Today while working at the coffee shop, Emmy Lou Harris and Mark Knopfler’s song This is us started playing on my Pandora station, making me all teary-eyed-goofy-happy thinking about my husband.
We are floating towards our 19th anniversary in September. It’s taken a long time to feel like we know what we’re doing – and there are plenty of days that prove we still don’t.
Our first years were difficult – so much so that I walked away four years after saying I do. We stayed separated for nearly half of 2000.
My husband called it my “marriage hiatus.” We were on vacation with my entire family – siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, my grandparents – when I told him that I didn’t know if I wanted to be married. He didn’t want to “maybe or maybe not” be married, so we met with a lawyer. We divided our CD collection and credit card debt. He stayed in the house, and I moved into my aunt and uncle’s guest bedroom – the same place I was living the night we first met.
When the divorce papers came in the mail three months later, I didn’t want to sign them. I showed up unannounced at our house, a bungalow on the busiest street in New Albany, across from a gas station, liquor store and DQ. He had moved in his brother after I left, along with his brother’s large screen TV. It took up one entire wall of our living room – I hated it.
Standing in our kitchen, with the unsigned divorce agreement in hand, I told him I didn’t want to be divorced. I admitted all the ways I had further destroyed our marriage during our separation. It was a hard, hard day. Our black lab Elvis was laying at our feet.
Our marriage beaten and battered, he agreed to have dinner with me the following night. I was house-sitting for my boss, and we had an entire home to ourselves that didn’t belong to either of us. Neutral territory.
During that first night back together, we watched the Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfieffer film The Story of Us, and I almost burned off my right eyebrow trying to light the gas fireplace. It was a very romantic evening.
From there, we slowly rebuilt the structure that was our marriage.
We have bought and sold three houses since then. We have a daughter who looks just like him, and a son who takes after me. We survived my alcoholism (& now sobriety), a miscarriage, a few lost jobs and roadtrips that started with neither of us wanting to speak to the other.
As I type this, we are sitting on the couch side-by-side as we do at the end of every day. Our kids are asleep. He is watching a show that I will only slightly pay attention to, asking questions to keep up while I write, troll Facebook and read tweets. I am sitting with my left foot tucked under my right leg, his arm is resting on my knee.
This is us.
Happy upcoming anniversary. I lay in bed this morning thinking of the damage I’d/we’d done to our 25 year marriage and how it ended and how lucky I am that the man who shared half my life still wants to be friends with me. Love and marriage are things that I have to work at harder than anything. Hopefully I can take what I learned from my past and apply it to the future.