As 2015 marks the year of my fifth wedding anniversary, I find my mind wandering over the past ten years of life with my husband. He came into my life when I was not even remotely interested in beginning something new. I had been bullied throughout my teens, leaving my confidence fragile and wounds that ran deep in my psyche. I had barely left a relationship that took me three (if not more) years to work up the courage to end. That relationship happened during a period of my life where exponential personal growth allowed me to tentatively take my first few steps into adulthood, and I had the misguided idea that I owed my ex for this journey. Once I realized the answer was in me all along (and clicked my heels three times), I was ready to fly. I was a chronic relationship girl ready to step into my own, and a husband was not on my radar in the slightest!
According to Brian, he had interest in me long before I knew who he was. We worked together at a local gym, and I knew his father and brother long before I knew of his existence. The men in his family were known to be charming, attractive and trouble (or so I was told, and a fact they proudly endorse). Still, much to my chagrin, a few upside down push up’s (he was an irritatingly fit meathead) and some persistent friends forced me to consider a date with Brian. I did not take our time together seriously at all. I was having fun, and I refused to let some macho big mouth deter me. We spent a year or so alternating between intense magnetism and extreme dislike. We took turns calling each other on the other’s bull shit. I am not a gambler, but looking back we repeatedly went all in on a regular basis.
About a year and a half into our on-again-off-again drama, Brian’s grandfather passed away. Without thinking, I dropped everything to be by his side. I witnessed his grief, and experienced firsthand how deep his love ran. I was in awe at how large his community was, and realized then how profound his impact on others truly was. Decades long friendships were a testament to his character. Slowly, I began to realize this loud, hot-tempered, cocky man who was fun to party with was weaseling his way into my heart. I’d like to say it was happily every after from there, but of course we had lots of growing pains left to overcome. We loved as hard as we fought. Our highs were the brightest of the bright and our lows the most painful pangs my heart has experienced. We frustrated our friends and family, who couldn’t keep up with our temperamental and fickle hearts.
Day after day, I saw him interacting with his personal training clients (who were often little old ladies) and was amazed at how he treated everyone with the same level of respect, whether the CEO of a million dollar company or a random stranger who had fallen on the side of the road who he pulled over and jumped out to pick up and give a ride to (yes, that actually happened). Week after week, I met more and more of his friends and family, astounded that one person could actually know as many people as he did. Time and time again, they would pull me aside to tell me how I had “the good one”, how Brian was the kindest, most genuine friend, brother, son, cousin, uncle, co-worker they knew.
Despite all the drama, one thing that never wavered was dedication and commitment to our roller coaster love. We both share old-fashioned ideals about marriage that clicked for us from day one. There was no giving up on us. We had an unspoken bond that drew us together over and over. If we had a fight, we duked it out. Of course, sometimes one of us walked away with more bruises (emotional, not literal) than the other, but over time the intense extremes became less. We learned how to communicate, how to compromise, how to forgive, and how to grow together. We held each other accountable and didn’t let each other shy away from doing the tough emotional work. We shared the load together, and when one of us stumbled the other we carried the load for us both.
After moving into our home, my husband and I undertook the task of opening boxes that hadn’t been opened since prior to us getting together. To my delight, my husband uncovered a list he made for himself years before meeting me. He and I have a shared history of being hopeless romantics who allowed our hearts to be dragged through the mud for the sake of other’s happiness. After a particularly rough ending for him, he decided to get clear on his vision of a perfect partner. He wrote in great detail what he wanted, poured all his soul into this project, and put it away. Manifesting through writing, intention and visions boards are a relatively new practice for us, and the universe has amazed me yet again that so long ago he instinctually knew how to ask for what he needed in his life. Miraculously, his list described me in stunning detail.
This sparked a memory of a similar list I created long ago. My love of romance has been in my blood since before birth. I came into this world knowing that I would experience a great love. My heart searched frantically for it. Of course, as a teenager and young adult who was naïve to the world, this led to MANY missteps and mistakes. But through all the heart break, I always knew I’d get right back in the saddle because my love was out there and he was waiting. I’d love to say I found my list, but I have not. However, I actually remember a lot of it clearly. Of course my love would be rich, tall, handsome, charming, kind, etc, etc. I distinctly remember at one point deciding his name would be “Brian” because that was a “hot guy’s name”. Obviously I had my priorities straight.
The best gift my husband has given me is genuine, unabashed love and the decision to choose that love over and over. We are literally that couple that you want to hate but can’t (mostly because my husband is so damn charming). I joke often how Brian has a knack of making people instantly his best friend, and he can often be seen at gatherings with a trail of enamored children hanging on his every silly joke. Friends exclaim to me regularly about how “amazing” he is, and I always jab him with a “Yeah, I don’t really see it”. But the truth is I see it every day. There is not a day that goes by that he doesn’t love me with his whole heart and soul. Even on my worst days, he grits his teeth and rides it out with me. He is the definition of a partner. He is my loudest cheerleader, and taught me to never give up. He pushes me to follow my dreams, wipes my tears and challenges the negative voices in my head trying to hold me back. He has patiently soothed old wound after old wound, sometimes without even realizing the wounds were there. He brings me out of my shell, and encourages me to put my bravest face forward even when I am terrified of what others might think. I will even admit that all his lame, tired jokes that I’ve heard a million times still make my heart happy because they are a part of him.
Until you have met him, you will not fully grasp what it means to be known by him. His gift to the world is to find value and grace in each experience. He lives life with reckless abandon, and will give you his whole heart and the shirt off his back. He laughs easily and loves deeply. He is one of those people in life where even just the briefest encounter with him leaves you feeling as if you have just experienced something magical.
Happy Anniversary to my partner, my friend, my love. Thank you for choosing me to share this journey. Thank you for seeing my completeness and raising it to heights I didn’t think possible. From the depths of my heart and soul, I love you.