essay life

five years

August 2, 2016

KatharineSchellman.com - wedding photo

We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary last week. If you count from when we started dating, then in a couple months we will have been together for ten years.

This is where, I think, I am supposed to list “five things I have learned in five years of marriage” or something similar. But that feels a little preemptive.

The year we got married, both sets of our parents celebrated their 36th wedding anniversaries. (A year before that, while looking through his parents’ wedding album, I discovered that their anniversary was three months to the day before my parents’. It felt significant. Still does.) Between us, we only have one set of grandparents with both partners still living, but those two have been married for over 65 years. We both come from families where, for the most part, people get married and stay married. So five years, while very nice — more than very nice — doesn’t feel too impressive.

Ask me in another five years, I suppose. Or after this baby makes an appearance. I might have some good advice then.

Still, I like to think we’re pretty good at it, this sharing a life thing that is a constant experiment and a constant struggle and a constant joy. I remind myself to ignore things like pajamas left on the floor, he decides not to be annoyed that I never remember to turn on the kitchen fan until after the smoke alarm has gone off. We seem to take turns being the family breadwinner.

We both believe in lots of physical contact and lots of communication. We’ve also grown up enough to learn that not everything you are thinking or feeling needs to be shared, that it’s okay for some things to just stay in your own head.

We are internet-happy millennials, so each month we have an email chain for sending each other articles about politics and pop culture, blog posts, videos, quotes, funny photos. “Did you read that thing I sent you about the new Ghostbusters?” one of us will ask, days later, while sitting in silence during a car ride or on the couch.

We play would you rather, glass of wine in hand on a lazy Friday evening. The best question I ever came up with: would you rather never eat meat again or never eat cheese again? We both agreed that giving up cheese would be nearly impossible. (This question is also an entertaining ice breaker, unless you are trying to break the ice with vegans.)

The most revealing question I ever came up with: Would you rather have one biological child and never be able to have more, or have many adopted children but never have one with our own DNA?

We nap together whenever we can, lazy afternoons accidentally turning into evenings. I wake up early, he stays up late. Sometimes he’ll surprise me by lying down and cuddling for the five or ten or twenty minutes it takes for me to fall asleep, reminding me that it will happen faster if I stop trying to have a conversation. We hug each other good morning.

I say:

You’re my favorite.

You’re so warm.

You’re so comfy.

I like you.

Sorry I ate all your fries.

Tell me a story.

He says:

Shouldn’t you get to bed?

Can I get you anything?

You look nice today.

How are you always so cold?

I love you.

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