What I Know for Sure After 10 Years of Marriage
July 17th, was my 10 year wedding anniversary. I cannot believe that Rob and I tied the knot a decade ago. We wed in beautiful Ojai, California, known as Southern California’s Valley of the Moon, in blistering heat surrounded by our very closest family and friends. It was one of the best days of my life and one of the best decisions I’ve ever made to marry this man of mine.
Over these past 10 years that have had great ups and downs, losses and disappointments, bliss and unbelievable joy, I’ve discovered a few things.
A Safe Harbor
Every marriage has agreements, some spoken, some unspoken. Rob and I decided long ago that our relationship would be our safe harbor. We are each other’s home. A place to rest and replenish, a place to seek refuge and lick our wounds. We go to the outside world for rigor and to work our growing edges, to be challenged and get agitated to become more. And then we return to each other for hugs and comfort. This has worked so well in our marriage. I know many marriages (and have been in other relationships) where the agreement is to challenge each other and push each other to more greatness. And that works perfect for them. For us, it’s divine to be the safe landing place. What works for you?
Be on the Same Team
The biggest blessing in my marriage is that we’ve always felt like we’re on the same team. We’ve never had to work to achieve that team spirit, it’s just been there. When a challenge or crisis arrives on our doorstep we look at it together and tackle it as teammates. This has saved us time and time again during breakdowns, chaos and disagreements. Adding children to the relationship makes this even more vital. We work hard to never undercut one another with parenting decisions, even when our 6 year old tries to work the system!
Eyes Wide Open
Our path to marriage got really, really rocky for a minute. In fact, we were engaged, then got un-engaged, then engaged again, then, at last, married. We never left the relationship, but there were several freak outs, led by little ole’ me, over a course of a year. Rob was never attached to getting married, but I really wanted to. When he proposed (in the most romantic way EVER when he wrote a song for me) I was so filled with joy and bliss I was shaking. Then I panicked. How could I truly KNOW that we would be together forever? The answer was I couldn’t. But I was willing to make our own unique vows of marriage and take the leap of faith. And I’ve never looked back.
Grow Old Together
Rob and I were talking about our upcoming anniversary and I commented, “I mean when we decided to grow old together I just didn’t get…” and he finished “that we’d actually get old?” YES! That’s exactly it.
It didn’t really sink in that Rob would witness me getting wrinkles and my first gray hair. That I’d watch Rob get reading glasses and have less hair. That we’d see each other wake up some mornings after a night up with one of our baby girls feeling exhausted to the bone, with creaky knees and eyes at half-mast and look at one another and say, “I’m too old for this!” (That’s what happens when you receive baby #2 at 40 and 44 years old respectively.)
Release Judgments, Embrace Unconditional Love
What a privilege it is to have a witness to my life that is full of such unconditional love. I’ve never once, in 10 years of marriage and 14 1/2 years of partnership, felt judged by Rob. Isn’t that remarkable? He just loves me…and I love him right back.
In the moments where judgment gets activated, we consciously decide to do two things. First, we look in the mirror, as we know that when we are judging each other there is actually something up with ourselves. Next, we lean into love. Love for each other and love for ourselves.
Choose Each Other Time and Time Again
We decided to renew our vows in front of the camp fire on a camping trip with a circle of dear friends. On our wedding day we did not do the “death til you part” thing. With the divorce rate at over 50%, we just didn’t get how anyone can make that promise. Instead we stated that our intention was to spend the rest of our lives together. And our intention to do so continues to be clear and true. Our vows read: “With this ring, I declare my intention that from this day forward you shall not walk alone… I promise to do my best.” What more can we ever promise?
Live Together Side by Side as Best Friends
I believe we have many soul mates that come in many forms. Our children, our dear friends, our sisters, our beloved pets, our parents. And of course, our romantic partners. It takes a village to raise our children and to raise ourselves in this complex world. We need tribes around us that love and support us. We need fulfilling work and meaningful friendships. We need a connection to spirit, the divine. We need to feel connected to the world. And yet we are whole all by ourselves. Rob gives me space to do my work as a coach, author, speaker and teacher. I give him space to do his incredible music. We join together as best friends and appreciate each other as individuals.
On our wedding program we have this Rainer Maria Rilke quote:
“Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other whole against the sky.”
My mission and intention for our next decade of marriage and beyond is to continue to stay awake. To give gratitude for Rob and his sweet smile and gentle eyes every single day. To continue to truly see him as the incredible human being, man, husband and father that he is. He supports me like no other. He sees my faults and freak outs, my controlling ways and utter imperfections and loves me anyway. He’s watched me birth our two daughters, seen me through many dress sizes, seen me on stage in front of hundreds, and walked in on me sobbing in the bathtub alone. And he sticks around for it all.
I’ve watched him hold our slippery newborn daughters mere moments after being born. I’ve seen him hit the drums in front of thousands of screaming fans at 1am, and watched him unable to keep his eyes open at 7:30pm. I held his hand when his adoptive mom took her last breath and hugged him in his sorrow when we tragically lost his birth mom. I’ve watched him speak courageous words at both of his moms’ memorial services. I’ve seen him teach Annabella to swim and talk his best friend through his divorce. And I still laugh at his ridiculous jokes and know when he needs some love.
Rob, you are my favorite person on the planet. You are my best friend and my soul mate, my lover and my baby daddy. Thank you for being my husband.
May we continue to stay awake in our love story.
What have you learned about love over the last 10 years?