15 Years

15 years. Half my life.

To say I wouldn’t change a day is much to cliché. Because, in all honesty, I would like to change a lot of things. But, the mistakes that I have made have led me here and sculpted the incredibly lucky life that I have today.

On this day 15 years ago, I started “going out” with my wife. Today, I am 30 and have been married for 6 years. All three of these numbers are a bit staggering (mostly because I don’t feel 30 and definitely don’t act it).

Here’s the thing though. Having a successful relationship is hard fucking work. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you and you should not trust a word they say.

People want to believe that love is defined by 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. As far as I am concerned it is a load of bullshit, aside from the last sentence.

Gasp.

Calm down. I think the sentiment is nice, but, it just isn’t real. It sets false and unattainable expectations.

For example, “love is patient, love is kind.”

Nope and nope.

Love is losing all of your patience. Get lost on the road when you are running late for something and just drink in how patient you and your significant other are.

Love is kind. See the example above. Some of the most hurtful things that have been said to me have rolled off my lovely wife’s tongue. And, in fairness, some of the most cruel things I have said to another human have been pointedly directed at my wife. We have literally argued like an umpire and baseball manager, nose to nose.

“…and is not jealous, love does not brag, and is not arrogant.”

Uh-huh. Mmmkay. Oh, c’mon!

Alright, I need to argue that jealousy is a major part of love. That is how you know that you have feelings for someone… you get jealous that they are doing anything with some one else.

Does not brag? Unless it is just leaving a dinner party and is pointing out all of the shortcomings and issues that the other couples have…

Is not arrogant. Except when pointing out that it is better than the love that those other couples have. I mean, seriously, how can they stand each other? Do you think they act like that when they are alone? Sorry, I digress.

“…does not act unbecomingly.”

Ehem… yes it does. I won’t elaborate… Sex, it has to do with sex.

I know this may be coming across as a little sac-relig, but to define love this way is so old-fashioned and simple. It makes me wonder if Paul ever experienced real love.

Love is not some neat, tidy thing that fits into the same box and is distributed to every couple as a once size fits all bundle of happiness via cupid.

Love is dirty. Love is rough around the edges. Love is pain. Love is the gunk under your fingernails after a long day of hard work (I assume, as some would claim I haven’t had a hard day of work in my life).

If this doesn’t resonate with you, I would have a hard time believing that you truly have experienced love. Because it means that you haven’t been fortunate enough to experience the good stuff.

You haven’t missed that person as soon as they walked out the door. You have not gotten completely loaded and fought about nothing in public standing in line for late night fast food. You haven’t had to convince yourself that you do, in fact, still love them after a fight that left you feeling like you had nothing left to give.

“… love bears all things, believes all things, endures all things.”

And, there they are. The only 3 true statements in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Because after the fights, arguments and long silent treatments, the only thing that you are left with is love. The two of you come out on the other side, look back on what has happened and realize how much growth has been achieved. And, it is not only personal growth but growth as a couple. You learn how to piss each other off and how to calm each other down. But, ultimately you are closer than you have ever been before.

As I look back on 15 years with my wife I realize a big mis-categorization I have made. I used to think it was a statement to say she is my best friend over calling her “just my wife.” What I realize today is that wife encompasses everything that I need to say about her.

She is a determined, smart, funny and driven woman who has stuck with me through my absolute worst.

If you are lucky enough to have someone like this in your life, stop, and be really thankful for that, as it is truly an amazing thing (…that someone has managed to put up with your shit for this long, I mean seriously… think about that).

I am lucky enough that I get to celebrate my birthday by being grateful that I have survived another year of debauchery and that my wife continues to love me despite my many short comings.

There is no other person I would rather get drunk and fight with.

There is no other person I would rather make up with.

Cheers.

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