Shani and I got married 20 years ago today.
We’d been planning to go to Hawaii to celebrate, but last September I lost my job, so we figured we should be more careful with money. We downshifted and decided that when we went to LA in April for my cousin’s wedding, that would be our anniversary celebration. And we’d go out for a romantic dinner on our actual anniversary.
Well, the wedding has since been cancelled. And now we’re not even going to get to go to dinner.
Bummer, right? I should be sad. And I can already imagine the sympathy comments on Facebook. Well…hold that sympathy. Because after 20 years, you learn some things about marriage. And here’s what I’ve learned:
Marriage is not a vacation.
Look, every marriage is great on vacation. The two of you on your own, exploring the sights, a drink at that cute little bar you stumbled on, dinner at 8:30, share desert, sleep in, make love, wander out to find breakfast at 10:15.
And that’s great — my God is it great — but it’s not marriage. Marriage is life the other 50+ weeks of the year. Marriage is negotiating who is going to do the dishes. Marriage is getting into your car and realizing your wife left your tank empty. It’s grocery shopping and budgeting and disciplining kids and watching Youtube videos and trying to get to the gym. All that day-to-day shit, that’s marriage.
And with that said, I will say this.
I love going grocery shopping with Shani.
I love cooking dinner together.
I love putting away the Christmas decorations and getting the kids where they need to go and scheduling out the week. I love having a glass of wine on a Tuesday night and watching The Americans.
I loved washing babies in the sink of our apartment in New York. I loved painting bedrooms and sleeping on an air mattress waiting for our furniture to arrive. I loved reading the same stupid board books over and over to the boys. I loved coming home from work and having the kids chase me around the yard for “first hug”. I loved cooking on a grill for 6 weeks while we redid our kitchen. I’ve loved the budgeting, the arguments, the exhaustion, the laughing, the problem-solving, and yes, I’ve loved the vacation too.
I love waking up at 5 on a Sunday, making coffee, and reading on the couch for two hours while everyone is still asleep.
I love my house and I love the life we’ve built inside it.
So tonight, I will spend my 20th anniversary eating dinner with my wife and our two sons. We are healthy, we are safe, and we are happy. So I will gladly accept your congratulations and good wishes. But expressions of sympathy are neither warranted nor welcome.
Sending my love out to everyone who has been a part of our adventure. It’s been richer and more wonderful and more fun every single year.
Please stay safe. Please stay sane. Please stay inside.
Oh, and here are some shots from the wedding.