Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Ten Long Years

I've had the Steeleye Span version of "Ten Long Years" going through my head, which is actually about a prison sentence, but hey, it's a cool song.

We were married ten years ago today, September 6, 1996, in the Salt Lake temple. It's been quite an adventure, with nine months in Korea, then three years in Newfoundland--a lot of uncertainty and not being sure where we were going to end up. Since we've been in Washington a lot of things are more settled, but we've definitely found parenting to be the biggest adventure of all. And well, we're still not sure where we're going to end up. I'm thankful to have Doug to share this grandest adventure with.

Yesterday we went to the park with our Bishop's daughter to see if we could get some pictures. It was kind of rough. Kate has been developing camera aversion. And, of course, since we were at the park, she wanted to play, not pose with Mom and Dad. This is probably the best one that we got.

Doug and I both tend to be pretty laid-back people, and not overly sentimental or demonstrative, but I wanted to take this chance to express how much I love him. He's been my companion, my partner, my consultant, the father of my child, my support and encouragement. It means more than anything to have someone with me who cares about the things that I care about, who wants me to be happy, who's willing to work with my weird food problems and occasional crankiness. The fact that he also thinks a trip to the Indian lunch buffet and the bookstore is a great way spend a day is just icing on the proverbial cake. He's such a great dad and I love seeing his joy in just spending time with our daughter.

I asked Doug last night if he would write something for me, for our anniversary, and this is what he did for me (yes, I cried when I read it):

10 years.

Yup, a whole decade!

I think about various other milestones and experiences in my life. High school was 4 years. My mission was 18 short months. The longest I ever lived anywhere was 6 years (until Provo, which was a total of 11 non-contiguous fun-packed years.) I've been in school longer than I've been married--well, I guess that's where my priorities and opportunities were up to this point!

Then I think again, in wonder--I've been married for 10 years. I've got a wife --another person--with whom I've spent 10 years living, laughing, crying, driving, cooking, reading, sleeping, and lots of other -ing things. 10 years! Has it been that long? It must have, but it seems different because of the subtle changes that happen over time, and the fact that we have done some rather extraordinary things together.

Some things about my wife haven't changed--the oatmeal, the long showers, the orange juice in the fridge, and the desire to feed furry things. But other things have--there is a richness, and a depth, that happened in my long-term relationship with her, as I have shared experiences with her beyond what my own limited viewpoint would be.

I have also changed, in some ways. Marriage can do that to a man--take him out of himself and try to put somebody else's needs as greater or equal to his own. I can't think of anything significant, in my core, that I have had to sacrifice (as if that were a bad thing). There are things that I have chosen to change, but there are not many, and they have been minor.

And this is, in some ways, an important measure of our relationship. In the electromagnetic spectra of our lives, we share many wavelengths. (It is a measure of our fit that I can even use terms like this, and know that she will understand, and laugh!) I chose Helena, and to my astonishment, she chose me back. Out of many people, she chose me as the one she felt likely to succeed with. And I have never forgotten that.

It's not just compatibility. That seems to be a term to mean that something X will fit into a space in Y. Certainly, there are some gaps, some aches, from which our permanent loving relationship has erased chronic pain. We are not the same, and sometimes the gears don't quite mesh. But those were only a few, and then we find out that the important things are beyond the gaps. We fit, but we blend. We complement, but we also share important vectors. We experience failures, but do not isolate them as the whole of the being. It is incredible to me that we share, to a large degree, a destination, and the means to get there. Once the initial shock of what is termed love brings a person's life to a standstill, then this shared movement and desire is so far beyond it, that love seems to be a poor term for it.

But love is the word I will use, and hope that she can understand what it signifies. Here's to another 10 arbitrary measurements of distance and time! And then some more! Let us continue on our journey together, where we can help each other become the things we desire to be.


Anonymous said...

you are a lucky girl helena!
Happy Anniversary (ours was yesterday!)

Mimi said...

How amazingly sweet! Happy Anniversary and Many Years!

10 years is quite an accomplishment!

Kristi said...

Please pass the kleenex! Happy Anniversary, guys!

Anonymous said...

Awwww... I LOVE THIS!! Happy Anniversary, you to. Here's to many more!!

Michelle said...

dudes, that rocks!!!

Anonymous said...

I cried too, Helena. Love you both.

Carin said...

That is so sweet and so Doug!

Ernie said...

Congratulations to you both!

TaniaJPS said...

YAY! My husband is eloquent with words as well, so it's nice to read other's with like tendencies. What a wonderful man you have, Helena - and vice versa, Doug!

This is by far my favorite line: "Here's to another 10 arbitrary measurements of distance and time!" Hear! Hear!

Anonymous said...

Whoa! I hope you fully understand how amazing this is. You've got a keeper! Happy Anniversary. (I got married in the Salt Lake Temple, too)

blogger said...

Wow, what an eloquent way to say it. And just 10 years. What will he be saying during the eternities? So nice to have such a companion. You both seem to fit well together and that is marriage - both willing to work toward the eternal goal.