As cliche as it sounds, I honestly feel like it was yesterday that my husband and I were saying “I do,” but I blinked and we are celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary this month. Weren’t we just surrounded by our family and friends (and every sunflower in Colorado) celebrating our love and beginning our marriage?
I’m finding myself doing lots of reflecting as we approach this big marital milestone. and I think one of the reasons is this: in today’s society, I feel like people are more focused on having an incredible wedding, and not so much on having an incredible marriage. All of the bridal magazines and wedding planners out there tell us how to plan our special day so that every little detail of our wedding is Pinterest-perfect…. but what comes next? What happens when the honeymoon is over and you have bills and health problems and arguments? What happens when you can’t agree on who’s turn it is to unload the dishwasher or fold the laundry? You know, the real life marriage stuff that no one on Instagram actually wants to see or talk about.
It seems like our generation throws in the towel when things get hard.
In 2014 when we said our vows, the stat we kept hearing for the divorce rate in the US was about 50%. For newlyweds who both grew up in divorced households, the thought of only having a 1 in 2 chance to make it was terrifying. So you know what we did? We decided to work hard at our relationship even after our wedding. Then it got scarier when we had close friends who started getting divorced.. some we saw coming and some we did not. So we kept working on our marriage because we more motivated than ever to have a healthy one. And in a span of these 1,825 days since we said “I do”, we have been through some stuff in our marriage, y’all. Most of it good, some of it very very bad, but all of it has made us both very different people then we were five years ago.
We became parents. We changed jobs, houses, churches, friends, gyms (though not in that order). We laughed. We traveled. We drank all the wine we could find. We renovated countless homes. We started a company. We have had fights with our families that have changed the entire dynamic of our family for the last few years. We’ve been sick. We’ve been exhausted. We buried a parent who lost his fight with Alzheimer’s. We buried a perfect stillborn baby born 20 weeks too early.
And in all of the stuff both good and bad, we still feel lucky, because we’re a team regardless of what life hands us. We’re at a point where the challenges in our marriage shape us as a couple and we know we will get through them no matter how unfair they seem. Some days are prettier and easier than the others, but all of the days count, even the bad ones.
Let me say it louder for the people in the back: even the bad days count, y’all. And we all have them.
Now in no way, shape, or form is marriage a competition, and each relationship looks different, but I promise that everyone is having ups and downs in their relationships. I find comfort in surrounding myself with girlfriends who are real about their marriages, too – because it’s nice to know that it’s normal to have days when you just can’t stand your spouse.
So to some people five years may not seem like much, but to us it’s worth celebrating and we’re pretty dang proud of ourselves.
Cheers to the fastest five years of my life, my love. If the next five are anything like these, we’re in for one heck of a ride.