Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Eighteen Years

Eighteen years ago today, we got married. In one of the standard story arcs, that is the end of a story. Perhaps in one sense it was. If drama is built around conflict, our few periods of conflict, looking back, were mostly prior to getting married, the rest of the tensions of a long engagement plus the faltering early steps of a very young couple still trying to get used to living out the rules for avoiding strife that we knew but had not internalized.

But looking back it seems clear that there is much more story, much more change, if very little conflict, in the eighteen years since our marriage than the nearly four years we'd known each other prior to it.

Indeed, there's been change enough that looking back over those eighteen years the couple that got married that June day in Los Angeles, they seem a slightly foreign pair whose motivations can be a little hard to remember.

If there were something I could reach back and urge that young couple to do differently, it would be not to worry so much about proving that we were our own independent entity. The young are often urgent to prove their independence, and looking back this caused us to do things that were unnecessary. Our plans for our own wedding were over-influenced by a desire to be different from other people's weddings. And as we settled into early married life, although we lived very near my parents we saw less of them than we could have: My mother who had experienced a somewhat suffocating mother-in-law was determined not to force the family on us, and we were equally determined to show that we could live our own independent lives. Of course we could, but if I had known how little time I had left with my father alive, I would have acted differently.

Something that I'm very grateful for from those early days is that several older couples we made friends with in the first years of our marriage managed to take us seriously despite our youthful brashness. It's very helpful to interact with couples who have been married longer, and looking back I particularly value those friendships even though miles and years have come between us.

Eighteen years is something of an inflection point. Next year, our eldest child will be legally an adult. In another five or six years, we may have our own children contemplating embarking upon marriage. In four years, we'll reach the point where we'll have been married half our lives.

It's been a very good eighteen years, and we're deeply grateful for them. We hope that there are many more yet to come.


Brandon said...

Happy anniversary! May there indeed be many more to come.

Antoinette said...

Happy anniversary. In Judaism, each letter has a numerical value. The word chai [to life] is eighteen when you add the numbers of the letters so many Jews give money in groups of 18 to symbolize life.

Consider that eighteen is also a legal adult so your marriage is an adult today.

Bob the Ape said...

Happy anniversary!

Rob Alspaugh said...

Happy Anniversary! You both still look the same to me.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations & a belated happy anniversary! God grant you both many many more. You may not realise it, but you are now acting out that role of the 'slightly older married couple' (relative to young single and married adults), and that example of Christian married love is vital in these times.