3 years ago today, at the right time and in the right place, Daniel and I were married in the Oakland temple. I'm not sure if I ever pictured what married life would be, it was just something I knew Daniel and I would do, grow old together. So without a clear expectation of what married life would be like, I cannot tell you if it has been everything I thought it would be. What I can tell you is that we have laughed till it hurts, fought till we cried, experienced happiness highs and frustrating lows, and through it all are continuing to redefine what love means for us.
I did not grow up within a home where a healthy and successful marriage existed. My parents divorced when I was 11, and although their tumultuous marriage was all I had ever known, I knew that was not the kind of marriage I wanted. Honestly, I did not ever think about marriage as a kid, my life was to adopt a child when I was 27 (that was seriously my plan when I was 9 or so). As I grew older into my teen years there was so much angst and tumoil within myself that thinking about my future in certain terms was not something I often did. Did I ever think I wouldn't get married? No. Did I ever imagine myself married? No. I just dated because it was fun (or in other cases because I did not want to tell the poor boy, 'no'). By the time I was at the ripe old age of 19 I was pretty much done with dating. I had a conversation with my friend Katy as we drove 12 hours from California to Utah, basically stating that I did not want to date anymore. The result of that decision? I started dating Daniel a few weeks later (funny how those things work out).
When I first met Daniel at church my friends who had taken ASL classes could communicate better with him than I could. I knew my abc's, colors and basic animals (can you imagine what thrilling conversations we had?). To this day I cannot remember how we communicated effectively the first few months (i'm sure if you asked Daniel he could tell you some funny stories about me trying to sign). I suppose we had to be truly smitten with eachother to date for so long without a strong common language between us. The rest is basic dating stuff, doing everything together, spending ridiculous amounts of time doing nothing together, but still loving every moment of it. When we had be dating for quite sometime (maybe a year) I started to wonder how I would know if Daniel was the one I was supposed to marry. I read an LDS book where a general authority talked about knowing he was going to marry his wife, and never asking God if it was right until after he had made the decision. Then there a moment one night after we went on a date when we were sitting on the couch talking, he leaned his head back and closed his eyes and in that moment I could see his face, old and wrinkled from age, and I knew that was the face I was going to see in 50 years every night before I went to bed and every morning when I woke up. I knew that we were meant to grow old together. Then we got married and everything changed.
No, I'm kidding! Well mostly kidding, things did change but in a good way. Our love and our relationship became more real, more gown-up I would say. I think all of that is to be expected and signs of a healthy relationship. I say it is to be expected but I, myself did not expect it (so any engaged couples out there, heads up!). During these 3 years I have been constantly try to figure out what is love, what does it mean to me and what does it mean for us. A while ago I started keeping a mental list of the little things in our marriage that I thought defined love.
... letting me have the last ice cream sandwich, even though it is really yours.
... coming with me to hang out with my friends. even though you get really, really bored.
... driving to 3 different stores at 2 am (after working till 12 am and having to be back at work at 8:30am) to buy you nyquil.
... washing dishes after a long day at work, because I am sick of dishes everyday for the past 2 weeks.
... letting you sleep in while I get up with Leo (this one goes both ways)
... giving you massages almost everyday, even though you don't give them to me, because you suck at giving massages.
There are many more examples, but these are the ones that come to mind at the moment. The common theme thoughtout each of these is selflessness (you know, opposite of selfishness, i'm pretty sure it is a real word). And while neither of us are perfect (even though I like to think i'm a little closer to perfection than he is, I am so very, very wrong), we are perfect for eachother (or at least we are in the continual process of trying to be). So happy anniversary sweetie! It has been a crazy ride but i'm glad i'm on it with you, because this love is not easy, but it's worth it.