Can you believe this week we celebrate four years of marriage? Year one was pretty rough, even though I told everyone otherwise. I will never forget our screaming matches and my hysterical breakdowns and wanting out. I was in such a dark place. When I reread all of my facebook posts and look at old pictures I get so angry at myself because I lied so much. "Oh who says year one is the hardest? It's been so perfect for us!" I could strangle that girl. But you have to understand that I had my reasons. I wanted to believe my own lies because I couldn't imagine life without you.
And I hope you know that as cliche as this sounds, it was never you. I was 20 when we tied the knot and I had so many things weighing on my little heart. I had just had a laughable wedding which I wished so badly I could go back in time and redo in a backyard with only 20 of our closest friends and family. (Family optional, we all know half of mine never showed up anyway) I had just gotten into the biggest fight with my mother and poof, she was out of my life just like that. My best friend and maid of honor bailed on our wedding two days before we were set to say "I do" so I had to pick a last minute replacement. So many other horror stories I could share, but you know them all well. To this day I still don't like looking at wedding pictures because I get bitter. I want a do over.
But it wasn't about the wedding. We made it. Seeing you at the end of that altar made it all worth it to me. We got to run away from the world and honeymoon in Mexico. It was the best week of my life.
Except that it wasn't.
I was so upset by things that happened at our wedding I couldn't even enjoy our time together. You will never admit this, but I ruined our honeymoon. I was so caught up in the perfect day, the perfect photos, the perfect story, I forgot about something more important than all of that stuff. You.
When we finally got home I was so depressed I could barely get out of bed. I did not want to live in Florida. I hated my life in such a big way I thought about running back to the midwest more often than you know. The only problem was that I loved you so much more than I hated Florida. So I suffered through it, and I made you suffer along side of me.
I spent the entire first year of our marriage in a shell. I put myself there. It was a small, dark shell. One filled with hate, resentment, and pride. I felt so ugly. I began to pray to God to change me. I pleaded with him, actually. I told him that if he couldn't change me I would surely die. I needed out, in a bad way. That winter you told me about Boston and I knew God heard me.
When we moved to Massachusetts it was like the light came on for our marriage. A fresh start for you and me. We got a chance to connect in a new place with no lingering wounds. For the first time in our entire relationship, you became my best friend.
Do you remember when we celebrated our second anniversary? You sat across from me at our dining room table in our tiny little apartment and I sobbed out a toast. Like, could barely understand me sob. I was so emotional because I felt like we did it. We finally had a real marriage. One that was so full of life and love and happiness. And not in a fake way. You handed me a small blue box and it had a shiny little infinity inside. More sobbing. I put that ring on and haven't taken it off since. You joke that I like it more than my wedding ring. What you don't know is that I do like it more than my wedding ring. Because when you gave me my wedding ring, I was looking for a bigger carat, a better story, something else.
On our second anniversary, you handed me that tiny box and promised to love me forever, I felt like I was more in the moment than I ever was when you proposed to that self centered 20 year old on the beach. I clung to that ring because it felt so real. Oh dear god now I'm crying and you're going to come home from work and think my dog died. :p
I guess what I'm trying to say to you is this. We are celebrating year four on Thursday, but I feel like its only year three. Because that first year was a doozy. I hated that first year and to this day I am still surprised we survived it. We got our do over. And I'm so glad we did. This marriage has been better and worse than anyone ever warned me it would be. I think when you lie in bed and wonder if the last few years have been a dream, that's when you know you got a good one.
My sweetest Justin, sweetie, honey, dude, brah, Allen, or whatever else I call you depending on my mood that day. I love you. I love you so much. I am so glad you never gave up on me. I can't promise I will stop using your towel, or stealing your drink, or butt humping you anytime you bend over, but I can promise to always share the center of the cinnamon roll. I promise to always tell you way too much about my day and gossip with you about things you truly don't care about. I promise to love you more than Target and Homegoods. I promise to always remind you that you're a good man.
Happy fourth anniversary, sweet boy. I'm so glad we are in this together. I love you more than you could ever know. I cannot wait to celebrate us. Thank you, for loving me enough to hold on, when it would have been so much easier to let go.