It has been seven years since I married that man.
They say the seventh year is the hardest and Lord knows that was true for us. The seventh year was one of tears and heartache and every day the fight to press on, to show up, to love well. The seventh year was the year during which all my pretty pictures of our marriage came crashing down as truth came to light. The seventh year didn't feel lucky at all.
In the weeks leading up to this day, I didn't want to think about it much. Couldn't we just let it pass quietly and unobserved? What was there to celebrate this year?
I couldn't have been more wrong.
Oh, this year was hard in so many of the worst ways. But there is so much to celebrate as well. There are the obvious things, yes, a graduation and a good job and a new home and other such cherished blessings, but there are quieter celebrations to be had as well. We both showed up, every day, to fight for what was lost. We both showed courage beyond what either of us has had to show thus far in our marriage. We grew to know each other more deeply, to love each other better, to be honest no matter what it cost us because the alternative was the end of this, of us. We rediscovered each other in beautiful ways. We held each other through so many nights of tears. God. It's beautiful. It's worth celebrating, every single pain-drenched minute of it.
Our marriage has been sifted and what remains is more solid, more treasured, and more focused now that the extraneous has been shaken away. So many of the old things no longer matter, the things that used to seem so big and important. I think of our marriage today and our marriage a year ago and I wouldn't trade these months of pain to go back to the way things were. I would have told you back then that our marriage was lovely, and in many ways it was, but it was only a shadow of what it could have been, of what it now is.
We celebrate less naively this year, but perhaps more joyously than ever.