The picture on the left was our first as an established, official, boyfriend-girlfriend couple in February 2005, taken just before my cousin’s wedding. The one on the right is our most recent picture together taken at our friends’ wedding.
How beautiful that both our first and most recent couple photos were taken at weddings; that the documentation of our personal relationship has been bookended with big, loud, joyful celebrations of love.
We had our own wedding in 2006 and are nearing our (lucky!) 13th anniversary in just a few months. I have about a bazillion things still left to learn about love and marriage, but here is what I know to be true so far.
You both change; physically, mentally, intellectually, spiritually. You change so much that some days you look at your spouse and think “How did this ever happen?” Some days you think, “How can he possibly still love me?”
Change is growth. No person is supposed to be the same as they were 10 plus years ago; no relationship is supposed to be either.
When you bring a baby into the world as a couple, and choose to become a family, you have a new responsibility to one another.
When you bury a baby together, well… I’ll try to do it justice.
It’s like you’re both drowning at the same time, and you can see each other but you can’t help each other.
It’s like you’re stuck together on opposite ends of the same enormous, disorienting maze and you just keep frantically running into dead ends and wrong turns on your way back to each other.
You feel bonded to your spouse in this specific heartache because only the two of you have lost THIS daughter, THIS son…and at the same time, you reflect each other’s sadness.
You remind each other of what was coming, and now isn’t.
Gradually, you piece yourself back together. You do your best to respect your partner’s grief process, even when it looks nothing like your own.
Eventually, you find each other again, and take each other’s hand; and you look the same and you sound the same, but you’re not the same.
And you re-introduce yourself. You ask him to fall back in love with this new you.
You bury that picture on the left along with your babies, along with that innocence and that life and that young love. And you’re still stuck in the catacombs of that grief maze, but at least you’re walking side by side again.
At least you’re together.
And-when you’re with the right person, you just never stop walking. Maybe someday, if you’re really lucky, you even find your way out.
“Drink to all that we have lost. Everything will change, but love remains the same” (Gavin Rossdale)