I first met him eighteen years ago at a seminar for those working with children where he attended as an assistant tennis coach. Tall, wide shouldered, with dark long hair he was hard not to notice. I was a few months short of fifteen though, and, at least to me, he looked much older than his nineteen years. I can’t remember if I even talked to him then. I wonder what would my reaction have been if somebody told me then: ‘See this one here? You know nothing about him now, but he is the man you will be married to for 10 years and counting‘. Unsurprisingly, nobody did.
I did not see him for the next few years after that. Not until I graduated from high school and moved to study for my bachelor’s degree. Even then, he was hovering in the peripheries of my young student life and did not come into focus until after another two years or so. And then, somehow, strange and beautiful things happened that put us together – the simple little miracles of love, I suppose. Random? Logically purposeful? And now we find ourselves 10 years married, 12 years together, and looking out to the future together.
People meet, fall in love, create a family, live together… This is so universal and ordinary. So unsurprising. And yet, after all the years, I still get these moments were I am struck by the wonder of such closeness of another human life. Isn’t it a miracle that we, humans, who know ourselves so little, who are so helpless in the hands of time and circumstance, can forge and nurture such a connection to another person? Isn’t it a miracle to be anchored to somebody in the storm of life? To feel, through the days and years spent together, intimately and comfortingly familiar with another soul, but also to be in awe with the vastness of things yet undiscovered, unpenetrated, unrevealed in them? I am often caught off guard by this paradox of comfort and familiarity against the immeasurable depth and space of another soul. There is certainly beauty in this.
A lot is being said about marriage nowadays. The institution is undergoing major transformations in recent years. And yes, maybe it is somewhat obsolete in this world of ours. But I am glad we had that day 10 years ago – that gathering of dearest souls in the peaceful wooded lot to mark our decision to join our paths, to celebrate us and the future that lay ahead of us.
Is ten years a long time? I suppose it is nowadays, where connections and relationships seem to be so fragmented, consumerist, disposable as much as anything else in our lives. I do feel the two of us are very lucky. But I also feel humbled by this little milestone of a decade. I feel like there is so much more to be experienced, learned, lived through. I feel like the road ahead of us is much longer than the one behind. I hope it is. And I am looking forward to its twists and turns that none of us could even suspect now. (Like we could not have suspected this day now all these years ago when we passed each other for the first time.) But mostly I feel… happy. Happy here and now, snuggled in between the last ten years and the future of possibilities. Confident that we can conquer it and make it ours.
There is a common notion that, as time goes on, the rose-tinted glasses of initial infatuation fall off. What then? In our case, it feels like they have gradually morphed into top-spec sophisticated HD spectacles that give a much sharper image in vivid natural colours and with more defined details. And the view is beautiful! I certainly like what I see – a proud and passionate, if somewhat stubborn, man who strongly believes in his truths, who is very disciplined and sometimes categorical, but also willing to learn and change, to be honest with himself; a man who loves through actions, who cares enough to make me talk when it matters even though I tend to go mute; who prefers his home over any other place in the world. I see a man who does most of the housework! That alone is worth more than gold in my books. 🙂
Love is a strange thing, isn’t it? Sometimes I think that, similar to the concept of God, people have their own personal and vastly different interpretations of what love is. It is a live and changing thing, I think, this concept of love. Something that gets deeper and more complex (and beautiful) as the years go by in each other’s company: through the things celebrated and endured, through all the sleepless nights spent talking until dawn, drunk on the closeness to another soul, through gradual undressing of your own heart and the discovery of things that you yourself did not even know were there. Or is it that we mold our hearts by going through life together, we take part in the creation of each other? For how much of those two young people in the wooded lot 10 years ago still remain in us today? Haven’t we both changed tremendously? As days turn into months and years, so much of us changes – gets erased, crossed out, added onto, shaped, imprinted… It is a great gift to go through this process together, to share a history. Maybe it is this history that glues people closer and closer together?.. I am excitedly looking forward to creating more of it in the days and years to come.