Well, yesterday officially makes two years that the Mister and I have been married. Part of me can’t believe it’s been that long already and part of me feels like it’s been longer than that. Even in two years I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually been called “Mrs. Chesnut,” and even though I introduce myself as a Chesnut every day, the title still catches me off guard every time. The first time was an insurance person who called to give me a quote I had asked for, and when he asked for Mrs. Chesnut I told him he had the wrong number. (I caught my mistake and we both laughed, but still.)
We’re definitely not where we thought we would be two years in, but hey – at least we got a tropical island anniversary one way or another.
We went to dinner at a place called Spice Mill out on the tip of the island’s peninsula and enjoyed a beautiful view of Nevis as the clouds turned pink overhead. The service was good, the food was impressive and the drive back under a thousand stars was beautiful. A very good night indeed.
I know that in the grand scheme of things two years isn’t much to brag about – and I pray we are blessed with many, many more – but at the same time, I also know a handful of young couples who married shortly after we did and are already divorced. It blows my mind to think it can happen that fast. How do you choose to marry someone and dedicate the rest of your life to him/her, and then four months later suddenly decide you made a mistake? What kind of unrealistic expectations do you have to have for a marriage to get three months in and decide it’s not as wonderful as you thought it would be? I have no idea. I believe that divorce is hated by God and only allowable in instances of unfaithfulness, so the Mister and I already know that is never an option. I’m stuck with him and he’s stuck with me, no matter how many times he may leave his stinky gym clothes in the bathroom floor. (And we did not live together before our wedding either, so we didn’t completely know about all the other one’s household habits beforehand.)
I also believe that love changes over time. There’s the initial fluttery feeling and the I-need-to-be-with-you-all-the-time feeling, but that goes away after a while and is (or should be) replaced by something more mellow – something that doesn’t have to be together every second and allows for two individual lives, but still feels a deep, glowing pride when you overhear someone say that your husband is the best man they’ve ever met. A “he’s mine” sort of feeling that has gotten over being possessive and clingy and crazy. Sometimes the transition from the first form to the second can cause doubts and make you wonder if you’re still even in love at all, but it’s navigating that transition that I think can make or break so many young relationships. Thankfully we got through ours pretty well and are moving on into a more adult phase of our marriage.
We are definitely through the “honeymoon period” and no longer consider ourselves to be newlyweds. I know this because we no longer try to conceal farts, and sometimes we’re just trying to gross each other out. Yeah. Definitely not newlyweds anymore.
We don’t fight, though. We get irritated and frustrated with each other over little things, but I think I can count on less than one hand the number of times I would actually define as a “fight.” I don’t know exactly why that is; it’s not like we have any secret formulas or anything. I guess we just work together well. (Now that’s not to say we won’t ever fight in the future – I’m sure we will. But up to this point it’s been fairly smooth sailing.) I know couples though that fight almost constantly. I know wives that put their husbands down, in public, in front of his friends, purely to let everyone in the room know that she is right and smart and her husband is wrong and stupid. It makes my skin crawl every time it happens and I have to force myself not to go over and give the beaten husband a hug. Oftentimes – at least in the situation I’m thinking of – he didn’t even do or say anything to warrant such a reaction. That’s just the way his wife is. I can’t imagine living that way, and I’m glad the Mister is such a patient personality. (Although keep in mind that patient personalities tend to explode behind closed doors, and the results can be pretty scary. The Mister knocked a clock off the kitchen wall one time with how hard he slammed our front door.)
I guess I say all that to say this —
To all you newlywed, almost-wed and wishing-you-hadn’t-wed couples out there, whether I know you personally or not:
Be excited about your wedding, your marriage and the rest of your lives together – dream big dreams and make big plans – but also realize there will be stinky clothes in the bathroom floor. There will be dishes piling up in the sink; there will be slammed doors and hasty words and days when you wonder if you made the right choice. There will come a time when you look back on the sparkle and butterflies of your dating days and wonder if there’s something wrong with your marriage because that is gone. But don’t let that moment of doubt ruin a relationship that God intends to last for the rest of your lives. You chose the person you are with for a reason, and for better or for worse the two of you have to figure out how to get through whatever obstacles may come. Whether you have to spend a night apart or even seek professional counseling, do what you have to do to make sure that one day doesn’t determine the path of the rest of your lives. Love takes work. It isn’t always sparkle and giggles and romance – as the Mister says, “it’s not all sunshine and daisies” – but it is a choice you make when you wake up every morning. Some days that choice will be harder to make than on other days, but you have to keep making it. Choose your love and love your choice. All my best wishes for you always.