This weekend is a pretty big day in the Anderson house. We celebrate our first year of marriage. We’ve been tested by surgeries, by deaths in the family, by family strain and by our own growing pains. We’ve seen friends fall in love, get married, get separated, keep on keepin’ on. And we’re still here. I remember when we first got married, everyone kept asking me “are things different now? What changed now that you got married?” and I could never answer them. Much like it took me a while to put the feelings I had for Jeff into words when we got together, it took me this long to come up with an answer.
Last night, I was sitting in our basement, messing around on my computer. Nothing major, just goofing off while dinner was in the oven. Jeff was upstairs making homemade tomato sauce to can. And I just looked at the stairs and smiled. Because the difference between being single and being married is this: you still do all the little things that make you, you. Sometimes new things become a habit, sometimes old habits go away. But even in the most mundane, solitary activities, there’s this: just upstairs is your favorite person in the world. Just upstairs, is the one person who will support you no matter what. Security was at the top of the stairs. A good laugh when I feel sad was up those stairs. The little things that make me smile were at the top of those stairs.
Love is never guaranteed. People fall in love and out of love every day. Hearts change, minds grow, convictions drift. You can never look at your partner and know with absolute certainty that they will always be there. It’s been a hard thing for me to realize. I’m a pretty black and white person. I try to see more shades of grey as a matter of personal growth, but when something hits me it hits in absolutes. When things are good, they’re great, but when they’re bad, they’re a disaster. Until recently, I secretly felt like a shoe could still drop. Jeff could still say “wait a minute, you’re not what I want”. And that possibility could always be there. But for the first time in my life, I’m as sure as I can be that it won’t. We’re a team, we’re in it for the long haul, and I can go to sleep every night knowing if there’s a catastrophic world event-well, Jeff’s zombie survival plan will keep me safe too. I guess that’s what love is.