I know you've seen it, we all have. A friend posts her Facebook status as "Celebrating our anniversary today - 20 years of wedded bliss!" And we all know it's a crock of shit.
Anyone who's been married for 20 years knows full well that there's no such thing as 20 years of wedded bliss. It's a storybook fantasy. And if you haven't been married that long and don't know that for yourself yet, then let me be the first one to level with you.
Being married for 20 years is hard work and a lot of the time it just plain sucks.
Let me also say that if given the chance, I wouldn't really change much of anything. We have been married for 20 years today. It has not been what I'd call blissful. However, it's been honest and real and authentic. And by that I mean it's been filled with fighting and slammed doors and storming off and tears and going to bed angry and frustrated emails.
But it's also been filled with warmth and generosity and laughter and inside jokes and collaborative projects and hand squeezes and knowing sidelong glances in a crowded room. We've filled these past 20 years with three houses and three kids for us and nine kids for other people. Five jobs, eight cars, seven pets.
Twenty years of goodness, because even the bad is good.
Growing up I didn't have many role models in the marriage department. My parents' marriage ended after a few short years, and by all accounts probably shouldn't have ever happened in the first place. But I came from it, so it wasn't all bad says my mom. One grandma was a widow and the other grandparents were married, but I wouldn't say happily. Most of my mom's friends were divorcees. We lived in an apartment building without other kids around and my mom worked, so I didn't have a way to get to friends' houses for many play dates. So I wasn't around other married couples and families all that much.
But I had magazines. I had Women's Day and Family Circle and Good Housekeeping and I forget the others. My mom would buy them for work (she owned a hairdressing salon) and I'd pour over them before she took them to the shop. Week after week, month after month I'd read about marriage and family and all their problems and how to solve them. Because there always were solutions in the magazine articles, right?
This was my window into what I thought "real life" was. And I wanted it, badly.
And I got it.
Doug and I met in college, fell in love and married five years later. We got jobs, bought a house, had a baby, and the rest is history.
That history includes arguments and frustrations and disappointments and failures and counseling.
But it also includes connecting with another human being on a level I never imagined. It includes creating joy and a lot of laughter. The laughter is even better when no one else in the room is laughing. But we are. And that makes it all worth it.
In these days of viewing the world through whitewashed Facebook status updates and 140-character tweets where we see only the happy, sanitized versions of people's lives, I'm here to say I have not enjoyed 20 years of wedded bliss.
I've enjoyed 20 years of something better. Something much, much better.
This post is part of a brave blogging link-up that's part of Liv Lane's How To Build a Blog You Truly Love ecourse. As a participant, I was challenged to step outside my comfort zone and share something with you that felt especially brave. You can see what others have written by clicking here: http://blog.livlane.com/2013/05/brave-2013