Wedded Bliss

Mark and I celebrated our 20th anniversary on September 12, 2018.   It’s amazes me to think that we’ve been together for over thirty years; dated for ten and married for twenty.  I can’t remember life without him by my side (I can vividly remember life without kids though). Time flies.

I’ve been reflecting on my first and true love and all that we have been through together.   When standing at the altar 20 years ago, if we knew what the next twenty years would hold, would we say yes?  

Life was rosey when we tied the knot twenty years ago.  We were both working successfully (rolling in the dough) and our biggest concerns were dinner reservations and travel plans.  It was picture perfect. Mark loved my carefree spirit and he thought it was cute that I didn’t care about things like opening our mail.  He also appreciated that I was not super emotional or dramatic. And I admired his confidence, intelligence, work ethic and how well versed he was about current affairs.  And of course he was practical and protective which always made me feel stable, safe and loved. I also thought it was cute that he loved to go to museums and activity used his library card, even as teenagers bringing me to the Shedd Aquarium all the time for dates, and extra bonus he was very handsome with broad shoulders, great eyelashes and the most perfect nose.  

The first few years of marriage was simple and fun.  The freedom of living together and no longer having to sneak around (teenage sweethearts with strict Catholic parents).   Dancing in the kitchen late at night after after a good bottle of wine. Of course, there was the adjustment of living together and figuring out our roles (which are traditional, I take care of the inside and he takes care of the outside).  Life was good.

Then BAM my Dad died suddenly.  He drowned at a conference in Boston.  I changed. Mark stood by my side. You know when somebody loses that sparkle in their eyes –  my sparkle was gone. We moved back in with my Mom for a few months to make sure that she was ok.  Honestly, I needed her too. Mark never faltered. He stood strong and catered to my every feeling.  In retrospect, I fell in love with him all over again. It was a rough time but I Iearned to be grateful for the present and trivial things no longer bothered me.  I understood a bad day so ordinary nuisances no longer phased me.

We healed slowly and life continued. We decided it was time to start a family and it happened right away.  However, I miscarried twins at twelve weeks. Not a tragedy but another sad time. Mark was solid and again gently took care of me. I changed a little more.  Our best friends also suffered a miscarriage and another best friend delivered prematurely. We were all fragile and starting a family went from whimsical to scary.    We were blessed enough to go on to have four healthy children. From the beginning, Mark was a great dad and hands on with our kids from the very beginning. Again, super protective and always wanting the best for all of us.  So “hands on” that he researched ALL the benefits of breastfeeding so much so that he sounded like a lactation nurse. = )

BAM, tragedy hit again.  We lost Mark’s brother Jeffery in a car accident (with our car).   It tore us apart, literally, tore us apart. Mark took it very hard (to put it mildly).  His sparkle was gone and he became distant. My husband was physically here but mentally he was gone.  It was a very dark time that seemed to last forever. I do distinctly remember thinking how he was there for me and that now it was time be solid. I needed to stand by my man.  It was difficult and at times I lacked confidence that we would ever be whole again. Again, it changed us but we came out stronger. We made it.

Mark and I have always been real with one another.  We are honest, sometimes, to a fault. There are never words left unsaid and we never go to bed without a kiss goodnight.   We have gone through life’s most joyous and difficult times together. There have been countless wonderful take your breath away moments but there have been really dark times as well.  We lost loved ones that hit us hard but on the positive we always flourished and have four beautiful children.  Mark is my heart and soul.  

Life is rosey again.  We continue to be professionally successful (however, we are no longer rolling in the dough) and our biggest concerns are making ends meet and raising responsible kind kids. Dinner reservations and travel plans are the last things on our mind but life is still  picture perfect. We are sneaking around again (this time hiding from our kids). And Mark now questions my carefree spirit and no longer thinks my lack of responsibility is cute. He jokes about my lack of emotion but still appreciates that we are drama free. His confidence now comes off as bossy and his knowledge of current affairs stresses me out (I can never win a political debate).  His intelligence and responsible work ethic still continues to impress and being overly protective makes me feel stable and loved. And as a bonus, he’s still looking good. 

And most importantly, we are still dancing in the kitchen.  I would say yes, again and again.

20 years and counting



Michelle Arnold