Chad and I have made it through another year of marriage. Today is our seventh anniversary. Many things have changed this year and, as always, many things have stayed the same. I started a new job, I started grad school, I started writing a book. All of these things came after our conversation on our sixth anniversary.
Every year we pull out a black journal that we keep about our wedding. It’s the same journal we used to keep track of venues and caterers and guest lists and menu options and all manner of ideas when we were planning our wedding seven years ago. The first half of the journal is scribbled with all these notes and contact names, some of them we ended up using, many of them we didn’t. The second half of the journal is our anniversary log.
Each anniversary, we’ve written a short description of that year, what we learned, what changed, what worked, what didn’t. And then we put down goals for the year to come: how we’ll support and serve each other better, how we’ll improve ourselves and our marriage. It’s our own little State of the Union. Then we turn to the page with our vows and recite them to each other once more, promising again to try our best to uphold them.
During last year’s conversation and journaling, Chad asked me to be more proactive, to take action, to change what needed to change. So that’s what I did. Just days later, I was looking at graduate programs, picking the one that seemed right for me. Then I opened a Google Doc and started writing a book. A couple weeks later, I sent out some more resumes. I took his words seriously. I take these yearly conversations seriously.
Today, we talked about how this was a year where we focused a lot on our own personal goals — how I focused on a new job and getting through my first semester of grad school, how he focused on his business. But we’ve also had the chance to work together on renovating our attic, which has been both hard and fun. We’re looking at more changes coming in the next year too. We’re focused on supporting each other through those.
Here’s the thing that scared me this year: I watched three of my friends’ marriages end. I wanted there to be a way for all them to fix it, but sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes things change too much, or promises are broken, or someone leaves and you have no say at all … I pass no judgment here, because I know marriage is hard. I know all these friends agonized and tried and fought for what they believed was right, what they believed was best. I know they cried rivers for what they were losing.
All of them were around year seven or eight in their journey.
I take our yearly conversations seriously. I know they can’t solve every problem. They aren’t magical or even especially enlightening. Really, they are just extensions or summations of conversations Chad and I are having all the time. But they are part of the way we keep tabs on each other, on our marriage. Watching my friends struggle and grieve and start over shook me. It’s not that it made me question my marriage, because I didn’t. I don’t. But I also don’t take for granted that we’ve made it this far.
We have been deliberate and intentional at working for our marriage. Sometimes we struggle and other times everything falls easily into place. I know I’m married to the right person. We match in so many ways. And although life keeps changing, I’m hopeful about all the ways we will continue to walk through it together.
Chad, I am so lucky to be married to you. I’m so lucky that you’ve chosen me every day for the last seven years, that you’ve chosen to walk beside me through lots of changes and lots of average, ordinary days. I hold our marriage close to me because I know that it is precious and fragile, even when it is strong and dependable. I appreciate how intentional you’ve been with our relationship, how you work so hard at supporting me and caring for me. Thanks for keeping that journal of our years together. Thanks for always trying to be a better husband. Every year is different in unexpected ways, and yet kinda the same because we just keep choosing each other, one day at a time. You are my favorite and I love you.