It was a rainy, drizzly day that we said our vows in front of family and friends and set off on our married life. I could never have predicted all the ups and down the next seven years would hold for us, but I'm so glad I have shared the journey with my best friend. God brought us together, at least that is what I think because the likelihood of us actually hooking up entirely on our own was so slim. We're almost five years apart, I love dogs and he has absolutely not use for them. I like to camp and hike and ski, he likes to go to the city and vacation in posh comfort with bookstores and coffee shops nearby. His life dream was to become a professional guitarist and move to New York.
Instead we live in Idaho and he programs computers. He wanted to wait to have kids, I wanted to dive right in. I wanted a career, he wanted a Stay-at-home-mom for his kids. We both agreed that would be the best plan for now. My hobbies are mostly artistic: sewing, banner making, painting.
His hobbies are more along the coffee-drinking, theology-reading lines. I think his ideal of happiness would be for someone to lock him in a bookstore/coffee shop and leave him there. Indefinitely. He is an introvert; I am an extrovert. The only way he can truly bless me is to spend time together, talking, playing games or doing chores. Blessing one another is always a sacrifice, since I have to be lonely to bless him and he has to be social to bless me.
If I had to name one single thing that has saved our marriage on countless occasions, other than his gritty determination to pull us through, it would be Starcraft. Playing this crazy computer game has somehow become like eating comfort food. The world is going to be okay as long as we can sit down and zerg-bash together. When I was so sick I couldn't get out of bed for nine months with Mister's pregnancy and Hubby had to do all of the chores, take care of Curly as well as working full time, we could still play Starcraft together and life was sort of okay.
We've both made our shares of big mistakes. I have never been very adept with people and tend to be more brutally honest than tactful. More often than he'd like I burst forth with my opinion of him, poor guy. On the other hand he has had to learn to manage less money than he's ever had in his life and to live on very little for years.
Along the way, we've had a lot of good times as well. Before Curly was born we drove our Toyota Camry 7,000 miles across the country on a three-week adventure that included the dog, Piper, camping in a thunderstorm, a night of hundreds of spiders, the most crime-ridden suburb of Washington DC, lobster bisque in Boston, spending two nights in a fraternity in New Jersey, Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, and a nineteen hour straight shot through the deer-laden mountains of Montana.
We've gone to Grandpa's cabin every summer and have gone camping. We've also driven to cities: Seattle, Portland, Spokane, where we've investigated bookstores, outdoor markets and coffee shops. We've explored our own small town, enjoying the music, art and culture the university brings here.
Together we embarked on the adventure that is parenthood with Curly Miss, then Little Mister two years later, then after another three years, Baby Bear. Parenting has really brought us closer as we share the workload and the rewards. We call ourselves "Team Bears" because every time one of us is about to melt down after night of no sleep or a particularly crazy day, the other one is there to take up the slack. We lean on one another; we make decisions together; we help each other out.
Over the years we have discovered that it works better to do the jobs we're good at doing rather than dividing the work over traditional gender lines. When we first got married, Hubby had the idea that the husband always manages the money, keeping the accounts balanced and tracking expenditures. It came to light, however, that I have an aptitude for doing it, for being faithful in watching the budget, for doing the tedious work in updating Quicken and categorizing purchases. On the other hand some of the heavier housework is really hard for me to do physically, especially (oddly enough) the dishes. Such a chore is typically the wife's job but for me it causes such intense back pain that I'm in tears. He uncomplainingly washes our dishes every day, never blaming me or hinting that I am not doing my job well enough.
So today we celebrate seven years. In sickness and health. For richer or for poorer. Till death do us part. Somehow the wedding vows don't tell you the rest of it. They didn't warn us about scary trailer parks or bedridden pregnancies. We didn't know that we'd both have to give up every dream we'd ever had and somehow build new ones together that would look completely different. We had no idea we both liked to sleep on futon mattresses or that I was good at cutting hair. Who knew that he would be installing a toilet and a pellet stove? We've learned not to look ahead or behind, to enjoy one another in the moment and to celebrate the little things. We've learned to take care of one another better and to care for our kiddos. We've learned to give more, to love more and to ask less.
Here's to the next seven years. I love you, Bear!