe too, but instead of getting upset about it or blaming one another, we decided to practice and figure out how to get better so the next time we hit a rocky patch, we would know what to do.
See? We're STILL learning how to be married! We now know that when canoeing, Bill needs to sit up front so he can be in control (i.e. he can jump out quickly when he thinks we're about to hit something or flip over).
And I need to sit in back so I can be in control (i.e. watch how he's paddling so I can work with him and/or stick my oar in the water like a rudder to steer the canoe when I think he's doing it wrong. What? I was a Girl Scout. I know how to canoe.)
(Plus, you know, I like to take pictures when I'm supposed to be rowing...).
Here's to the next great lesson. And the next twelve years!