Since that sweet day last September when The Chief and I were wed, I’ve been honored to be marking time together. At first, I marked every new dawn. I’d exclaim on the daily: “Two days since we got married!” “Three days you’ve been my husband!” I was a veritable marital town crier. It was oh so new, tender as a babe. Each day felt as if it required a moment of recognition for the vows we’d made, the change we’d chosen together. Soon, as the days accumulated, it was our one week anniversary and from there on out, I started marking Saturdays. Every Saturday that passed marked another week I’d spent donning my newly acquired Wife hat. I’d look to The Chief and exclaim “Three weeks since we got married!” and then some weeks later “Seven weeks we’ve been married!”
It always takes me by surprise to think of the contrast: more often than not, our Saturdays these days are spent reading together on the couch, alone, with only a few souls in our vicinity, a far cry from the Saturday in September when we said “I do” surrounded by love, surrounded by community.
This last sleepy Saturday, however, was not so sleepy as we bustled about readying ourselves for a Saturday snowshoeing adventure. Side note: Snowshoeing is an absolute workout. My poor aching legs! I could barely lift them by the end. Before I’d ever snowshoed I thought it was the most romantic thing I’d ever heard of. Yet even with a picnic in tow for our outing, the focus of this was not romance but stamina. I found myself grateful to be following in The Chief’s large footsteps to at least gain the benefit of partially patted down hip-deep snow. Yowzers!
As we readied for a far more arduous day than I had planned, something snuck into my consciousness. It wasn’t just any Saturday. This Saturday was a true mark in time.
For six months we’ve been married.
Like a new pair of shoes, I worried to scuff our marriage’s perfect sheen at first. The role of Wife felt very new and very ancient all at once, like a strange club I’d suddenly found myself a member of without realizing I’d applied for admittance. This line in the sand of dating to marriage felt small and huge all at once. People would ask me how it felt to be married and I’d reply that it felt simultaneously like nothing and everything had changed all at once.
I soon realized that I’d never been very good at keeping my shoes in pristine condition, nor did I like them to be so. We had our first fight and it strangely settled me. Our marriage wouldn’t be pristine, it would be real and true and deep. One thing that had changed was how I felt about myself. I wanted to be the best Julia I could, not just for me but for us. I had committed in a way I’d never committed before, nor really dreamed I would and it inspired me.
Marriage has softened the edges years of dating had carved into me. It’s comforted my need for fight and flight. It’s calmed me into realizing I’m safe. Certainly, after everything the last few years have brought, I know that heartache is inevitable, as is the change that brings it about, yet I find myself calmer in the unknown, for one thing is known: us.
We decided that this six month Saturday certainly deemed marking. Dressed in our rumpled wedding gear we set off for our wedding site with tired legs, best friends at the ready for a photo shoot on Sunday. Six months and one day.
As the marking of days turned to the marking of Saturdays turned to my forgetting altogether just how long exactly, to the day, we’d been married, I’m grateful for this Saturday’s announcement of six. Six months of wedded life: good and hard and exciting and boring, stir crazy and calm, ease and anxiousness but overall, a constant: commitment.
If you’ve ever considered whether or not to get married, I can’t tell you what’s right for you but I can say that marriage brought more to us than I had ever dreamed. Planning together, while monotonous and costly and crazy-making at times, was all worth it. We were building together. Watching it all come to a culmination that day and seeing the faces of our friends and family gathered with us and all of the help we received without knowing we needed it was pure magic and we are eternally grateful.
I so look forward to the day, many years from now, when the yearly anniversaries become like the weeklies that turned to monthlies. Another year’s celebration turns into another year, normal and comforting in their accrual. Yet even as I grow more and more used to our ringed fingers, less surprised to hear myself called by the title of “wife”, I hope always to stop and cherish each day that marks that which is right in front of me: a beautiful love built from living through it all together: hope and heartache, jubilation, busy and slow, new and normal, all wrapped into one entity: us.
To those who have supported us along the way, thank you (and a special thanks to our wonderful neighbors and 6-month anniversary wedding photographers and to MT who built an amazing arch to last the seasons). It takes a village to raise all of us. Our village near and far is so beloved, so necessary, so appreciated, always.
from The Chief, The Scribe, Leto, and Alaska.