Raising kids, and being a human, I am recognizing that each of us needs just a few things in order to be okay. We need shelter, food and safety in order to be free to grow. We thrive on predictability, and the comfort in knowing that one's safety, food and shelter needs will be met for the foreseeable future gives us a lot of space to fill with individuality. In social relationships, kids and spouses and friends and family members crave a similar sense of predictable safety and comfort.
I have been married to Rich now for nine years, and we have been a couple for nearly 16. This relationship has been totally our choice. Our choice to start it, our choice to commit to it, our choice to sustain it and our choice to stay in it. This makes it different than any of my relationships with my kids, or my family, or even my friends. This relationship happens day in, day out, through stomach flus, deaths, bill not getting paid, moves, births, mistakes, celebrations and every other aspect of a long life, because we choose it.
Rich's decision to keep loving me and my decision to keep loving him aren't always easy choices. We know what is at stake, we know the value of our vows, and we know that at any given moment a house of cards can come crashing down. It has happened before, it will happen again, and our relationship will keep being tested. We will keep being forced to ask ourselves and each other if we want to keep doing this.
I say this all as though things are fragile between us and I confidently endorse our bond as strong, deeply-rooted, loving and equal. We are good, in love, we respect each other, we support each other and we have no plans to put an end to this goodness. Acknowledging how easily things can change, however, I am grateful that in spite of all the odds, we are together.
For our anniversary this year, Rich affirmed for me through a very touching gesture that I am seen. He sees me and hears me. This is one of those key, foundational elements that we all need. Every one of us wants to know we are important.
He gifted me a collection of books: a journal, for me to scribble notes. A collection of Nobel Prize-winning short stories, so I can model my work after the best out there. Two books of poems carefully selected for me. These things together were meant to tell me I am a writer. He believes in me. I am important to him, he sees my value, my true self, and he supports it. What greater gift from a husband to a wife exists, I ask?
Pardon my brag, but this, this is the gesture of a good man. Amidst a busy life parenting our four girls, recovering from an injury, staying afloat and figuring it out as we go, we celebrate our choice to be together. I am so grateful for him.