Sunday, July 5, 2009

Me & Him

Last week Husband and I celebrated our three-year wedding anniversary. And I'm smug about it. Not in a Bridget Jones 'smug marrieds' kind of way. But in a 'no one thought we'd last three months, let alone three years' way.

Husband and I met in August. We got engaged in October. And married the following July. All after having spent a sum total of about 5 weeks in each other's company. After we got engaged, we started the round of excited phone calls to friends and family. The range of responses we got was this:
  • "I hadn't realized you were dating anyone."
  • "And you said her name was.. what, again?"
  • "This is...sudden."
  • "Are you sure this is a good idea?"
  • "Have you lost your @!%&! mind???
None of the above was said with a trace of excitement or happiness, for the record. And I can understand. Both Husband and I had come out of long relationships in the months just before we met, and neither of us was really on the lookout for a spouse (quite the opposite, in fact). But met we did, and we both realized early on that we just didn't want to be apart one more day longer.
When you're in the first flush of new love, you overlook a lot of things... or you simply don't worry about them because you trust that Captain & Tenille were right that love would keep you together. Turns out Tina Turner had the wiser advice - sometimes love just ain't enough. And I say, hand on heart, fresh from a wedding anniversary, that Tina was spot on. Love isn't enough.
That's not to say I don't love Husband. I do. A lot. More than I have ever loved anyone else.. or more than I have loved the everyone else's all rolled into one. I won't gush, but suffice to say he is a warm and gentle genius with a wicked sense of humor who isn't afraid of hard work. And he's pretty cute, too. But love isn't what got us to the three year mark. It was a conscious decision on a daily basis to stay together, no matter what.

If I'm being honest. I share the surprise of the aforementioned friends and family that we made it this long. Frankly, I am surprised we made it past the first year. It was touch and go some days. A lot of this had to do with the fact that, although I was perfectly aware I would be moving to Norway when we got married, I didn't think about what that reality would look like when I said my vows.

For the first 12 months of our married lives, every argument would either begin or end with me hissing "And I am only in this PLACE because of YOU!" And poor Husband would just look at me helplessly because he knew it was the truth. But you know what? It wasn't.

When I married Husband, I wasn't just marrying another person, another family. I was marrying another life. And while perhaps I should or could have considered how this other life was going to fare with me on board, I made the conscious decision to pack my wordly goods, put them on a boat, and wing my way to Stavanger courtesy of KLM. I came to Norway because I made a decision to come to Norway. And I made that decision because I fell in love with someone who was already here. So I wasn't in this place because of Husband. I was in this place because of ME.

That realization was a bitter pill to swallow at first because it meant having to own up to being the captain of my own ship, master of my own destiny, blah blah blah. It meant I had to get off the couch and make a life for myself... and that is no mere weekend project! It also meant that I couldn't hurl that accusation around anymore, because it was only hurting the one person who was my partner in crime in my new life. I had to pull up my bootstraps and start living this other life.

So I made some new friends, both local and expat, I got a job that I liked, and I started leaving the house (the length of that sentence belies the amount of time all those things actually took me to do). I learned a smattering of Norsk, and I quit focusing on everything that was wrong and started reminding myself of what was right. And it worked. With a bad year one behind us, there was nowhere to go but up. And we have, year after year. I look forward to future anniversaries - not just as a celebration of our wedding day, but as an annual reminder of celebrating the choices we make in life.

I don't think I ever apologized to Husband for "I'm only in this PLACE because of YOU!" And I won't now either, because I will probably just say it again at some point, thus rendering the apology meaningless. But instead, I guess I should tell him this: "If I'm only in this place because of you, then thank you for giving me the opportunity to have a life better than anything I could have imagined."


  1. That's lovely. Happy anniversary!
    (also, i am going to use the word smug at least twice today. it's underused in my opinion.)

  2. That was beautiful. It shows me everything I am doing wrong. It is hard to be a passenger in your own life! Congratulations dear Jenny!

  3. I've said it before, I'll say it again....Love your blog. Happy Anniversary!!

  4. Just like you I met my hubby in June, got engaged in November and married the following May. I then had our first child the next April. So it was only 11 months from meeting to marrying and we are going to celebrate our 32nd anniversary next May. Its been hard going at times but with plenty of give and take (more take on my part probably) it proves that when you meet 'the one' nothing or no-one can tear you apart. You will have many more happy anniversaries I am sure.

  5. What a lovely story, Anon! It gives me hope that one day our 3 years will be 32 as well. Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. Well, I just saw myself in almost every line you wrote. You translated a good part of me after-arriving-to-Norway. Curious though as we are on our 3rd anniversary here.