When we were working with our minister to design our wedding ceremony, she asked us what images and words we’d use to describe our relationship.
I really liked the image of two trees whose branches and roots mingle over time. Maybe it’s because I read the Baucis and Philemon myth at a formative age, I don’t know.
My husband and I started dating when he was 22 and I had just turned 20. At the time, he was a recent college graduate and a cigarette-smoking cynic. He was working as a reporter for a local paper and acting in some college plays. I, on the other hand, was a bouncy, sheltered college sophomore who spent like six hours a day in various rehearsals and another six dealing with dorm drama. I was an eternal optimist, an English/Drama double major and a creative writing minor.
My "baby" sister just turned 20 last week. It seems crazy-young to me now.
I have grown so much in the last eight years. Steve has too. I’ve tempered my exuberance with a dash of realism. He’s softened his bombast. I learned to watch–and occasionally even like–crime procedurals. He doesn’t miss Project Runway. He quit smoking, lost 50 pounds, and became a vegetarian. I quit expecting him to read my mind and learned to tell him what I needed. He quit acting and found his ambition in playwriting. I learned to become a little less focused and perfectionistic, and I started writing again. He makes me laugh. I keep him organized. He’s shared his huge lovable cat. I share my huge crazy family. He’s got me hooked on Neil Gaiman and Buffy comics. I’ve got him hooked on Paula Vogel plays and Canasta.
I don’t know nearly as much about love and romance as I thought I did at 20 (I’d read Gone with the Wind like seven times, okay?). But I’ve seen my parents’ marriage and my dad’s second marriage end in divorce. I know that you have to grow both separately and together.
It’s not always been easy. But it’s so profoundly worth it.