February 3rd is one of my favorite days of the year. It’s the day I began dating the man who would become my husband. And it’s the day he proposed to me, two years later. It’s a pretty darn special day.
Today, I wanted to recognize our anniversary with a reflection on how our relationship has changed me. What came to mind are four things I’ve learned from our four years together:
1. I didn’t have to “fix” myself before being with Darren, because he brings out my best self.
I’d hoped to work out all my issues before meeting my husband (ha!), so I could be the best partner possible for him. I knew the many ways in which I was broken, and all of the fixes I wanted to make before I would make a worthy wife. What I didn’t expect is that being with Darren would help me become my best self. Darren brings out my silly side, and he recognizes my strengths in ways that help me recognize them, too. On my part, I think I’ve gotten him to take himself less seriously; he says that I’ve also unlocked his love of fresh food and creative cooking. Together, we have a creative synergy, a way of generating better ideas together than either of us would have had on our own. As the wise Fabolous and Neyo once said, “I’m a movement by myself, but I’m a force when we’re together.”
2. When life feels unsettling, my relationship is a fixed star in my universe.
For whatever reason, I don’t tend to take the easy road in life. I’m very hard on myself, and I’ve made career choices that mean a lot of work for very little pay. There have been a great many times in my four years with Darren when I felt upset or confused or even hopeless. Even when I’m crying or my thoughts are spiraling out of control, I take a moment to stop and remind myself, “Darren and I have each other.” Our partnership is the signpost in the ground that I can return to again and again, the north star I can find when I’ve lost my way. I know that Darren loves me even when I’m at my worst, and that no matter what obstacles arise, we’ll figure out a way past them together.
3. The exceptional moments and the day-to-day moments together are both precious.
Darren and I have been fortunate to have shared many peak moments together: watching the sun rise from a riverboat on the Yangtze River; sipping wine from the rooftop of a fancy hotel at San Francisco’s Union Square; looking up in awe at the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel in Vatican City; and walking barefoot on a Hawaiian beach under the stars. We’ve enjoyed all of those exceptional times together and hope to have a great many more. But we also enjoy sitting together on our comfy sectional couch and watching our favorite shows. That’s pretty much where you can find us every night at home. I’d say that we enjoy these quiet day-to-day moments together as much the ones that are worthy of a highlights reel.
4. There’s nothing like laughing together.
One of the things I love best about Darren is that he makes me laugh, really laugh, every day. Every day! Someone once told me that the most important key to a lasting marriage is being able to laugh together. At the time, I thought, “Well, what about shared values and goals? What about being able to have heart-to-heart talks, and challenging each other to grow?” Now, I think that while there are many important little things that contribute to a healthy marriage, laughing together — even during a conflict — is one of the most essential.
And with that, I toast the love of my life in celebration of our anniversary. I look forward to many more!
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