I met my husband through friends as an undergrad. We were in the same study group for an intro biology class. I had a huge crush on him, but never thought he would pay me all that much attention. It turns out he felt similarly, and we started dating at the end of our sophomore year. My roommate at the time told me “You two are perfect for each other and will be married with 2.5 children, for sure.” We thought that was funny at the time, but it turns out that prediction was pretty much dead on.
Now almost 25 years later, we’re married with two great boys, one turning 15 next month, and the other 11. (The half is clearly our vaguely crazy dog.) We’ve been through easy times and difficult ones, times where there’s been stress and times where things seem like the couldn’t possibly get better. We’ve been there for each other when relatives have passed away or been hospitalized, when kids have had to have operations, when we’ve had to have operations ourselves. We’ve been to parent teacher meetings, signed mortgages, invested money, bought underwear- you name it, we’ve probably done it together. The lines in the marriage vows that talk about “For Better and For Worse, in sickness and in health”- we’ve seen our fair share of wonderful and even some patches where I’ve wondered if we would be able to get out of the ditch and get things back on a better track. But for all of it, we’ve done pretty well for ourselves, I think.
For twenty-five years, I’ve seen this fantastic man change from a college kid into a well-respected doctor, from a boy to a father, from a boyfriend to a husband, and take on each role well, with its constantly changing demands and stress. He’s my very best friend, someone who has seen me at my best and my worst, and is always there to not only tell me the unvarnished truth, but to encourage me to reach, to stretch, to try to do more, to be better, and to dream. He’s seen me vulnerable. He’s seen me struggle with being a parent, with becoming a mom, with trying to do the right thing even when that seems like the hardest thing in the world to do.
We’ve taught each other a lot about love, and how it grows and evolves over time. It’s about having passion, not only for who you are, but for who you can be. It’s about having hopes and dreams, not only for yourself, but for the other person as well, and for the whole family. It’s about realizing happy is not so much a destination but the journey, and maintaining a healthy sense of adventure and a very healthy sense of humor makes it all so much better.
I feel so very lucky to have met my husband at a young age, and to have essentially grown up with him over time, to become the people we are now. I try hard not to take any of this for granted, and to remind myself and Matt that we are really very lucky.
I know Valentine’s Day can be difficult for many people. We think that someone else is supposed to come along and “make” us happy. The truth is more that you are in charge of your own happiness. Your partner or spouse is someone you can share life’s joys and life’s tragedies with, and they will still love you, when you are at your best or at your worst. Instead of making us happy, they give us someone to share our own happiness with, and we’re both better for it.
I love you Matt. Happy Valentine’s Day, my love. Here’s to many, many more.