This morning Christopher called into work to see what he was doing for the day (yup I hate that part of his job too). He had to work visitation for a funeral afternoon and evening, giving him the morning off. At first I was upset because I hate when he has to work nights, then I was excited because it meant that I had him all to myself, not interruptions from the kids. Since becoming parents almost 21 years ago we rarely have time just the two of us.
Oh it was so romantic watching Netflix (without the and chill). Ok it was not romantic, but it was nice to make it through an episode of The Last Kingdom without "Mom can you wash my black pants for tomorrow", " I need $200 dollars for our class trip tomorrow", "I promised the teacher that you would sew costumes for our entire class for tomorrow", or "DADDDDDYYYYY come kill this lady bug, it's freak'in me out!" We were able to just be. We snuggled together on the couch, just being. I realized after I stomped my foot like a child because he had to go to work, that I really love that guy. I mean I didn't realize just in that moment that I loved him (don't get me wrong there are times that I lean quite a bit away from love), it was one of those moments when reality hits you.
I have known Christopher for longer than I have not. I have known those big hands, and that funny nail on his finger that the doctor shot with something to kill a wart when he was little and it dwarfed his nail. I can close my eyes and see those hands, every scar, every hair, every mole just as easily as if I was looking directly at it. I KNOW him, and in return he KNOWs me. We have a history.
This past August 21, I became Tristan "Lindsay" for as long as I was Tristan "Haynes". As I write this I have been Tristan "Lindsay" for longer than I was ever "Haynes". I marvel at this considering the divorce rate. I marvel at our longevity when I look at the relationships of some of the people I have known in those 22 years, our friends and family members who's relationships are broken, or just couldn't make it. How can it be that we have been married for almost 22 and a half years and yet I feel like we were just those two goofy kids at York?
Before I give you the notion that I am gloating about my happy marriage, please know that I am not. Do not think for a minute that we are "soul mates" and that these past 22 years have been a walk in the park. There are days (and not all of them all that far in the past) that I have plotted his murder. How angry would he be if I just pushed him down the stairs? If it doesn't kill him, how angry would he be if I took this pillow and really put my weight into smothering his snoring stupid face, and could I with my lack luster upper body strength? No these past 22 years have been damned hard work, and there have been times along the way I wondered if he was worth all of the effort.
I will not lie and say that we have grown into one person, that's a lie. 22 years do change people, but not that much. We are two very different people, and that's why we are still together, honestly I couldn't stand to live with me. We both know that we are very irritating people and that if we ever did split up no one else would be able to stand either of us, so we are better off together. We agree on all of the important things, the deal breakers, and that is something that we have worked at. We changed the way we fought. To begin with we fought for supremacy and not to have our voice heard. I was in it for blood, and he longed to inflict psychological damage. Now when we fight we do it like civilized adults, oh there's yelling sometimes, and an occasionally the odd below the belt hit, but for the most part there is no blood or psychological damage. Most important we shield the kids from it. If we are in a massive fight we are honest with the kids and tell them that their Dad and I are upset with each other, but it's between us and we will get over it.
Right now, at this very second in time I am very much in love with my husband. We have 5 beautiful children together, children we adore (most of the time). We truly are best friends, he knows me better than I know myself. We have walked a difficult road together, but no matter how many bumps tiny or gargantuan earthquakes, we end up on the other side together. Love is not enough. Love is that warm and fuzzy thing, but it is not the only thing that has held us together. Sometimes it has just been sheer brute force determination. We have put too much time into this relationship to just bail out. Sometimes I miss the days of the butterflies that you feel when you are in a new relationship, but those butterflies are not worth what we have. Besides, sometimes I still get those butterflies when I see him in a suit, or when he's been working a lot and he calls to say that he's coming home, sometimes it's just his deep voice on the phone or saying that he's home.
Marriage is not easy and I think that is why so many people fail. We think that what we see on television and movies is real. We think that good marriages are always happy and that we are always mad with lust for each other. The truth is something very different. The truth is that a good marriage is worth its weight in gold, but it is hard work, every single day. There are the days of bliss and days of plague and locusts. It takes two people who love each other, but are committed to fighting for their marriage. It takes the knowledge that you can be both best friends and then hate each other, and then work it out. It means putting someone else's needs ahead of your own, but that applies to both of you, and like they teach you in kindergarten "SHARE", and take turns.
I sit here, right now this second feeling very blessed to have someone who loves me and has been able to put up with me that many years. I sit here missing my husband and looking forward to seeing him again tonight. I sit here realizing that all of our hard work has been more than worth it, and that we are lucky to have made it.