Today is wedding anniversary #9 for my husband and I. As a general rule, I do not speak details of my personal relationships on Facebook. My opinion, old school as it may be, is that one person's intimate life details are not eligible for another person to publicize on social media.
The one clear and purposeful exception I make is in the explanation of love I have for my husband Keith. I could mush on and on about him all day. He never stops surprising me with new ways of showing how much he loves me. And honestly, after nine years, I love the guy more every day.
I tell you these details, not to make you believe we live a fairytale life. But to show an example of what getting back up after being knocked down looks like. We've both been married before, that will give you enough trust issues to float an ark. But it's different being in a marriage with someone who wants the same things you want, who you can openly communicate with without fear of retribution, who you trust with your biggest fears and failures, who lays down his pride for you and has vowed to give up his life for you...
That's my husband.
If you're one of our neighbors, you've likely heard him screaming cuss words in the driveway while fixing a motor. You know how sorry I am. Thank you for not calling the police. I promise, he's harmless.
If you're in our family or one of our friends, you've likely experienced an episode of PTSD or anxiety with Keith. If you have, you know. If you haven't, you will. There's nothing you can/can't do or say to manifest this. Again, he's harmless. Treat him like a human being and he'll act like a human being. If you ask, he will also sit down and tell you about his PTSD, the symptoms he has, how this affects his everyday life.
Today, I get to share my overflowing love for this patient man.
About once a week, I'll ask him if he knows how much I love him. Monday afternoon, he was seeming kind of cranky so I sat down next to him on the couch.
"Do you know how much I love you?" I asked. No response, not even an eye blink.
[Sidenote: Keith has hearing loss from years of repetitive weapon fire. I am an expert at determining deafness from selective hearing.]
I asked again, a little louder this time, "Babe! Do you know how much I love you?"
"Huh?" He looks at me like I'm nuts (which perhaps I am, interrupting Game of Thrones).
I repeat myself once more, and he presses pause on the remote control.
Here we go...
He turns his entire body to face me and in a mostly sarcastic voice says, "Now, what is it that I can do for you?"
I proceeded to have a face-to-face conversation with my husband about how much I loved him, his meaningful place in my life and the universe. Then I asked him if he believed me. And did he believe I would love him with my entire heart until my dying day.
His answer...? Meh.
Most of you who know Keith know he was messing with me at this point. I knew also. But in that moment, when your spouse has taken the time to stop his TV show, something has been making him cranky, and he rates your love as a lukewarm 3/10 on the eternal scale, kidding or not, you keep talking. As my husband learned, it's difficult to be cranky with your wife in your lap, holding your face while you speak. I literally can only stay mad at him for anything, three hours max. Which includes the time he realizes I'm angry.
Maybe communicating through hardship seems like conventional relationship advice. Not texting or tweeting. Face to actual face, phones in another room (gasp!) conversation. I know, no time. There's always time until there is no time.
Some people think if your first (or second, or third) marriage didn't end up gloriously, you "settled" when you married again. I'm calling bull$hit on that, which is part of the reason I share this.
Wherever you are in your life, right now, you probably have some plan in mind for your life. What your future looks like in school, your career, with your family, traveling, hobbies and adventures.
Then something traumatic happens. Completely and totally unexpected. You thought you knew pain in this moment. Then pain came to haunt you. The unimaginable changes you.
We all have something. That thing that has knocked us down, kicked us in the gut, left us feeling like the bottom of the barrel. Sometimes more than once. That doesn't mean you're worth less as a person, deserve less, feel less, hurt less. It is your responsibility to decide how to get back up when something or someone knocks you down. Trust me, getting back up is completely worth it.
Happy anniversary to my husband, Keith. In good times and bad, sickness and health, I hope you'll always know how much I truly love you.