Marriage. 9 Years. 1 Farmhouse. 2 Dogs. Life.

Happy 9 year wedding anniversary to me and Ian today on this July 12, 2017.  9 years ago we stood on a beach in Ferrysburg, Michigan, said our vows, and made it legal in front of about 120 friends and family.  The cottage we used for the wedding was tiny and in no way set up to host a wedding--but it pretty much kicked all sorts of wedding ass and we had a great time.

Now we are 9 years into this thing and I have to say, it's not that bad.  I mean, sure, there are days when I think both of us find ourselves thinking, "Realllly? Really?", but for the most part, it's a pretty smooth trip.

We had been dating for 7 years before we got married--I like to say it was because we wanted to wait until same-sex marriage was legalized before we tied the knot (I have a feeling this is something Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie might have one said though...so now I don't say that anymore), but it also was because just really didn't need a paper to feel it was legal. We had lived together for 5 of those years, traveled around the country and the world together, and in the end, what ultimately pushed us towards the altar was the imperative need for health insurance--really. After Ian's near death in Thailand (he hates when I tell this story, so just know that if you want to hear it, we can tell it over drinks sometime--it's a good story and one that really should be featured on The Moth because I tell it like a total boss), we got back to the US and realized that in order for us to both have adequate health insurance, we would need to be married--and as the teacher in the family, my insurance was the best.  

People always groan at this part, Ian included, and say, "But that's so unromantic? You got married for health insurance?" 

NO. We did not get married FOR health insurance, but gosh, guys, it really was a pretty big deal. When you are presented with a bill for over $24,000 USD and realize that if this medical emergency had happened in the US, you'd be all shades of bankrupt, you count your lucky stars it happened in Thailand and the total is only $2400 Thai Baht. 

We didn't get married for health insurance, but it sweetened the deal. Really sweetened it.  We knew we would eventually get married--this just pushed us to have the party. 

Getting off subject here--the deal with marriage, from my 9 years of expertise, is that is can go a few ways. For some, it goes really dramatic and there is a ton of fighting and passion and insanity--a continuation, in some ways, of the dating phase. For others, it gets super boring, and all meals are enjoyed in front of cell phones while you secretly reconnect with your high school boyfriend via Facebook.  For others, and I think we fall into this category, marriage is just sort of...normal. Not boring, but not dramatic. Not intense, but not uninteresting. It's just day to day.

Marriage is  trusting each other to take out the garbage when one is traveling and hoping that the dogs were let out in a timely fashion.  It's pretty big laughs at jokes that no one else would think are funny (mostly about dogs and the cars they would drive if they were human) and ordering Chinese food when the only remaining fridge food is a rotten onion.  

It's working on an old ass farmhouse for 5 years and trying to convince most of your family and friends you aren't crazy.  Marriage is early mornings where no one looks good and phrases like "I under-slept" as you get back into the bed with a coffee cup in hand, while your spouse heads out the door to work.  

Marriage is constant trips to the Humane Society looking for the 3rd dog to adopt, or endless Craigslist searches for Land Cruisers from the mid-90s.  Marriage is telling your spouse that he is your second photographer now and then booking a 4 month road trip around the US in a vintage Airstream trailer.  Marriage is swimming in Lake Michigan at night and using each others legs to warm up cold feet in the trailer.  

Marriage is saying every SINGLE winter, "THIS is the last winter we spend in Michigan," as you cold shuffle into Meijer at 8am on a Sunday in January.  Marriage is knowing that your spouse takes an ice cube in his coffee or that the half and half needs to turn to the most delicate shade of tan.  Marriage is agreeing to watch just one more episode of the People Vs. OJ Simpson and then it's 1am and you've watched 9 episodes and you're like, "HOW DID THE GLOVE NOT FIT?!!! COME ON!"

Marriage is arguing with the man who walks by your house who yells "Polish Lives Matter" and having your spouse advocates for you and your profession in the cold while you're at Parent Teacher Conferences. Marriage is accepting that the left side of the garage will always be filled with vintage furniture that may or may not be for sale.

Marriage is understanding that having 131 houseplants is normal. Marriage is having an entire room filled with young adult books because your spouse quit her job (and then quit her new job) and now you're just kind of waiting.

Marriage is believing relentlessly in the other and in the power of pizza. Marriage is quitting drinking for 30 days and talking about it a LOT with each other. Marriage is walking to the trail beach, washing off all the insulation from an old house, and then watching the sunset.

So, obviously, this is my marriage.  It's not perfect, but it works. I'm grateful for it. I'm grateful for this life and this man and the many, many, many, many laughs.

Happy Marriage, Ian. You are cool.

All photos are by Amy Carroll during our Anniversary Session last year in Empire.  She is basically the cat's PJs in all the patterns. 

All photos are by Amy Carroll during our Anniversary Session last year in Empire.  She is basically the cat's PJs in all the patterns.