“They look like somebody made them!” That’s what one of our wedding guests said on the day we married. She’d reiterated my exact sentiments ever since the first day we’d met—someone made him just for me.
From the very beginning, we’ve had best friend vibes. Whether we were bouncing a ball around outside of his apartment or lying in the grass on campus, while staring at the clouds, once we decided we were a couple, we pretty much did everything together.
I did that thing that a lot of people do—ignored whoever was a friend at the time and poured all my attention and energy into this new relationship. We created a bubble and constantly prioritized one another.
One time, when his friends were over having drinks, one of them kept asking me to grab him another beer.
“Aye! My babe is not the maid,” he replied, while gently stopping me from leaving the couch.
He saw me as important, and in that moment, decided I wouldn’t be treated any type of way.
I felt secure.
When he graduated, leaving me to finish two years of college and creating a 140-mile long-distance relationship, we remained committed to one another. We spoke on the phone every night, until our voices turned to snores. Friday nights, he arrived on campus as soon as he finished with work; Monday mornings he arrived back home just in time to clock in.
We. were. in. love.
The three years prior to our marriage, we spent a lot of time talking. We still do. Whether it’s the big stuff, like abortion, religion, and politics, or concepts, like veganism and over-population, there’s nothing you can ask either of us that we won’t know how to answer for the other person.
By the time Dwight asked me to marry him November 1995, I already knew I’d say, “yes.” We’d talked about it. But I still cried. The whole ordeal seemed surreal. Even when we married the following year, I floated above our heads and watched myself utter those famous two words, and ride in a horse and carriage, and eat chocolate cake, and do the hustle, and…and…and. Even for my extroverted, partying self, our wedding was very performative, and I had a nagging sense it was unnecessary.
All I ever wanted was to be with Dwight, lying in the grass, looking at the clouds.
“Are you okay?” my father asked as he drove us to the airport for our honeymoon.
I always wondered if he saw the dream state in my eyes, the awe that any of this was happening.
“I’m fine,” I said.
Life buzzed by and we met the expectations of a husband and wife:
✅ 2 kids
And the couple who used to walk in the rain, hand-in-hand, just because ceased to exist. Handwritten love notes attached to roses dissipated. Instead, we were replaced with society’s version of love and marriage. The world calls it “growing up,” but I call it a factory-model rendition of love.
I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and I want to be clear. You can be in a committed relationship and never marry. You can marry and never have children. You can have children, be in a committed relationship, and never marry. I’ll stop here.
On our 25th wedding anniversary, I finally realized we could’ve done this love thing however we wanted. We can do this love thing however we want. Whether it’s walking in the Cloud Forest in Costa Rica or biking on a trail at the beach, I hope we’ll spend the next twenty-five years making up ways to be in love…in whatever way best suits us.
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