Last year. on our 2 year anniversary, I blogged about marrying again after a traumatic and devastating divorce. How my second marriage was radically different from my first, and how 2 years still seemed like newlywed territory to me (with my first marriage lasting days shy of 13 years).
Today is our 3rd wedding anniversary. “Our” history has another year under its belt.
My husband still thanks me for doing the laundry every weekend, and paying the bills. He still crows triumphantly and gleefully when I bring him home his favorite IPA 6 pack; he still suddenly, and apropos of nothing, will turn to me and exclaim, “Have I told you how much I love you today?”
He still looks at me like this, my favorite photo from our wedding.
And despite the daily stress and grind of work and bills and life, he can still make me laugh like this on a regular basis.
Unlike last year, when despite 2 years of marriage (and nearly 4 years together), I still felt like our relationship was brand new, I feel more … settled. Don’t get me wrong, I still can’t see us together more than a few years in the future (thank you PTSD), and I don’t take our relationship for granted, but I no longer feel like we’re still figuring out this husband and wife thing. Most of that credit probably goes to him.
He’s turned out to be a really good husband. Not just man (I knew that a long time ago), but unlike the first year or two of marriage when I intuited that he was trying to do the “right” thing, make the right choices and say the right words, as a husband and (step)dad, now it seems like he just … does it. Without effort. He’s “got” it.
His embracing and embodying of his place and role in our family has relaxed me. He’s not only not going anywhere, but he seems to really like this gig. Which is a good thing, because I kind of want him to stick around.
But make no mistake, it’s not an easy gig, even though he might (and often does) say otherwise. He is a fully invested and involved father figure to the kids, with none of the legal or sentimental claims. He pays all of their private school tuition but is not listed as their guardian. He calls them his sons and daughter, but does not see them on Father’s Day. They love him, absolutely, but he always respects that while, in his heart and mind, they are his 3 children, he plays second fiddle to their dad, the understudy to their father’s starring role. He accepts that fact with more grace and humility than could ever be expected, especially given the situation.
In many other ways, though, it is easy.
He brings out the best in me. I am healthier, happier and more spiritually evolved than I have ever been. While I’ll (humbly) take the lion’s share of credit for that, I know without a shadow of a doubt that he plays a crucial role in my evolution. He challenges me to be a better person every day, not by asking (or demanding) that I be better, but by simply modeling goodness. I don’t keep score, or feel resentful, or taken for granted. He’s so enthusiastically supportive about anything that I want to do, whether it’s training for half marathons or writing a book or going out with my girlfriends.
Sometimes, when I’m watching him play soccer or snuggling with Lucy or even translating Virgil with his ubiquitous red pencil, I still can’t believe he chose me. Out of all the younger, thinner, wealthier, less-complicated, less-divorced, less-3 kids burdened/blessed, women in the world, he chose me.
Happy anniversary, my brilliant classicist. Thank you for loving me so well.