I hope we don’t end up having you in December or January because it is already a tough stretch of the year for me. As it is, I have to come up with gifts for 1) Christmas, 2) your mother’s birthday, and 3) our anniversary. That’s a gift-giving gauntlet if one ever existed.
Your mom and I celebrated our second anniversary on January 3rd. She asked me, “So was the second year easier than the first?” We’ve been repeatedly told by family, friends, strangers, and advice columns that the first year of marriage is always the roughest because (I assume) it’s about adjusting to a new lifestyle (i.e., a man’s loss of freedom…just kidding, kind of).
I automatically said, “Yes, definitely” because there’s no other answer in that situation. But your mom, perceptive as always, knew how to cut through the bullshit by giving me her unfiltered version to get me to open up about it.
“I feel like the [quality of our relationship on] days when we didn’t fight were much better, but when we did fight, it was much worse than the first year,” she said.
I agreed. For whatever reason, when we did have a fight this past year, it felt like the stakes were much greater because when one threatens divorce or something extreme, it’s pretty extreme. Pair that with frustrations about not having fixed long-running issues that came up in the first year, and it feels like you’re trapped in a relationship twilight zone.
I then opened up my Microsoft Excel journal/log in which I write a short note about each day (a la Doogie Howser). I did a count for whenever I used the word “fight” or “argue”, which I will write about whenever we do have a fight on a particular day.
In 2014, we had at least 43 fights, which sounds like a lot. Your mom felt pretty dejected by that. So I reframed it by putting it in the context of over the course of a year, which comes out to 12% of the time. That’s not too shabby. Small victories – that’s where it’s at. We congratulated each other with high fives and a good laugh.
(And when in doubt, always ask whether the year felt like it flew by. I think the answer is usually “yes” when looking at anything in retrospect.)
In all seriousness, I’m not sure where I’d be if I never married your mother. Probably richer, but stuck in the dark ages where I use the dishwasher as a drying rack and eat cardboard for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. So yes, I’m very thankful I have your mom in my life. Happy anniversary to us.
Your mom made an awesome cotton candy coffee for our anniversary because apparently cotton is the second anniversary gift (I lucked out because I got her a scarf!). Then she made a sweet gif!