This week Chris and I celebrate our ten year anniversary. Which makes 15 years being together, half of my life. Part of me feels like there is no way it's been ten years, but most of the time I can't even remember not being married.
the summer we started dating
A lot of time I think about how I can't believe we got married so young. I was 20, Chris was 23. I had just finished my second year of college, and Chris still had another year and half left as well. We were practically babies. I've heard Chris tell a friend "I practically raised her myself." Jokes aside, I definitely did my growing up into adulthood as a wife, which came with it's challenges. But also came with a lot of blessings too. We went through a lot of growing up and learning about each other and ourselves the first years of marriage, that we had to go through a lot of the harder communication things right from the start. Not to say we didn't have plenty of things to work through the whole ten years, but had to go through a lot of that together at the beginning.
I think I could write about a handful of advice that I've learned these ten years. That I can't expect Chris to know how I feel without telling him exactly how I feel. That you need to say what you mean and deal with the consequences if you're not honest about how you feel about something. That going through a really hard thing, like infertility will either draw you closer or farther apart, and I'm so thankful we worked hard to draw us closer. That things are not going to be even all the time and playing the game "who works harder than who" will never be helpful. And that sometimes a date night is needed to remind you that you still really love each other and have fun together.
But I think the best piece of advice that as helped us the most over the ten years is that we are on the same team. During our premarriage counseling we had to say to each other multiple times "you are not my enemy." This has helped through fight after fight, disagreement after disagreement. There are times I feel so far into an argument where I am mad or hurt and then I remind myself that we are in this together. We are on the same team. We may disagree, we may have made mistakes and may still have lots to sort through and talk about. BUT we have the same goal that we want to get on the same page and be in this together.
There are times I'm mad about things Chris forgets or times I feel like he should know or anticipate how a situation or conversation would make me feel. If I stop and remind myself that he isn't doing these things to make me mad, and that he has intentions to make our marriage better and that he loves me, it helps soften my feelings. While it doesn't solve the problem it changes my approach.
When Addilyn was born it was a tough transition for us. I'm not sure if it's because we had 8 years with just us, or that it was just hard. There were multiple times Chris would say to me "I'm on your side." That simple reminder made a huge difference. We didn't have to be happy with the argument or necessarily the place our marriage was in that day or that week, but it helped remind me that our goal is the same. To be on the same team, in this together.
Chris Vale. Thank you for "raising me yourself." For loving me more than anyone else. For constantly telling me I'm beautiful and how much you love me. For being easy going, silly and smiling a lot. For providing for our family and being an amazing dad to Addilyn. And for being on my team. Happy Anniversary.