This post is sponsored by Hallmark Signature. All opinions are my own, as always.
Our wedding was the day after a massive rainstorm, and it seems that our married life has followed suit. Indeed, the blissful days of deep connection and love seem to always be right on the heels of stormy personality clashes and seasons of disconnect.
Have you noticed? This is our pattern, for better or for worse.
If we’re being totally honest, we’ve sometimes wondered if we made the wrong choice in marrying each other. We are polar opposites in personality type (I’m the INFP to your ESTJ), we fight over the dumbest stuff in the universe, and we each think the other person’s ways are downright weird 95% of the time.
But do we have to be the same kind of person to find a mutual respect and love? Maybe not.
Today marks exactly sixteen years since our very first date as lovey-eyed high school kids, and I can firmly say now that the answer is no. As silly as it sounds, we knew deep down that we were good together. We first talked about marriage three weeks later, at the tender baby ages of seventeen and eighteen.
We went for tea and donuts before my second period English class, and we didn’t stop talking the whole time. In fact, we haven’t really stopped since.
The experts tell us that relationships between two people of opposite personality type can be difficult (preach it), but that they can enjoy a more well-rounded richness that others may not experience. On both of these claims, I cannot disagree.
Today, on this late November day nearly fourteen years after we said our marriage vows, we’re just starting to grasp this truth: our love has depth because we’re steadfast and stubborn and we don’t let go. We won’t let go. And this is our common ground: we choose love, and we choose each other every day, and we don’t. let. go. even when we can’t think of a reason to hold on. (Especially then.)
So when we argue and despair at our two ships passing in the night, we know to wait it out until we find our way back to each other. Because we always find a way back.
Here’s how I know this to be true:
At the end of the day, you come home to me. You come home every day because you belong here and we both know it.
And, at the end of the day I put my own work aside and move into family mode with you at my side, and our children snuggling in close. I lean in because I belong here, and we both know it.
We belong together and we know this with every fibre of our understanding, despite the exertion of hard work that it requires, and the hard time that we sometimes have in seeing it.
At the end of the hard days, we fall into a heap of exhaustion together to veg out on the couch, and at the end of the good days our happiness is in perfect sync. We were married at nineteen and twenty, and have spent all of our marriage figuring out this whole adulting thing together.
We’ll get there one day, I think. (Maybe.)
But in the meantime, our humanity is laid bare before each other, day after day. You see right into me, even the threadbare bits, and you love me still. I see all of you too, and I love you more for it.
Today, on this late November day, we’re coming to a sputtering stop after a wild ride from years of struggle. Unemployment, financial strain, more moves and transitions than a person should have to bear. You have a new job, we have a new home city, we have a new normal.
We’re idling our engines and regrouping.
We’re remembering why we fell in love, and choosing to face the next chapter together, as always.
On this late November day, at the end of the day, I realize that I probably don’t tell you often enough that I’m thankful for you. I know that you feel loved by affirming words, and I have plenty of those tumbling around my head. Sometimes, though, in the zooming-by of daily life, they don’t make it out.
So I’m telling you now. I’m proud of you for working hard every day doing something you love, and I’m thankful that your hard work helps provide for our needs. You do this so well, and you balance dedication to your work with the demands of family life better than anyone I know. I’m so thankful that our children have that example to emulate.
I’m grateful that you are steady. You stay beside me on the bumpy roads, and you don’t let go. You partner with me to make this life and you never stop striving to make it even better. You are humble and faithful and you serve us so well.
I’m thankful for your extraordinary love to me, even when I’m less than lovable.
Thank-you for being beside me, in front of me, and behind me. Thank-you for the daily grind we do together. Thank-you for the family we’ve created together, and thank-you for being who you are.
I love you, my ESTJ weirdo. Quirks and flaws and all. Thanks for loving me in my crazy ways that make no sense to you, and thanks for sticking with me.
As we come to yet another rotation around the sun I invite you to ask yourself: “Who made my life extraordinary this year? Who defined the good in 2016 for me?” Don’t let another day go by without expressing your gratitude for that person. Share your heart and say thank-you with a Hallmark Signature holiday card to the people who make your life anything but ordinary.