Twenty years ago on September 1, 2001 my husband and I were wed. It is really hard to believe that it has been that long. Yes, we have a 15 year old and a 12 year old but still, 20 years? Wowsers. Wedding anniversaries are times in married people’s lives where they can pause and reflect on their relationship thus far.
For my husband and I, the road to 20 years has been rocky at parts. With my traumatic childhood and his Bipolar 2 + ADHD there have been some, let’s say, colorful conversations about everything from how to put away dirty clothes to how to educate our children. The one thing that I deeply appreciate is how he seems to love me just the way I am. He has never complained about my looks, weight or really anything else.
It is no picnic being married to someone with his conditions but I can say that it does make our bond stronger. I have done so much research on disorder in hopes of understanding him better. I truly believe that when we took our vows and got to the part about in sickness and in health, it included mental health. Neither one of us knew about the other’s emotional baggage when we first met, of course.
Love is very helpful but it is not the only thing that makes a marriage (or any relationship) work. Each participant must be willing to think beyond himself/herself. I have long stopped trying to “change” my spouse. I accept him the way he is. That does not mean I do not get sad when he says or does things. I just know that he is imperfect and love him anyway. I think he does the same for me.
I seek out supportive people who will help me fight for my marriage. I do not have friends who advise me to divorce my husband when the going get rough. I did have a couple but they are no longer a part of my life. The friends I have now understand him and know I’m not in danger and listen to my venting and love both of us for who we are.
We work together to take care of our children. Yes, indeed, it would be easier to raise them on my own but it would also mean they would only be exposed to my ideas. My goal was never to raise mini me clones. Goodness, I certainly hope they turn our more balanced and happier than I am! My husband thinks outside the box and sometimes out of this world so they get some really cool ways to look at things.
I am in this marriage because I love my husband, I think working hard to make it work is worth it and because my life is better with him in it. All the aggravation and stress that come along with it are just that. I don’t think every couple should get married or stayed married but I know that I want to fight for our marriage and I am proud that we are celebrating 20 years of working together.