What Seven Years Looks Like

My husband and I celebrated our seven-year wedding anniversary this week.
It hasn’t always been easy.
To be quite honest, it has been really hard.
It could even be called suckish at times.
Let me be clear, being married to him hasn’t been the hard part.
It’s the circumstances since we’ve been married that have been particularly brutal.

 

 

Our wedding day.
Look how in love.
How naïve.
How happy.
That’s okay, there are meds for that now.

 

In honor of our seven-year anniversary, I could write a mushy love story.
A love letter to my soul mate.
This won’t be one of those posts.

 

We took this picture of our feet after a rare dinner out alone.
We walked out onto the beach of Lake Michigan.
And got yelled at by the manager of the restaurant.
Oh and I felt like my feet looked fat.
Because I had just downed an entire pizza.

 

 

What Seven Years Looks Like

A 14 hour day apart with no phone call or text.
So excited to spend some time together alone for the first time in a month and end up falling asleep. At 9:30.
Sex? What’s sex?
No longer folding his boxer shorts. Because I am revolting.
Feeling like we are on two different “shifts” at work and meeting at the punch clock every single morning.
When we are getting along, the kids aren’t. When the kids are getting along, we aren’t.
Going on a date night. To the grocery store.
If he takes one more poop in the toilet I just cleaned, I will murder him and make it look like an accident.

This is life.
Not at all what they portray in the movies.
Or in Modern Bride.
The above should be a life class.
Offered at community colleges all over North America titled, “What To Expect When You Take The Plunge. Oh and By The Way, Bring A Plunger”.

 

Pregnant with Ellie.
Amid the tension of life.
Not at all glowing.
Now take the above and add in the following:

My parents, who lived three minutes away, were transferred three and a half hours away.
My mom was diagnosed and treated for cancer.
The hubs lost his job.
I found out I was pregnant.
My gramma passed away.
I gave birth.
My brother and sister-in-law (who lived 8 minutes away) were transferred 8 hours away.
I struggled with post-partum depression.
My husband working 14-16 hour days.
He lost another job due to the economy.
Mother in law stops speaking to me right after my entire family moves away.
Health problems.
MORE health problems.

There are more little things that seemed like huge things but these are the biggest of the huge things.

A lot.
Of.
Stuff.
Happened.
In.
Seven.
Years.

 

We look happy to be here.
Don’t we.
Ellie has it right.
Pull the hat over her eyes and it might all be better.

 

Add to this one more teeny element that I will share with you.

My first marriage ended.
On our seven-year anniversary.

I don’t normally talk about my previous life because truthfully, I don’t like my ex husband very much.
But this milestone isn’t lost on me.
I know it’s just a number.
I know that was a totally different circumstance.
I was a totally different person.
And it was a totally different marriage.
But it is there.
Like a glaring neon sign.

SEVEN YEARS = FAILURE

The hubs and I may have just celebrated our seven-year wedding anniversary but we have been together as a couple for almost 11 years.
And have been friends for 20 years this summer.
So there’s this history and camaraderie that I can’t explain.
Like being married to your friend.
I know that sounds cliché but it’s how it feels.
I look into his eyes and see him at 23 and remember meeting him that July night at the Taste of Chicago.

 

Young, stupid and drunk is no way to go through life.

 

I feel like in my first marriage, I gave up.
I walked away.
Because I was done.
I had secretly gone through years of struggle with my decision to marry him and misery of being married to him that when I finally had enough, I just couldn’t go on anymore.

 

 

It never fails.
I look good in a picture, the hubs doesn’t.
I look bad, he looks good.
I look like I left my dentures on the nightstand in this one.

 

I can remember sitting in therapy with my ex husband, his last ditch effort to save “us” after YEARS of me begging him to go and just staring at my shoes.
I wanted to feel again.
Something.
Anything.
I was numb for seven long years and I wanted to feel again.

 

Trying on our wedding bands.
Two days before our wedding.
Now I couldn’t pry that ring off if I wanted to.
Not that I would ever want to.

 

 

Fast forward 12 years later and I am definitely not numb.
I have felt everything over the past seven years.
I have loved my husband every single day of this seven-year marriage with every bit of my being.
And have never ever felt like giving up.
Or staring at my shoes through therapy.
Because even though we have had awful, awful things to go through, he never tried to “fix” them.
He rode the wave alongside me.

 

A family that plays Wii together, stays together.
Or at most, gets really good at Just Dance 2.

 

 

The day my parents moved away, he had Kleenex, chocolate and a People magazine waiting for me.

When my mom was diagnosed with the cancer, he sat up with me all night while I cried.

When my brother moved, he obliged me and drove me by their house ( and my parents house for that matter) every week. (What? I was hormonal!)
When my dear gramma went to Heaven, he flew to Ohio for the funeral and to be with a pregnant me. With his long hours it meant flying in the middle of the night, spending the day, then flying back home that evening.

When he would lose a job, he would be pounding the pavement 10 hours a day and wouldn’t sleep or eat until he found something.

When Ellie was newborn, he got up every night with her because he knew I was with her for 14 hours straight.

When my mil stopped talking to me, he went to her house told her how wrong she was and never pushed me to be the bigger person.

When the ex is being crappy, my husband puts on his game face so I don’t have to.

 

Us at the beginning of our relationship.
Before cancer, moves and job losses.

 

My husband is a man.
In the true sense of the word.
And I love him.

Has it been hard?
Hellz yeah.

Have we wanted to hate each other at times?
Umm, yes.

Have we gone days without speaking?
Of course.
Ok, maybe just one day at a time.
But still…..

Seven years is just a drop in the bucket, I realize this.
Some of you “old timers” are laughing at this, I know.
It’s all good.
I plan on being here for the long haul and someday, on our 25th anniversary, will read this and laugh too.
At how trivial these issues are.
At how, in retrospect, fast those years flew by.
At how all of that “stuff” that happened to us in the first seven years was put there to make us stronger.
To make us depend on each other a little harder.
To bring us closer together not draw us apart.
I get it now but back then, it seemed insurmountable.
Like climbing a mountain.
We are slowly climbing the peak of that mountain and this view…..this view…..it is becoming amazing.

Thank you for being on this hard, sweaty, horrible, amazing, incredible climb with me, Mike.
I will be with you all the way.
And have a water waiting for you at the bottom.

 

Somehow, we look happier.
And younger.
Okay, don’t push it.

 

11 thoughts on “What Seven Years Looks Like

  1. pocketfulofjoules.com

    Happy Anniversary!

    I love this post. Yes, marriage is hard and it is obvious that you have chosen wisely this time. I've also had a little anxiety about the 7 years thing… because my husband and I have been together for 7 years (married for almost 5) and I have this little fear that he might trade me in for a younger, thinner, nicer model. Or I may kill him. One or the other.

  2. Shannon from Deepest Worth

    I don't really know what to say except I love you and I love this post. And now I can't wait to meet your husband and give him a big hug (would that freak him out?) because he sounds like he's a good guy and has been good to you, my friend.
    You are right. Marriage can be hard, even when it is good. I've been married almost 18 years to my friend as well. It may sound corny, but it works for me.

  3. Bec@littlelucylu

    AWESOME post, Kari! 🙂
    I've often wondered if you were married before or what … but I always forget to ask! (I'm sure you've talked about it here before, but we both know how great I am at reading blogs these days : )~

    If only more people could realize that marriage isn't all diamonds and roses (and sex! lol! : )~

    I remember 7 years was a rough one for us … and I remember thinking … "hmmm, maybe there is something to that whole 7-year-itch thing!?!"

    I think at some point, we just reached the realization that there is no PERFECT marriage – it's been a heckuva lot easier since. 🙂

    (We are almost to 13 years!) (Yes, I was YOUNG when we got married. Really.)

    Hope you're having a good week … I'm headed out for a run soon (after 3 days of Jillian. UGH!)
    HUGS!
    Bec

  4. Kari at A Grace Full Life

    Julie- He wont trade you in, you are a GEM. 🙂

    Rebecca- I look to your relationship for inspiration all the time. Love you, friend.

    Shannon- I am totally givin' your hubs a hug when I meet him, so they can be freaked out together!

    Bec- WOW! I didn't realize you had been married for that long! Yes, I kinda don't talk about my "past". It sounds all mystical!! Its not.
    Seven years is kinda creepy, glad that milestone is ovah!

  5. Karmen

    Such a great post! Thanks for being transparent–marriage isn't a fairy tale. It is hard, awesome, ugly and fantastically exhausting work. So. worth. it. Thanks for the peak into your great marriage.

  6. Lisa Packer

    This is a beautiful post. I have to admit I teared up a bit. This should be required reading for everyone prior to marriage. I think too many people focus on the wedding, and don't give as much thought to the lifetime of marriage that follows. It takes work, and it's not all a Williams Sonoma ad! Sharing this.

  7. Jeanette Nyberg

    Aw hell, girl. You just made me teary. What a beautiful, lovely testament to how a great relationship can get you through a whole lotta bullshit. We've been through a whole lotta bad, too, but I would go through it all again for him. And 7 years is amazing- you deserve all of the wonderfulness of a great marriage. XO

  8. Marianne

    When he brought you chocolate, Kleenex & a People Magazine, I felt completely confident that you have a marriage for the ages. Great post. And you married a man…so important to note the difference between that and the embryos some women marry. LOVED THIS!

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