That’s how long Andrew and I have been together. It’s crazy to think about how long we’ve been a part of each other’s lives. In some ways, 17 seems SO LONG. And yet, in other ways, it is hard to remember a time when he wasn’t a part of my life. It’s not that every day with Andrew has been glowlingly wonderful. Nor was everyday before Andrew awfully dark.
But I have no doubt that Andrew has challenged, inspired, and sometimes dared me to be a better, happier person. I hope I’ve done the same for him. I like myself better with him in my life. I like my life better with him in it. I’d like him even more if he could put more dishes in the dishwasher, but I recognize how lucky I am to even have a dishwasher. (Seriously, we may not have made it 17 years if we didn’t have one. There were so many small bitter arguments over dishes pre-dishwasher.)
A friend asked me a few days ago what our secret was. “How do you get to be together that long? I mean, just HOW?”
And I had no answer for her. And even after thinking about it for a couple of days, I still don’t think I have an answer. But I think it mostly boils down to my recognition that because he is part of my life, I am better for it. He’s far from perfect. He’s got faults that many people I know would leave him for without hesitation. And while I love him despite the faults, it’s mostly recognition that his faults (while annoying) don’t hinder my enjoyment of life more than his presence in my life brings me happiness. That’s an awkward sentence, but what I mean to say is that the unpleasant moments I’ve spent with him have not kept me from enjoying the vast majority of the time we’ve been together.
There have been struggles, and troubles, and tears. There have been pained silences, tight-lips, and heartbreak. But we’ve found a way to grow and change through those times and come out still happy to be with each other. And I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful that he’s worked just as hard as I have (sometimes harder) to get to a point where the bad times can be talked about without causing more tight lips and re-breaking of hearts.
I have no advice on how you can get to be with someone for 17 years and still be happy with them, let alone still love and be in love with them. I think it is luck, honestly. There were so many times where we probably “should have” broken up. So many times where I didn’t think we’d survive a fracture. But we did. And it has been hard work, but we’ve both put forth the work. We’ve both wanted the outcome that we currently have.
But still, man, 17 years! It blows my mind. 17 years!
Next month we’ll have been married for 7 years. Even that seems like a really, really, really long time. And yet, it seems like yesterday.
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