When I was 22 I could not really fathom being in a relationship for 8 years.
When I was 23 I met Jake.
Jake was different. He was unlike just about anyone I'd met.
Except when he wasn't. Except when he met my family, and it seemed like he was one of us. It seemed like he'd been there all along. We started to feel really weird when he wasn't there. We didn't like it.
Saying "yes" to a first date with Jake was exceptionally easy. Especially, because, when you think of it, I kind of orchestrated the whole thing. I told my friend Tiffany who told Johnny who told Jake, that if he asked me out, I wouldn't say no.
I never said no to spending time with Jake. After our first date, we spent 4 more days together that week. (Our first date was a Sunday. Something kind of holy about that, I think. Also I had the day off from work.)
A few things about me and Jake: we like each others' company. We hang out a LOT. And we haven't seemed to get tired of it after 8 years of marriage (plus 4 years of dating). We also like hanging out with other people. There aren't too many people that are "just my friends," or "his" friends.
A lot of that can be attributed to Jake, of course. Because good people flock to him, and then the two of us devise a plan to keep those people around as friends. And it works.
It works, I think, because in our 8+ years together we have sort of melded into a unit that is better than the sum of its parts.
When I think back to the person I was at 22, I can't really fathom being that person today. Not because I was a bad person. I just had such a harder time being soft and easygoing, letting things go when I perceived them to be unjust. I had a hard time when people around me let me down, or seemed to do so.
I really don't know how to put this concept into words, but I think something happens when you spend so much time with someone you love and admire. (of course it does, I know) But it's more than just "he makes me a better person!"
My husband allows me to look at myself from an outsiders' viewpoint. I can see him, see me, and love me for the person I am. He can forgive the parts of me that I don't very much like and wish didn't exist. But they do. They are there, and they are not all bad. Like that part of me that cannot abide with injustice. It comes from a person who wants the world to be a kinder, fairer place.
It comes from a person who doesn't fully understand why the world is not so fair. It is part naiveté, and part la résistance.
And that's all well and good. But it's also okay to walk away from the revolution from time to time and just be a person. A wife. On a couch, in a house that we bought 7 years ago, when we barely knew what we would become.
You are my heart, dear husby. Happy Anniversary.