Four years ago today was the hottest, steamiest day of the summer. With my three children close at my side, I walked over grass in high-heeled white satin sandals to a wedding canopy comprised of my grandfather’s prayer shawl and held by our best friends. And there, I promised to love and partner with Dan for the rest of my life.
Second chances come often, and not at all. A first wedding is full of butterflies and idealism as you spend lots of money and create the dream scenario like a magazine photo shoot or a movie set for your happily-ever-after.
And if it doesn’t extend to forever-after in the end, what then? Crash, burn, pull yourself out from under the rubble, dust yourself off and walk with your head high into the future.
Which is what I did eight years after walking down the first aisle with all the tuxedos and musicians that usually come with a first wedding. And 11 years after marrying husband number one, I married husband number two, the person who has become my best friend and life partner on a foundation of understanding, both ourselves and each other.
That’s what you get when you find love in your 40s: a deeper level of relationship. Trust, understanding, honesty, and fun.
Because we did not succeed in our first marriages, Dan and I were intent on creating the winning scenario this time around. We wanted to enjoy each other, and enjoy our days and nights together.
We wanted to be realistic and honest, respecting one another’s independence and interests and appreciating when we coalesce into coupledom.
We wanted to laugh – a lot! – and love – deeply! We wanted to look at each other each day and recognize happiness in the other’s eyes.
And so here we are, 4 years to the day of saying “I do,” and nearly 6 years since we met. It’s not always perfect. The house gets messy, and sometimes we do, too, but we know we’re here to stay. We know from past mistakes that committing is the hardest part of a relationship – not always seeking an out when things get rocky.
Because even in love, life gets tricky. We are human. We blame one another. And then we circle back to love.
In my 40s, I’ve learned that love is about acceptance more than passion or infatuation. It’s about loving the extra pounds and the forgetfulness and the silly late nights and the days that pass without so much as a quick conversation.
Love is about understanding. Forgiveness. Patience. Determination.
Love is being able to yell and knowing to apologize afterwards.
Love is stumbling and catching yourself, and letting the other person dust you off.
I love my husband each and every day that we are together. And I know he loves me. Even when we do stupid things or boss each other around. That’s true love. That has staying power. That’s us.
Happy anniversary, my lovely husband. Happy anniversary to us.