Over the past several years, Bill and I have moved from buying each other gifts for Christmas and our Anniversary (do you capitalize that one?) to buying one thing we both can use. We cook a lot (in case you hadn't noticed) and ENJOY the whole process, so we've started buying ourselves things like big heavy-duty stock pots, including a Le Creuset dutch oven, or a paella pan – things along those lines. We get lots of use out of them, and at the same time, it's kind of nice to look at the item as we're using it and know that WE bought it for US and LOOK at the use we're getting out of it! Aren't we clever?!
It's working better than "Gee, thanks for the socks."
Just kidding. I don't think we've ever bought socks as gifts for each other. Just for the kids. And they'd darn well better appreciate them, too!
We've also (I am realizing now) not really paid attention to those symbols of wedding anniversary years. You know, the Silver Wedding Anniversary, the Golden Wedding Anniversary. For one thing, those two are a few years off. And for another, I have no idea what the other "themes" are. I think there's paper in there somewhere…and leather…glass? I don't know. So, obviously, those sorts of things are not high up on our list of priorities to remember. (Instead, we have, on that list, things like the legal lengths that you can keep various fish each season. For example, scup need to be ten and a half inches. Bill knows that. I know that. Our marriage is working.)
I think, for us, a better kind of anniversary theme or symbol, might be, say, different kinds of cookware. That's the route we seem to be taking anyway. For other couples it might be something else – for travelers, for instance, it might be a new destination each year. There shouldn't be one blanket thing for everyone, because clearly we're not all the same. Not the same as individuals, and not the same as part of a couple.
I could go on. I won't.
I have, however, been thinking about the whole relationship/partnership/marriage thing, and why do some of them work and some don't? Why do some seem fine on the outside when in reality they are, like the tree that fell a few weeks ago, rotted out and ready to break when you least expect them to.
I wouldn't presume to speak for anyone else.
I will just jot down a few things I've noticed over these last several years.
I think you have to relax. Maybe not about EVERYTHING, but in the marriage, you have to relax, let go, and trust in yourselves, in each other, and in the long term, and not try to force things to conform to the way you THINK they're supposed to go. Because they won't. Life together will have a life of its own, and it's best, sometimes, to let nature take its course.
It will not always be easy. There will be days (weeks, months, etc.) when everything's a strain, nothing goes easy, and you wonder if you'll ever have smooth sailing again. Hang in there. You'll get through it.
There will be good times, too, hopefully. Days that pass along so easily you won't even give them a second thought. But you should. You should stop and smell the roses, so to speak, of those uneventful times, because they don't last. There's always another bump in the road.
Those are my little words of wisdom.
Yesterday was our ninth anniversary, Bill's and mine.
We bought a new toilet.
That, my friends, is love.