Mr. Neruda and my's 5 year anniversary is fast approaching, which seems like a decent mile marker for us. It is odd to think that I have been married for an entire 5 years and it sometimes feels like it has been so much longer than that. Marriage has brought extreme highs to my life and a few lows. Overall, it has been enlightening and frankly, a maturing experience.
It is sometimes annoying to not be able to make unilateral decisions, but it is also at times a relief to not have to face certain decisions alone. It becomes apparent to me as I continue with this matrimony stuff that every good part of marriage can also manifest as a bad part of it and vice versa. Through all of the lessons and experiences I have gleaned from marriage I have developed a theory about it.
I now choose to view marriage as a relationship between two people that must seek the harmony of three parts, in no particular order:
friend, lover, and roommate.
For some couples, the order those three parts are put in might have an affect on the relationship. For other couples, just being able to identify and deal with all three parts can be the most difficult part of a relationship. For Mr. Neruda and me, I feel that we have grasped the idea of all three and work to balance them.
In the beginning, we had friendship down pat. That was the first thing that developed between us and it has stayed constant and beautiful. Mr. Neruda is truly the best friend of my entire life, and though I sometimes yearn for more, closer female friends, I know they will never be able to rival the friendship Mr. Neruda and I have developed.
Becoming lovers happened easy enough for us. We met at a horny stage in life and are both decently attractive people. It actually didn't take long at all for that stage to kick in for us. That one has staid pretty steady for our six years of being in a relationship. There have been bouts of anger, exhaustion, and other factors that have disrupted it throughout the years, but it is something we both treasure (and basically just really enjoy) so it has been well fought for and triumphed over.
Learning to co-habitate has taken a bit longer to learn. We came together from differing backgrounds. When we lived apart, but were together, his apartment featured a mattress on the floor with some linens most of the time, a bathroom that was probably freshly cleaned when they moved in, and a fully stocked fringe of beer. My house looked different. It had four girls in it to begin with. It had furniture, cleaning schedules, allotted shelves for individual's groceries, and alphabetized DVDs (I did later become a librarian).
Our dating period was brief; we naively smashed our worlds together in a few months and went for it. I am proud to say we have never fought about money or extended family members, but boy have we fought about roommate stuff. Cleaning, laundry, cooking, pets, you name it. Things have been flung, tears have been shed (from both sides) and words have been spoken and occasionally regretted. But after 5 years of patchy turmoil I think we have finally figured out the roommate aspect of marriage.
For us, the three parts of marriage have begun to mesh nicely. It's been hard at times, frustratingly and agonizingly difficult at times. But that makes me appreciate where we are now more I think. I am glad that all three parts haven't been out of whack from the beginning and that we have been able to focus on each part at different times. I also am glad that because we have reached a balance at the 5 year mark, that when one part starts getting a little wonky we can deal with it faster and better than we could have on day one.
I think when we announced our engagement 5 and a half years ago, after 3 months of dating, many people thought we were crazy and doubted our success rate. However, after 5 years of steadily working on our marriage and figuring one another out, I think many people now look at us with confidence and appreciation. All of the above makes me feel proud of my marriage with Mr. Neruda and makes me appreciate my friend, lover and roommate more now than any other time in the last six years.
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