Bethany and I celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary in June. We did this in a pretty simple and traditional manner by exchanging gifts and going out to dinner. When I actually see the description of our anniversary night, it seems kind of disappointing. For being young and only married for a few years, I kind of wish we had a better anniversary story. But, no. I gave Bethany a pair of earrings (which I’d bought for her that day because I may or may not have almost forgotten our anniversary), and she gave me a gift card to Lowes to pick out a power tool of my choice—pretty typical anniversary presents. We exchanged these gifts on a Tuesday night in a restaurant that was completely empty except for two other couples in their sixties.
On paper (or computer screen), this description looks pretty boring; however, Bethany loved the earrings, and she knew that I wanted to start building a collection of power tools. Also, we had a gift card for our restaurant, and saving money is kind of a big deal right now because I just graduated from medical school, and payments are now due each month for the $300,000 I’ve racked up in school loans. At the time, we’d also just returned from a trip to Europe, and we were moving to a new apartment in 2 days. Yeah, our anniversary was pretty generic, but the days surrounding it were sprouting with blooms of activity.
Sometimes, I describe my married life to people, and I get scared that it’s really boring. Bethany and I go to work and then we come home, eat dinner, and watch some TV. A lot of our weekends consist of sitting, taking naps, eating, and watching more TV. We consider getting Papa John’s, renting a movie, and making a pitcher of mojitos on a Saturday night to be a big occurrence. Neither of us was ever into the party scene, and we live in a small town where even the bars are closed by 9 or 10 most nights of the week (if they’re even open).
I was lamenting to myself a bit ago that Bethany and I have a pretty boring married life, but then I sat down and poured a glass of wine and took a look out my window at our view of the Appalachian Mountains. I realized that maybe our life isn’t as boring as it could be.
I just graduated from medical school, and I am finally making a paycheck that is substantial enough to live off of for the first time in my life. We finally replaced my 1997 Pontiac Bonneville that was handed down to me by my parents when I left for college. Bethany has a job that she loves and is really super good at doing. We just moved into a new apartment with central air and a stainless steel dishwasher. We’ve had time to nestle into our new home. Bethany sewed throw pillows; I built a wine rack out of old pallets; and we recovered our dining room chairs together.
We saved up our money for four years and went on a trip to Europe. We have tried to assimilate to our lives in West Virginia and now we have a garden and do things like camping, kayaking, and making dandelion wine. (Even though Bethany resented the fact that I made her help me pick a gallon of dandelions out of our yard). Sometimes I even milk our friend’s cow and use the milk to make ice cream.
Yesterday we went to hang out with some friends who are newlyweds. I walked through their house and looked at all of their new things that they got as wedding presents and recalled what life was like when Bethany and I unpacked all of our gifts into our first house. We had brand new dishes, cups, and wine glasses. The crumb tray in our toaster was empty, and our broiling pan was spotless. Our sheets were perfectly folded, our towels were fluffy, and our duvet cover was a pristine white. Our knives were perfectly sharpened, and my tools were organized in my tool bag.
We were starting a new life together that was sparkling clean and full of possibilities.
Now, after 3 ½ years, a lot has changed. Thanks to my clumsiness, we no longer have a full set of dishes. Our toaster tray is full of crumbs, and our broiling pan looks disgusting no matter how hard we scrub it. Our towels aren’t fluffy anymore, our sheets don’t always get folded, and our duvet holds the evidence that we sometimes eat snacks while we watch TV in bed. We started with a set of 12 drinking cups, and we’ve broken all but four; even right now, I’m drinking my wine out of a chipped crystal wine glass.
Our wedding gifts have started to show their age.
So has our marriage.
The two, however, have aged very differently.
With each life experience we share together, our marriage is growing stronger. Our wine glasses might be chipped, and we might have an odd number of salad plates, but living life together has brought us so much closer to each other. I’ve rubbed Bethany’s back when she was frustrated because her experiments at work weren’t working properly. She held me while I worried over not getting the residency that I wanted. Through it all, each moment has been shared together. While sometimes we might think we’re boring or get worried that our sex life isn’t spicy enough, we are taking each step in life together.
I hope and pray that when next June rolls around and we’re celebrating another anniversary, we’ll be able to raise our glasses and make a toast celebrating another year of love and growth.
This toast will be made in matching glasses
Without any chipped edges.