Today is our first anniversary. It’s also 6 years and 2 days since we first started dating. I can’t say it’s been the easiest year, but no year is easy. I’m still glad a year later that we got married and I believe we’ve learned a lot in the whole process too. Being together for 5 years taught us a good deal about relationships, but actually living together brought a whole new set of learning-challenges.
But we’re learning.
This is actually the anniversary of our 2nd wedding. You see, like any good philosopher, Micah believes in putting his principles into practice. He’s the one who formally articulated what we both believed…and after some discussion we figured out what we wanted to do.
You see, we both believe that the state doesn’t really have anything to do with saying what a marriage is and isn’t. Or it shouldn’t. A government, for instance, can’t tell you who any of your other relationships are. It may have a say in who is your guardian, but it can’t tell you who is or isn’t your friend. Or who is or isn’t your girlfriend. Or fiance.
Marriage is really what the two people in it make of it.
What a government needs is a way for couples to register that they’re forming this partnership (or holy covenant–the same thing, except holy–depending on your religious tradition) with each other. Anyway, that’s why we like the idea of civil unions. We like all the rights that come with government “marriage.” We just believe that we could be equally as married if we had a small service with ourselves and/or our families and friends with no license as we could with a proper license.
Ideally, we would have gotten a civil union because we like that it doesn’t use the word marriage. And its name acknowledges what it really is. However we were planning to get married in either Maryland or Delaware and neither of those states offer civil unions. Since the DE clerk of the peace would only perform ceremonies on Wednesdays and we wanted to do it on the anniversary of our relationship (a Thursday…we would have been married that day but it’s less convenient for others) we decided to go to Elkton, MD, who’ll pretty much marry anyone any day. Micah was already a Maryland resident so it was quite easy.
It was rather fun. We wore pretty clothes, just the two of us, repeated after the clerk, and then drove off to continue our final preparations down at the apartment.
On Saturday, we had a wonderful real wedding with our family and friends, officiated by a professor/minister I’d known well at college.
After the reception, we decided to do something simple before going on the honeymoon. So we changed, packed up the car, and went off to Border’s for iced coffee and books, as it’s one of our favorite things to do. Then we had the honeymoon, which I’m going to choose not to remember because I don’t have to.
I wish I could tell you that our first year of marriage has been bunnies, joy, and smoothness. But it hasn’t. And that’s ok. Because life never is bunnies and joy and smoothness, at least not for extended periods. But it’s still good at times.
In fact, when I spoke in the sharing time at church yesterday that we’d been married for a year, I mentioned that it hadn’t been easy the whole way. Afterward, several people thanked me for saying that, because it hadn’t been easy for them either and they thought more people should come out about it.
I’m trying to think of a good way to end this post. I can’t pretend that I have some deep insights into marriage and relationships. Sometimes it seems like I’m being a great wife, sometimes I screw up. Micah’s the same. How ’bout I share the one thing that I’ve learned over and over again this year?
Most of the time, what matters is that it works for you as a couple.
Whether it’s division of labor, division of finance, in the kitchen, in the bedroom, anywhere, what really matters is what works for you. Whatever the end goal is, there’s generally not a moral right or wrong to it (who does the dishes, for instance). What makes the two of you feel like you’re leading a happy and balanced relationship, not bitter towards each other or feeling like you’re doing the lion’s share but happy that the other person is so helpful—that’s what you should work toward. We’re still figuring that out, but I think we’ve got it in a few places.
It may make you feel strange, but if you’re also happy then it’s ok to be strange.