The wind has a chilling bite today. I tried to go running, but I am a wimp in winter weather. After less than half a mile, I turned around and barely made it back home without crying.
Tanner, on the other hand, left the house at 7 o’clock this morning and ran the full 7 miles to work. So, as I sit here warming my freezing hands with a hot cup of coffee, I am reminded once again of the super-human nature of my husband.
Today marks two years of marriage for Tanner and me. In that time, our disagreements have begun to look less like arguments and more like discussions, our plans have changed from what we desired as individuals to what we hope for as a family, and I believe our love has grown a bit more selfless in the process of living together.
Some days are exciting, and others very mundane. When we’re not working or bingeing on Netflix or travelling back to Texas, we go to new places and have new adventures. Lately it’s just been return trips to New York City, but we’ve gone on a camping trip with some friends to Virginia and on another trip to Assateague Island to see wild ponies.
Year two has also been a time for us to take our first real financial risks by buying a house and investing in stocks. Tanner wants to be able to retire at 35 so he can focus on pursuits that might not bring in a big paycheck. I am all for that idea, so we’re trying to make 2016 a year of restraint and frugality—the exception being our upcoming trip to Ireland. So far, our plan for saving money has involved making two large pots of soup to last us through the week. Needless to say, we will probably forego the romantic steak dinner tonight, but that’s alright with me because we have plenty of chocolate in the house and Tanner has promised to make a fire on the back porch and drink coffee with me.
Along with moving across the country and feeling like real adults for the first time ever, Tanner and I did not spend more than a day apart from one another in our second year of marriage. Whether this is normal or not, I am incredibly grateful for it. I love that we spend so much time face-to-face not only because neither of us is any good at reading emotion over the phone or via text, but also because I love watching Tanner’s face when he talks. I love watching him struggle so unsuccessfully to hide a goofy smile when he’s joking. I love the intense look he has when he furrows his brow during a deep philosophical conversation. I love the way his eyes light up with excitement and energy during one of our healthy debates about completely ridiculous topics. And, I absolutely adore and cannot even describe the look he has when he tells me he loves me. That’s the best by far.
I never thought much about being someone’s wife when I was growing up, and I pretty much gave up on the idea after I finished my freshman year of college. So, the fact that I have been married now for two years, while it’s no significant amount of time for most, is pretty unbelievable to me. Every single day, without fail, I am reminded that the greatest person I’ve ever known chose to spend the rest of his life with me. I am reminded in the patience he shows me when I am acting like a spoiled child. I am reminded when he puts my towel in the dryer so it will be warm when I get out of the shower after a long day of travel. I am reminded when he rubs my size 9.5 feet and tells me that they’re beautiful. I’m reminded when he looks at me with those gorgeous brown eyes of his and tells me he loves me, and there’s no doubt in my mind whatsoever that he means it. It’s baffling and humbling to be loved in a way I never thought I would be.
People tell us all the time that our affection will fade—that we are still in the honeymoon phase and eventually we won’t want to spend every moment together, or any time at all for that matter. What an awful and depressing view of marriage.
I’m not naïve. I know things will change and it won’t always be easy. I know because things have already changed and sometimes that hasn’t been easy. But if I’ve learned anything in the past two years, it’s that the happiest marriage exists when two people are willing to recognize what the other person is doing right and to consider what they both could do differently. I know better than most how difficult this is, but I think Tanner is more than worth the struggle. I think remaining excited about seeing him come through the door every day after work is worth the trouble of having occasional awkward conversations instead of harboring bitter resentment for one another. And, I think being able to look at him and say “I love you” with genuine affection is worth reminding myself, in an increasingly mushy blog post, about how amazing he is.
So, today mine and Tanner’s little life together is one year older. After I finish up work and Tanner runs the 7 miles back to our house, we’ll sit on our back porch and drink coffee and sit as close as we can to the fire without singeing our clothes or eyebrows. Tanner will tell me he loves me, and I’ll smile and say I love him too. And it won’t be hyper romantic and I won’t post any cheesy love note to him on Facebook (unless you count this) and we’ll be happy to just sit and talk like only good friends can do. And that’s perhaps the best and most cliche part of this whole being married thing because at the end of the day, before he’s the guy of my dreams or my knight in shining armor, he’s the best friend I’ve ever had.