Monday, January 28, 2013

You CAN Meet Your Spouse in a Bar: My Ten Year Wedding Anniversary


My favorite moment with my husband is when, about one week into dating, I called him on his cell phone, and when he answered, all I said was, “Come get me.” And he hung up and appeared in my driveway about ten minutes later in his black Chevy truck, ready to take me wherever I wanted to go. I love that there were hardly any words—just faith.

I don’t think anyone thought we would make it this far, me and the Hubs. And why would they? I was fresh out of a three-year relationship, and the Hubs’ main appeal for me at the time was that, being from Peru, he was exotic.  

Plus I met him at a bar, for God’s sake. You can’t meet your spouse in a bar.

Well, the Hubs and I have been married ten years now, so you can too meet your spouse in a bar. Ha!

It was this bar that had a salsa night every Monday. We were both in the first few weeks of our graduate studies. I danced several times with the Hubs, not giving him or anyone else I danced with a second thought. I didn’t care who I danced with, as long as they would spin me a whole bunch. Plus, I had a boyfriend—long distance—doing his grad work across the state. I didn’t love my boyfriend, but I was too much of a wuss to break his heart, so I kept being a heartless scaredy-cat and was just stringing him along. I know, horrible.  

The Hubs and I wound up in the same group of friends, though I wasn’t close with him. But he was the center of our social circle. If you wanted to know what was going on that night, he was the one you called. (It also helped that he was the only one of us with a cell phone back then.) He flirted with me sometimes, but kept his distance because of my ‘boyfriend.’

After the holidays that school year, I had a dream about him. I can’t believe it, but now I cannot remember what it was about! It was something intense but not sexual, that’s all I remember. That dream meant something to me; it made my heart race in that way that it’s supposed to race when a heart is immersed in burgeoning love, even though I didn’t really know the Hubs all that well at the time. The next time I saw him, I told him about the dream. After that we were like magnets being drawn toward one another. I finally grew some balls and broke up with my boyfriend.

Eight months later, the Hubs and I were married in our apartment by this weird biker-dude (he was the cheapest option and we were on a ramen-noodle budget), surrounded by friends, and with my mom listening in on a cell-phone.

Everyone thought we were getting married so he could get a green card. I guess in a way we were, because he was about to graduate, which meant he would either have to find a company to sponsor him for a work visa, stay and get a PhD, or… leave. The first two weren’t viable options, and the third, well… I couldn’t have that.

Anyway, we were one of those annoying couples who talk about getting married about two weeks into dating. Neither of us had ever done that in a previous relationship. We were inseparable.

We did our weird little marriage ceremony in our apartment, and a year-and-a-half later we flew some of my family down to Peru and had a real wedding, in a big beautiful cathedral. I felt like a movie star because all the locals were crowding around the entrance of the church trying to get pictures of “the American girl who is marrying the boy who left for the United States and got a masters degree and has a job there now.” The very long traditional Catholic ceremony was followed by an incredible reception that lasted until six in the morning.

It was my own personal fairytale.

It’s been ten years now. We have two kids, a dog, a house, lots of responsibilities, as all parents have. And HOLY CRAP. TEN FREAKING YEARS! Shouldn’t we be completely bored with one another by now? But we’re not. We’re annoyingly happy. Love-note happy.

About three years into our marriage, I struggled. Something felt wrong; I felt an antipathy towards my husband that at times bordered on disgust. Mainly because I wanted him to change his ways. He was absent-minded and slovenly, didn’t pick up after himself or help me around the house as much as I felt he should. It drove me crazy.

And I became a naggy bitch, something I had vowed I would never become. At times, I didn’t like him very much, and I most definitely didn’t like who I was becoming. He never seemed to doubt us, though, and that brought me even more frustration. We would have an argument and I would still be fuming and he would be wandering around the house whistling like Steamboat Willie. Didn’t he understand the gravity of the situation???

I found one of Dr. Phil’s self-help books on marriage at a thrift store and was sure it was serendipity that I had stumbled across it. I delved into it with a notebook and pen to take notes on all the ways I could make the Hubs fix himself. But stupid Dr. Phil made the whole book about how you’re supposed to fix yourself, and your spouse will react to your positive changes. Idiot. I kept thinking, Well what if no matter what I do, my husband still doesn’t change into the person I expect him to be?

I quit the book about halfway through, annoyed with Dr. Phil’s condescending tone. Nevertheless, a new little naggy voice appeared in the back of my head, questioning my every thought and accusation directed towards the Hubs. I began to see that although perhaps there was some rudeness on his part for being a slob, it was inadvertent. And I had faults that I had previously been unwilling to recognize; being a sarcastic bitch to my husband being the main culprit. This was not the way to get what I wanted from him. This was not the way to be a wife.

Over the years, through much bickering and many fights, we have come to a place where we function in a respectful way with one another. Whereas I didn’t before, I now trust that his intentions are always good. He has always believed this of me, and because of that, has always been instantly forgiving and never grudgeful. It is the reason he can exit a heated argument whistling an annoyingly upbeat tune. He trusts that we are going to be fine because neither of us has any truly ill intentions.    

I once asked my aunt, who is in her sixties, how she and my uncle have managed to stay together for so long. She said, as if it were obvious, “Well, we just never both wanted a divorce at the same time!” It made me think of how, when I carried anger and resentment toward my husband, he carried the marriage.

I have a deep and profound trust of my husband’s love for me. He feels like more than just a guy I fell in love with and got married to. He even feels like more than family. I feel like we are connected by an unbreakable cosmic string, by our love, by our shared experiences, by our belief that we were ‘meant to be,’ and by the two lives that we’ve brought into this world to share our journey. But if he ever has misgivings about the strength of our love, if I ever catch him reading a self-help book on marriage, I only hope that I can be half the person that he was, and show him, as he did me, that when it comes to us, there is no room for doubt. Only faith.

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25 comments:

  1. Love it! It is your own fairy tale...and with faith, trust & love you head onto your happily ever after together! Congratulations on your anniversary! <3

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  2. Tear....so sweet. G is a lucky guy to be married to my sis, even when she is a naggy bitch. :) You were Def meant to be, bc without the two of you, there would be no Lucas or mar.....and that would never do!

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  3. Awesome, awesome. And I adore the "come get me" story. :-)

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  4. First of all, I read this entire post. No skimming. It was a great story. Second..some pictures from that wedding would be DEVINE. Third, good on you for saying outloud that Dr. Phil says some pretty good stuff, no matter how condescending. I LOVE the imagery of you settling down to find all the ways your husband can better himself but learning that it couldn't work that way. Congratulations on your love. Your scuzzy bar love that turned into something so much less scuzzy.

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    1. Haha, thanks! I'll have to scan the pics from the wedding. That MIGHT happen... lol

      xoxo

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  5. Oh my gosh this is such an amazing journey. My hubby and I talked about getting married after only dating for two weeks, too!!! Met in November, got engaged in December, and married in January of '04. We just celebrated our 9 year! I love what your aunt said, because we have had our ups and downs. But we are more and more in love as time goes on. Oh, I could go on. so many parallels here, made this awesome to read.

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    1. Awww, I'm so happy to read your comment! Congrats on your happy marriage... <3

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  6. This was a wonderful and inspirational story! I met my fiance on OkCupid and we are ALSO one of the couples that told everyone (freaking them all out, obviously) we were going to marry after about two weeks of dating!

    I also really like your description of dealing with the ups and downs. It is much more realistic than anything else I've heard in response to certain worries about the future- and therefore the most inspirational. Thank you.

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    1. Wow. Some of these comments are bringing tears to my eyes! You know before I published this post I was worried that it was 'too much,' like that I would make either myself or my husband look bad. But... the name of the blog IS 'Abandoning Pretense' ... and reminding myself of that is what always inspires me to go ahead and hit 'publish.' =) Thanks so much for commenting!

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  7. This brought tears to my eyes! I am so glad I found your link! This gives me hope, at a time I need some hope! Thank you!

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    1. For realz??? You just made my day. Best of luck to you, dear...

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  8. This is an amazing story. Thanks for sharing! People say sometimes you "just know". It sounds like you did.

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    1. Oh there were a few times when I asked myself "WHAT THE HELL DID GET MYSELF INTO?!?!?!" But yeah... now, after ten years... I "just know." LOL

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  9. So great. Saw you on Funny PostPartum Lady. LOVE the unicorn picture!

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  10. I love this: “Well, we just never both wanted a divorce at the same time!” More true words have never been spoken!

    Found you on the blog hop, come and visit my blog! http://amomoutnumbered.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks for the comment! I went and read your latest post as well and now I feel better about my junk drawers. =)

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  11. Beautiful! I love relationships like this. It reminds me that there are other people out there struggling but loving each other through their challenges. I am so glad you found your fairy tale. In a little under one month, I will be celebrating my fairy tale's 1 year wedding anniversary. It will be wonderful when we hit our 10 year. Thank you for sharing.

    PS- You have a new follower! I found you on the TGIF blog hop. Take a look at my website too at www.9months18years.blogspot.com. Have a good one!

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    1. Ahhh, one year... things were so fresh and shiny back then... ;) Best of luck and thanks so much for stopping by!

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  12. I'm a total stranger (found this post through Scary Mommy).....no kids, not married, not even engaged, but I just wanted to say that I loved this post. Very inspirational, a great story, and with some totally sound advice that I will have to incorporate into my relationship. Thanks!

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    1. Well thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you'll stick around and read some more. I'm so happy that I was able to inspire you!

      xoxo

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  13. Well you may be happy now, but in 40 years you might feel different! Ah, probably not.

    Dr. Phil is still a big bully, phony a-hole, media whore more worried about his ratings than the people he "helps."

    And yet I still watch him.

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    1. I have a feeling that in 40 years I'll be equal parts more annoyed and more in love with the Hubs. At least that's how the rest of my extended family seems to do it. =)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. I met the man of my dreams in a bar...where I was bartending! He walked in with this, "I have my shit together" walk (not the annoying version, the accidental, sexy version), and after a few weeks of regular old orders of Bud Light in a bottle, I decided to properly introduce myself. I walked over, held out my hand and said, "Hi, I'm Tia. We've never actually been introduced." (How's that for out of place in a shit-hole-in-the-wall bar?) Anyway, I think it took him by surprise, and later that evening, he asked me for "a kiss, a hug and cold beer, in that order." I turned him down for 2 out of the 3 until a month or so later. :)

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    1. HOLY CRAP that is super-romantic too! I love that!

      xoxo

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