Yesterday marked 9 years that Steve and I have been married. We moved in together about 4 months after meeting each other, got engaged 5 months later, and we were married 9 months after we got engaged. So from the day we met until the day we were married was literally only about a year a half. By today’s standards, that may seem quick to some people. But for us, we just “knew”.
We met in a bar one night. I grew up here where we live now, but was living near Philadelphia at the time in my own apartment. I had been coming home on weekends though to stay at my parents’ house and go out to bars with my sister, who had just turned 21. I walked into the bar and my girlfriends and I kept getting whiffs of cologne. Upon further investigation, we pinpointed that Steve was the wearer of the cologne. My friend, Rosie, went over to talk to him. As soon as I saw him, I knew he was the type of guy I was attracted to. Two hoop earrings in each ear… longish hair… and a smile that lit up the room. Rosie talked to him for about 5 minutes, determined he wasn’t her type, and pulled me over to introduce us. The rest, as they say, is history.
We started talking and didn’t leave each other’s side the rest of the night. It was St. Patrick’s Day weekend, so we did green Jello shots together, chewed tobacco together (shut up… I’ve TOLD you I’m a redneck. And for what it’s worth, neither of us do that anymore. LOL!), and just talked and talked. Before we parted ways that night, Steve asked for my phone number, and having no paper on me, I wrote my name and phone number on a dollar bill. (I still have that dollar bill in my jewelry box in my bedroom).
He called me a few days later and we laughed because he couldn’t read my whole name on the dollar bill. All he could see was “Alli”, so he wasn’t sure what to call me when he called. I swear to god, after that first night, I walked outside at closing time, looked at my friend, and said, “I’m marrying him.” The weird thing is that when Steve left that night, he looked at his friend and said that he was marrying me. Funny how you just “know.”
I’d be totally lying if I said the past 9 years have been perfect. NO marriage is “perfect.” None. But the truth is that Steve and I both agree we have no real complaints when it comes down to it. We’ve had stressful times… hard times… times when we were learning about each other and dealing with it. But none that were so bad that we ever questioned being together. Ever.
The beauty of our marriage is that the longer we’ve been together, the happier we are. This isn’t the case with many of our married friends who throw out comments like, “If it wasn’t for the kids, I’d leave her tomorrow,” and “She’s such a bitch! I never should’ve married her.” Nope. Not for us. Sure, we both have little things we do that annoy the other one to no end. I HATE how Steve leaves damp, used paper towels all over the downstairs. And he hates that I throw my cigarette butts on the side of the house until I pick them up every few days. But we’ve learned to live with each other’s quirks and focus on the good things.
He’s an amazing, understanding husband and father. And as queer and cliche as I know it sounds, he’s my best friend. Some people’s marriages grow stagnant over time, but that’s never happened with us. In fact, I think the longer we’re together, the happier we get. We can finish each other’s sentences. We can read each other’s moods. We know when to push the other person and when to just back off and let the other one sort it out. We know what annoys the other one and try our damndest to not do it (but often fail miserably). Steve knows that after an argument, I need 5 to 10 minutes tops to cool down and then I'm cool with going back to normal with no apologies necessary. I know that Steve just sometimes needs to blow off steam and that the things he’s bitching about have absolutely nothing to do with me or us and that he’ll feel better after just getting it off his chest.
So yes, there are certainly some things you take for granted after being together for an extended period of time. But in our case, time has been nothing but positive. We’re not even remotely stagnant or bored in our relationship. We’re comfortable, which sounds bad, but it isn’t. It’s amazing. Positively, absolutely amazing. Steve, to me, is like that silk blankie or ragged stuffed animal you had when you were a kid. That comfort object that you knew no matter what your day was like, that lovey was going to get you through it. And that when the world was crumbling down around you, you could reach for that object and know that everything would be OK.
So for those of you out there that aren’t married yet or will be soon, please don’t listen to your friends who have grown bored and bitter in their marriages. Because although it certainly happens in some cases, if you’ve found the right person, you’ve found true happiness, regardless of how long you’ve been together. I can say, without an ounce of uncertainty, that Steve and I will be that old, gray couple, sitting on our front porch in 30 years, holding hands and still truly in love. Because I’m lucky enough to have found the person I was truly meant to be with. And that, my friends, is really all I could ever ask for. I’m not a big believer in that whole “soul mate” theory, but I will say that if there was such a thing, then I’ve struck gold and found mine.
Steve is my true love. And as gay as that sounds (and yes, I realize how gay it is to talk like that), I can’t help it. Because he really, truly is the person I was meant to be with….
PS: And so as not to make you think I’ve gone off the deep end, getting all weird and sappy, let me tell you about the anniversary card Steve gave me. Marge and Homer Simpson are dancing together on the front and it says, “With beer and regular bathroom breaks, I could dance with you forever.” The inside says, “Life is good.” LOL! See? He can read me like a book. You’ve gotta love the guy. ;)
PPS: I had every intention of including some of our scanned wedding photos in this post, but never got around to actually scanning them. However, tomorrow is Saturday, which means no work shit to deal with. So I will do just that and post them. Because, well, it’ll be fun. LOL!