This Friday is our 16th wedding anniversary, and as I write this, the Carpenter and I have made no plans.
Don’t be alarmed. This is typical of us. Come to think of it, we have never planned anything and it’s worked out just fine. From our first date (someone else planned that) to our children (What? Oops!) to our engagement (a spontaneous moment of a mutual “let’s do this”), we are not the most conventional couple and we never were. Why start now?
My theory has always been that every day the Carpenter willingly walks through the door of our home and makes the choice to return to me, I’m the luckiest person in the world. I’m not sure I’d return; marriage to me is complicated.
For what feels like a lifetime, this man has endured the emotional roller coaster that comes with being married to a creative person, particularly one who has built much of her career writing about him. Nothing has been off limits either.
And I realize that by living with me, this man has subjected himself to the financial uncertainty that comes with the pension-less wonder of writing. He has invested in me with a return that rarely offers a home-cooked meal, a peaceful weekend or any real privacy. And my dividends are not going to help either of us retire. This tells me he’s either in love with me or seriously delusional, but I believe a healthy dose of both is what makes us work.
He also has to be open to the fact that many of my friends are men. In fact, we met because I was one of the boys back when he was one of the boys too. It’s the way it’s always been. It bothers some, but I don’t much care. Trust is paramount. Loyalty isn’t something you say; it’s what you do. The Carpenter and I know who we are and what we value, and it goes beyond vows.
But now I’m starting see that, at this stage in a relationship, things can get stale. Boredom can set in. You start to take one another for granted. Everyone experiences intimacy droughts (we’re not California yet, but you know when Belwood closes the dam? Maybe that). It happens. Complacency seeps into your relationship like a bad smell and it lingers.
Since I’m allergic to perfumed sprays and the Carpenter doesn’t understand why any room needs to smell like a botanical garden, we work hard to ensure we keep our relationship fresh. Even people crazy in love need to work to keep it together. No marriage is immune.
This was my thought as I contemplated how I could make this anniversary special. So, I looked up what a 16th anniversary gift tradition would be and apparently it’s wax. I’m not sure I can be trusted around flammables – just sayin’. Or I could go the modern gift route and buy him silver holloware and watch his adorably baffled face as he holds a shiny dish and tries not to appear alarmed that he has no idea what goes in it. Tempting, but the budget won’t allow it.
Or, we could just be what we are: together and happy. You can’t gift wrap what we have and it’s worth everything.
Happy anniversary, Carpenter. Still Lost Together.
Writing has been my passion since I learned how to hold a pencil (which I still cannot do properly). Despite my father’s insistence that I would starve to death in this career, I remain well fed and eager to write more. They say you should do what you love: I love to write.