Hugh and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary on Saturday.
Like many a bride before and since, I spent a ridiculous amount of time and energy planning our wedding festivities and obsessing about everything going perfectly. We had lists and sub-lists, timelines and spreadsheets.
And, in the end, it was a magical day. I love to look back at the pictures of our wedding. Some of the happiest moments of my life are plucked from that perfect April evening when I married my very favorite person.
I also laugh a bit to myself, because that was pretty much the first and last perfectly controlled, orchestrated day of our life. Real life, married or not, is messy and unexpected and full of twists and turns beyond your control. Hitch yourself to another person, and you get their twists and turns, too.
Right before we got married, Hugh and I were talking to his grandmother about the wedding and she said, In your marriage you are going to go through peaks and valleys. When you are in a valley, the important thing to remember is that another peak is coming, you just have to stick with it. You just have to keep going.
I have thought about that advice many times since that day.
In the last six years, we have struggled through valleys and slogged through the day-to-day banalities of life. We’ve had not enough hours in the day or money in the bank. We’ve lost beloved family members. We have paid bills and cut the grass and gone to the grocery.
We’ve moved and left our dearest friends. We have worked and worked and worked. We spent the better part of two years trying to have a baby. We’ve cleaned the house a thousand times. We’ve argued and cried. We have had a flooded basement and a broken heater.
And, in six years, we have ridden the highest peaks and reveled in the joy of everyday life together. We have taken unforgettable trips and chatted away hundreds of road-tripping hours. We have had professional successes and gotten promotions. Hugh has gotten accepted to medical school and become a doctor and started residency. I have thrown myself into Hugh’s arms holding a positive pregnancy test and shouting that we were finally having a baby.
We have spent countless evenings happy-houring on our porch. We became homeowners. We have laughed until we cried a thousand times. Hugh has stood beside me, holding my hand and cheering me on while I gave birth to our first child. We have watched our beloved baby girl grow and become the best little person. We have planted five gardens. We have shared two thousand dinners.
These six years have been joyful and heart-wrenching, effortlessly easy and damn hard. That’s marriage, because that’s life. It isn’t coordinated or controllable, doesn’t show up with a timeline and perfectly chosen dress. But, we keep going and apologizing and laughing and riding out the valleys for the peaks and feeling so lucky for the life we started that perfect spring day.