I’m going to be a grinch and grumble a little about all the wedding and baby knickknacks that say, “All because two people fell in love.”
It’s not all because of falling in love. If it were all because of falling in love, I would have married any number of ill-suited people and life would potentially be quite disastrous by now. If it were all because of falling in love, I would have abandoned my offspring long ago in one of his few but dramatically unlovable moments. (Sneezing, spitting up, and projectile-peeing ALL AT ONCE would be one of those moments.) In fact, I would argue that if it were all because of falling in love (or at least the feeling we call love), marriage and motherhood would be pretty meaningless.
I have experienced and witnessed too many breakups not to realize that love is, unfortunately, not all you need. There have been times in the first year of our marriage when I did not feel very loving toward my husband. (Most seem to involve him asking if I am “okay” when I am either pushing a child out of my body and/or covered in the bodily fluids of said child.) There have been times in the first two months of our child’s life when I have contemplated putting him in his crib and walking five hundred miles and then walking five hundred more. (Funny enough, those seem to coincide with the non-husband loving moments.)
The last year has seen a bit of a divorce epidemic in my circle of friends, not to mention dating breakups. Some of them frankly terrified me, because I thought, “Well, damn, if they can’t make it, what hope is there for the rest of us?” Of course I don’t know what really happens within anyone else’s relationship, but from what I know of my friends as people, they tried. In many cases there was genuine commitment, compatibility and common values that somehow wasn’t quite enough or maybe not quite the right fit. I know they knew that marriage is work and that at least one, if not both, parties worked like hell to keep things together and they didn’t just fall out of love and go their separate ways. Not that I actually think many people divorce this way, but that’s why the, “All because two people fell in love,” sentiment, even if cute and well-meaning, grates on my nerves so much.
No one wants to think about any of this on their wedding day, and I certainly didn’t. But the reality of being married is that not every marriage makes it and there’s no formula for predicting which ones will and which ones won’t. A year ago I took the biggest gamble of my life, wagering my health and happiness, fame and fortune on one person whom I was betting would do the same. We gave each other the ability to wreck our lives, and since then we’ve made another tiny human with the power to cause us more pain than anyone else on earth. (Put that on your Hallmark card and smoke it.)
Our party of three isn’t here because two people fell in love. We’re here because two people met, got to know, rely on, and trust each other. We’re here because we decided to commit to our shared values. We’re here because we took, and continue to take every day, the insane risk of putting our lives in each others’ hands and hearts. And we’re here because the reward is worth the risk.
Happy anniversary to us!