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16th Anniversary

Marriage is hard. Not nearly as hard as my head but hard nevertheless. It’s just hard to be nice 5840 days in a row. My daughter keeps asking why so and so can’t be her sister because said friend would treat her sooooo much nicer than her actual siblings. I can’t seem to make her understand that relationships change when you live together. Everyone gets annoying eventually. And marriage, they say, lets you annoy one special person for the rest of your life. Or you could learn to love, embrace, nurture and support one special person for the rest of your life. It sounded doable 16 years ago.

Turns out I am a fickle marathon lover. I do love sprints best. But the day in, day out, for better and for worse sort of love is different. At times my nurture is effortless. Other times it comes with strings attached. Sometimes I stockpile expectations, judge quickly, keep record of wrongs. I can be opinionated and obnoxious. Always right. Sometimes I don’t care to use any self restraint. I loathe conflict and let things slide. Other times I explode. I forget to be grateful or thoughtful or respectful, take everything for granted including the spouse who sticks around.

Sometimes I am generous and intentional, happy and creative. Sometimes I dream big dreams and work tirelessly to make them happen. Sometimes I endure, don’t stop believing, hoping, trusting. Sometimes everything goes wrong despite my best intentions.

Years ago I spent about 57 hours online planning a perfect little romantic getaway to Italy. Except a few things didn’t go as planned and romance turned into rage until we felt like pushing each other off a cliff. Slight exaggeration. No actual pushing occurred. But it was late and dark and we were hungry and tired and got off the bus 4 stops too early. This meant lugging our stuff along a poorly lit, very narrow mountain road to our hotel. “Great vacation!” my husband mocked. “We are going to die on this road!” “Oh, don’t be ridiculous!” I snarled back. Just then an italian vehicle blasted past us, nearly knocking us off our feet. We hurled a few more insults before falling silent.

Last month we attempted another romantic trip. I booked our flights to Barcelona and an airbnb in less than 30min. (I no longer have time for perfectionism) Then I reminded myself that things go wrong on trips and that we tend to fight more. I thought this would help with expectations. Then I decided to delegate the detailed daily planning to the husband. At least I could blame him if things went wrong. Surprisingly, nothing bad happened. I felt nervous leaving the kids. We did get into a couple of fights but not the cliff pushing kind. One day we rented a car. I drove while husband navigated. We went up the coast and into France. In the evening he wanted to keep going but I wanted to turn around. We worked it out without hurling any insults. Overall we enjoyed each other’s company and had a lot of fun. Definite progress. I wonder how much less annoying we can be in another 5840 days? Can’t wait to find out! Happy 16th anniversary!



8 Replies

  1. Trent Wilkins

    Takes work & God, for sure. Welcome to the crazy planet! You are bless!

  2. Shauna Cruttenden

    Happy Anniversary. Love your writing. God has given you a great talent. All the best for your future.

  3. Shawna

    Happy Anniversary! I was laughing out loud. May you and the tomcat have many more happy years together–from the Little Froggy.

  4. Erin Presby

    Love this! Congrats on 16 years — no small feat and something I have much more respect for after not quite 2 years of marriage then I did before. There’s something about travel and fighting for us too. Or at least in the first couple days of it and yet we also love it immensely.

    At some point I should write about our fight in immense heat while jet legged and hungry in the middle of a place in Istanbul, which was interrupted incessantly by a man trying to sell us carpets…

  5. Rebecca Clark

    This is true for every marriage! My husband and I have been married 15 years and I get this!

    1. Astrid Melton

      Congrats on 15 years ! Not easy but worth the effort

  6. Jennifer Murphy

    Happy anniversary, Astrid! I love hearing of the adventures you share, how you connect with your husband, your multifaceted details, wit, and humor. We are soon going to have our 11th anniversary (18 years together). What a gift it is to get to annoy (and love) one person in holy matrimony. <3

    1. Astrid Melton

      Sounds like a bittersweet milestone for you. Grief surely changes the way we love. When is your anniversary?

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