15 years later and the one constant in my life has always been Ken. With 5 children and a move to a different country under out belt things have definitely been an adventure, though not always the adventures we have expected. June 16th of 2016 marks our 15th year of marriage. It is hard to believe that those two college kids are now who we are today.
In a world where so much seems disposable and so many things change at the drop of a hat, this marriage has been a foundation and a constant for me. We have weathered our share of storms and railed against the “unfair” nature of things we could not always control… We have celebrated life’s joy and marveled in the gifts we have been given. There has been hope and conflict, love and good byes.
I am sure everyone is well aware that we have run the gauntlet with depression, this was not exactly an unknown for me in our marriage. We just assumed, in our naivety that Ken had been “cured” of his issues and he was able to simply follow the psychiatrist’s recommendation that he, “wean off them slowly” when he relocated from the US to Canada. Thankfully this ongoing experience and journey has created an even stronger bond between us than before. I have to admit, I was a little concerned that healthy Ken would find me less of a desirable partner than he did when he was ill and not knowing it. Well two events later and an amazing new plan and the people we are now are as attractive to each other, if not more so than those silly young things way back then.
We have experienced the lows together and come out stronger and more confident, now I can only image that the highs are going to bring us. (although we have discussed how maybe we emphasized the more difficult words in our vows a little too well… richer or POORER, in SICKNESS and in health… someone out there was listening a little too closely and has a rather rude sense of humour.)
So what can I share 15 years later? Well… we have both grown together and who we are now is most certainly altered from who we were then. Our long term goals have both stayed the same and changed and one of the biggest perks to our long engagement and intent need to discuss EVERYTHING is that we have never had that shock of OMG you don’t want the same thing… but I thought… that some couples seem to have. So I will put out there… talk about EVERYTHING, every little stinking insignificant thing… We knew from the outset that not only were we raised differently in different families but in different countries. No matter what the jokes are Canada is not interchangeable with the US. We found terminology differences, ideology differences, philosophies that did not mesh. So we talked and we talked and we talked. It was tiring at times and frustrating but it was WORTH IT.
Our love has changed, maybe not changed but… matured. Where we once had a “do it like bunnies you are so hot” mentality that I swear is common in most college age love stories at the very least… now we have a soul touching, mind melding love that is beyond the fact that he STILL is so hot to me. We love who we were, who we are and the potential there is to become something even more in each other. While so many people talked about how amazing it was for us to be together 15 years it feels like, to me, that we have barely been together a drop in the bucket. There is so much more time that we have to look forward to (world and life willing), the future is enormous and my travel partner a sarcastic, crazy, sometimes angry but loving American who has only become more amazing through out the years.
The biggest thing, I think, is that our marriage is our own. We are not dependent on our parents’ marriages succeeding, no one else around us’ relationships are detrimental to our own. That is not because they do not matter or on some smaller level affect us as individuals and as a couple, but no one else’s love has created restrictions or dimension to our love. Who you love or leave does not decrease my love for Ken or his for me. We feel sadness when someone’s relationship comes to a close and joy when we celebrate another’s love but our love, our connection is our responsibility and our choice. I chose everyday to reaffirm my relationship with affection and hard work. This comes from deep inside myself.
This does not decrease the amazing assist that seeing and being around other healthy relationships can add to my life. But, my compromises and tribulations are not a result of a turbulent marriage down the block or the fact that those two people across the state are in love. Rather it is the responsibility of myself and Ken to grow and strengthen our bond. Hopefully showing to our own children that love is a wonderful and fulfilling thing to find in your life.
So… 15 yrs later and I see no end in sight. I can only wish this sort of joy to the rest of you. Find someone that makes you happy and if that is not in the cards for you or even a priority (and for some it simply isn’t) find that within yourself, find something you love to do and do it! I hope everyone can find longevity in that be it a person or something else. Thank you Ken for finding something in me that is meaningful to you and making that a priority in your life. I love you!