Spouses for Life

Yesterday was the nine-year anniversary of the day Ben got on one knee and proposed to me. I enthusiastically said “yes” that beautiful afternoon next to Riverside Park in Manhattan, and if possible, I’d even more enthusiastically commit today. Like almost all relationships, we have had quite a few ups and downs in the years of our friendship and then romantic relationship. I have now known Ben for exactly half my life! We have seen one another at our bests, worsts, and nearly every shade in between. We’ve navigated losses of many types, tremendous changes, nearly a dozen moves, health issues, financial strain, family problems, and the trauma of my attack. These various challenges have not always been handled with the ideal grace and strength that we’d like, but we’ve hung in together and grown and matured throughout the process.

There were obstacles that felt too overwhelming to overcome, unraveling the tight-knit fabric of our partnership. Somehow, in those darkest times, we both dug within ourselves to focus on the good things and our love for the other to help prevent us from becoming totally unhinged and giving up on our marriage. The only reason I can speak for both of us and attest that we are both very glad to have stuck it out together is that we communicate openly about our feelings. Most importantly, we both agree that we’ve improved in our teamwork, our communication, our respect and care for one another, the degree to which we can put aside our personal needs for those of the other, and the extent to which we regularly verbalize or demonstrate our appreciation for one another. These improvements have made our conflict resolution, problem solving, and hardship overcoming abilities to increase exponentially. Although I sincerely hope we are gifted with some smoother, less stressful months and years ahead, it feels reassuring to be in this place where we have achieved this growth together. We are a strong unit.

Friday is our six-year wedding anniversary. I haven’t yet completely decided how I will honor Ben as my husband that day and demonstrably shower him with the admiration, appreciation, and love I have for him. It’s a difficult task because the magnitude, sincerity, and deepness of those feelings far surpass any verbal or physical means of expression. Luckily for me, Ben understands my devotion and gratitude towards him. Still, it’s nice to do something extra special on an anniversary. We probably won’t actually “celebrate” it together until the weekend, given the paltry overlap of our schedules on weekdays; that gives me three days to come up with an idea.

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