Thursday, September 29, 2016

It Ain't Perfect

Okay, let's get serious.
Now that we're past all the mushy, gushy obligatory anniversary posts, I can tell you how our day really went. Because as much as all the things about our wedding day are true and as much as I still think our marriage is really wonderful and that I'm incredibly blessed... it ain't perfect.

So let's back up a few days.
September 27, 2016

We had decided on only one thing for our anniversary- a fancy dinner. Not because either of us really love fancy dinners (however he definitely does more than me), but because the Retreats team at camp had given us a gift card for Christmas that we hadn't used yet. Their goal? To give us something that would make us do something we would normally never do. Tricksters.

So 10 months later, this seemed like a perfect opportunity to put their generosity to use. A two year anniversary celebrated with a fancy dinner. What else can you do on a random Tuesday in September?

I'm not entirely sure what I was expecting when I woke up on September 27, 2016- but I think I may have anticipated more than what actually happened. Eager to continue my new routine of early morning moments with the Lord, I hopped out of bed and sat down at the kitchen island- Bible and journal in hand. Because on your anniversary, you have to write about your marriage (although, when I skimmed backward, I definitely hadn't done it for our one year).

And so I wrote and I read, like all diligent wives do... somewhere, somehow not even realizing that I might be expecting that this day might be different than any other.

Cuing the dog to wake my sleeping beau so we could scurry off to work, I soon found myself in the company of a sleepy, incoherent man. A man complaining about not having pants while wearing a pair of pants. No pants?! You have pants, I assured him. The khaki pair, remember the khaki pair? They're missing! They can't be missing... that doesn't make any sense.

Eventually the pants were discovered in the Goodwill pile...discarded too soon due to a missing button. Buttons are easy. Buttons are cheaper than pants. Don't you know?

And off to work we went.

The thing about working at the same place and working in the same building and, then, having your husband also work for you, is that sometimes work and home mix. Only sometimes, of course. And on this particular day, our anniversary day, we had a scheduled meeting together. A one-on-one. A boss checking in on their employee type of meeting. The type of meetings we don't have enough because we're married and see each other often. The type of meetings he can resent me for not having with him often enough. And so we met. And after the first fifteen minutes of figuring out how to actually talk to each other without being defensive or annoyed, we survived.

But today's our anniversary, I thought.
It's supposed to be special. Different. Better. Best. Isn't it?

My husband suggested us leaving work early to catch a movie before our fancy dinner reservations at 6:30pm. Okay. Let's do it. Let's play hooky and go see a movie. I scrolled through Fandango, dismayed by our options but determined to find one that fit our interests and our timeframe. With less than 15 minutes to get ready for our fancy dinner, we both laughed at how dressed up we were having to get for a movie. A dress, wedges, make-up... his wedding shoes, a button up, a suit jacket.

So we went to the mall (of course). We bought our tickets, our large popcorn (with butter) and our giant Mr. Pibb. It's by far the sleaziest theatre in town, but it had the movie we wanted at the time we needed. With only one other couple in the theatre, I sank down into my seat, my feet already hurting in the wedges. Why didn't I think to bring flip flops? 

As we listened to Florence Foster Jenkins (or rather, Meryl Streep) belt too highly and off-key, I had a moment of dissatisfaction. What are we doing? We could go to a movie any day...? Today is our anniversary... it's supposed to be special. Why didn't we go hiking, catch the sunset and eat a delicious picnic? And why am I still wearing these stupid shoes? 

The shoes came off.
We laughed. He cried.
The shoes came back on, the lights came back on. An hour to kill until dinner.
Fortunately we needed a shower curtain rod (ours had fallen off in the middle of the night onto our dog a few days prior) so we took off across town to hit up Lowe's.

It's always in rides across town that everything goes wrong, isn't it?
It's always on your anniversary where things are supposed to be special when you ask your husband a question that automatically traps him. We came to a stop at a stop sign, I showed him a picture of us that had been taken months earlier and I ask (deep sigh): I don't look as fat anymore, right? 

It wasn't what he said that made me mad, but it was the tone.
And immediately I brought up the pants, the meeting, and his response to my picture. You just don't seem like you even like me today. 

When what I really wanted to say was, today was supposed to be special. I expected today to be special. Couldn't you read my mind? 
Eventually, through clinched teeth, I admitted to him that I had probably had some expectations that I didn't even know I had that weren't being met. And, eventually, after a few more misunderstandings, I even apologized for it.

One (too long) shower curtain rod and a few light bulbs later and we were on our way to the fancy dinner. The type of fancy dinner that immediately makes someone like me feel out of place, angry at the absurdity of the prices and ignorant about food and wine. But we survived. We even drank good wine and ate delicious (small portions) of food.

The thing about the fancy dinner was that it gave us more time to talk. We had quickly moved on from our misunderstandings and had reached a place of common ground. It wasn't long before we found ourselves reminiscing, laughing and enjoying each other's company in this funny, expensive restaurant (the type of restaurant where they fold your napkin again if you leave it on your table when you excuse yourself to go to the bathroom).

We talked about the lessons we had learned over the last year in our marriage and the things we wanted to accomplish in the upcoming one. We dreamed about the possibilities and the ways that we might be better reflections of Christ in all aspects of our lives. We talked about tackling new adventures and being more intentional with the people in our lives.

It was a great fancy dinner.
And, in some ways, it was a perfect anniversary. Not because our relationship is perfect, but because our anniversary reflected exactly that: imperfection. Imperfection, confession, getting over ourselves and still making the most of a delightful evening.

In fact, it's potentially one of my favorite parts about our marriage.
We somehow manage to weed our way through this messiness and find each other... and ultimately remind each other that we're on the same team. We're in this together. Our intentions are good, even if they aren't always executed perfectly or received well.

And it's good.
Super imperfect, but good.
And a crazy, challenging, beautiful, life-changing adventure.

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