Wedding Graduate Returns posts are among my favorite posts that we do. Seeing how married life has developed for each of you is such a joy and such an education. And today, Kimberly reminds me that some of the most important parts of my relationship are the quietest parts, the parts in between the big things. She reminds me that the golden moments are not the rushing around, not the goal setting and goal achieving, but the sitting quietly together. And it makes sense, because Kimberly is the woman who, two days before her wedding, decided that she wasn’t going to stress about anything that wasn’t done. Instead, she “just gave it up to Jesus. I mean, WWJD, anyway? He wouldn’t stress about anyone handing out some program fans, I’ll bet you that much.” So of course this lady knows a thing or two about how to relish the calmer moments. Now, Kimberly.
This year marks the third anniversary of our marriage, and things look far different than what we’ve been used to over the past three years. Truth is, we’re pretty boring these days. Okay, yes, we spent nine weeks in South America earlier this year (which was amazing), but now that we’re back home, we’ve settled with our residency (!!!), we’re both employed (!!!), we can come and go as we please (!!!) and are—gasp—happy in our home. We have multiple types of insurance, for goodness’ sake. We’re thinking about maybe buying a house, possibly, someday. We’re thinking about maybe growing our family, possibly, someday. But for right now? Shhhhhhhh. Do you hear that? It’s quiet. Things are still.
The past decade or so, for many of us, has been a time of Big Things. Graduation has played into that theme, college, postgrad… getting out into the world on our own, defining what we want out of our baby (and not-so-baby) careers, struggling financially, learning how to protect ourselves in times of emergency, and, often, marriage. It’s so common now to have to live apart from our partners, to move between states for our partners, to move between countries with and without our partners, to deal with visas and immigration issues because of our partners (and deal with the terrifying what-ifs about whether all of the applications will be rejected). We’ve blogged and/or read blogs about the Big Things, we’ve agonized over the Big Things, we’ve made friends and bonded over the Big Things, but I’ve found that somehow, over time, the Big Things have just become things.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t underestimate the Big Things—I think they often make us put our breasts to the wall, so to speak. We often end up stronger and better off for getting through them. Nor do I think that Himself and I are done with the Big Things, not by a long shot. There was a bit of a frenzy in my head recently about not having these Big Things looming over us, because for so long, they defined our life together. We tend to think of life as being about these Big Things and the quiet moments as just filler for the times in between the important milestones. If a Big Thing isn’t happening, it must mean that nothing at all is happening, right? What’s there to talk about? What’s there to say? Truth is, it’s the “filler” that puts the Big Things in context; it’s the day-to-day “filler” that makes the stress of the Big Things bearable.
In spite of being quiet and still here, things aren’t stagnant. We still struggle with boundaries sometimes, and we continue to surprise each other—not always in good ways. Sitting on the other side of many of those struggles and surprises, though, it’s pretty amazing to see how the wheels just keep on turnin’. Can I tell you how proud I am of myself for learning how to fight effectively, and watching Himself learn how to communicate with me calmly, even when he’s angry? Of continually seeking out solutions to make our lives—and therefore, our life together—better? Of being a fixed point and support beam for our friends who are also in relationships, whether they are thriving or failing? It’s incredibly satisfying and fulfilling, and when people talk of “growing” within a relationship, I think, “Oooooohhhh, this is the growing of which they speak!” We’ve shared a lot in this space about the good years and bad years of marriage. I’m not ashamed to say that this, the year of thirty, is shaping up to be a damn good year; another strong support for the frame on which our marriage rests, one more year to hold us up when a bad year comes along, threatening to tear it all away.
So we’re good. We’re happy. I’ve got tomato plants and gardenias and a napping cat and a satisfied husband and a content soul.
Himself told me once that he wanted to live a quiet life with me. At the time, I think I smirked and made some smart-ass comment because, really? He’s not exactly the “quiet life” kind of guy. But whaddya know, I was wrong. Right now, that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Photo by: Our Brazilian friend Bruna, while on the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia