Today is my fifteenth wedding anniversary.
Fifteen years of sharing the highs, the lows, the excitement and the everyday boredom. That’s a lot of time to be around anyone. Most of us were pretty well done with our parents and their shenanigans after 15 years. Am I right?
Think back to 15 years ago. Who were you? Were you the same person you are today?
No one is.
I had a wonderful conversation with a new friend this past weekend at a professional conference. She just passed the thirty year milestone with her husband. They have been through some shit. My husband and I have been through some shit. Most of the shit is things that marriages end over.
That for richer or for poorer stuff….That’s REAL LIFE. In sickness and in health? You don’t know what commitment is until you’ve walked by the side of another person dealing with long term illness.
Every time I tell my story about how two 14 year old best friends turned into 40 year old life partners with three boys, digging through the shit storm of life by our fingernails; people say they are inspired by us. I appreciate that. I really do, because it IS inspiring.
It’s not inspiring because it’s romantic. It’s not about roses and poems and fun. It’s not even about true love.
What I want people to be inspired by is that we are two EXTREMELY imperfect people, choosing every day to stick with it.
We are two people who don’t look, act or feel the way we did 25 years ago when we met, or 17 years ago when we decided to be together, or even 15 years ago when we got married. We’re not even the same people we were last year.
For real, both of us, deep down are a mess.
We’ve got our own shit to work through and we’ve created some shit together that needs its own book.
If you see a couple who’ve been together for a long time, and their love inspires you….Stop it. Just stop.
People can be madly, deeply, truly in love with each other, but love isn’t what gets you through.
Commitment, Dedication, Hard work.
That’s what gets you through.
We didn’t love each other 15 years ago the way we do now. We were kidding ourselves.
We have no idea the depths of love and commitment we’ll have in another 15 years. We are completely clueless about the shit storms yet to come; but we’ll make it through, not because we love each other, but because we say we will. We believe it with our whole hearts.
If you’re single or struggling right now with the person you’re with. Don’t let the little shit trip you up.
Don’t stay in a bad relationship either. That’s not what I’m saying. It takes two, for sure, to keep moving forward.
But also, don’t let the fact that he wants to watch football on holidays (didn’t learn that until 10 years in) or the fact that she has trust issues with men because of her childhood (that was shocking discovery for both of us) stop you from creating a life with someone.
The person they are today really doesn’t matter.
They won’t be that person in five years.
The weird idiosyncrasies that make you swipe left instead of right (did I say that right? I haven’t dated since before cell phones) aren’t who that person is.
Waiting and hoping for someone to be perfect, to think the same way you think, to act the way you act, and to get everything right from the beginning will only leave you wondering where your person is.
Your person is you. Whether you decide you want to live your life with someone else or not, decide right now who you are and what you want, (that will also change) and when you make that connection, hang on to it, and decide every day to move forward.
To paraphrase a dear friend and mentor of mine, ~People should be in a relationship because they WANT to, not because they HAVE to.~
That is the key my friends. You gotta WANT to fight through the shit with the person you choose.
If you want to find the person who will stand by your side and keep fighting to be with you, you have to BE THAT PERSON for someone else. Now THAT shit is inspiring.