That’s the amount of time that Machelle and I have spent together.
When you break it down, it seems like quite a long time. But most days, it feels like yesterday that she reached out to me on a no longer existing form of social media–no it wasn’t myspace–and told me that she wanted to “meet new people.”
We have done so much in the past 9 years. We have gotten much better jobs, said goodbye to people that we loved, and said hello to some pretty amazing people who have come in to our lives.
What happens when you love someone so much it hurts? When you long for time by yourself, but as soon as you get it, you long to be back with the one you left? Love is a hard thing to explain and an even harder thing to keep alive. If anyone ever tells you that love isn’t work, they are doing it wrong.
Love is not smashing the dishes all over the kitchen when you get home from work after you’ve asked your lovely wife (or husband) a million times to put the dishes in the dishwasher before they leave for work.
Love is being beside someone when things hurt. Sure, when they hurt physically is one thing. But standing beside them when they are emotionally shattered can be just as difficult.
Love is getting out of bed to get the chocolate chip cookies that are downstairs–that you both want–but neither of you want to get out of bed for.
Love is folding clothes. A shit ton of clothes. Baby clothes, your clothes, dog clothes, just a crap ton of clothes. How can one human wear that many clothes in 1 week?
Love is waking up early to let the dogs out and keep them quiet before you go to the gym at 4 am.
Love is falling asleep way before your better half does while they continue with the stuff you have to do the next day–and they aren’t angry about it, because they understand how incredibly tired you are and how imperative it is that you get sleep.
Love is spending Saturday mornings in bed eating waffles–or Chick Fil A if its been a good week–and watching Daniel Tiger or Sesame Street on repeat because it keeps your toddler happy and you can all pretend for a few more minutes that the day won’t end up in total toy chaos.
Love is making yourself better for the other person. And true love is when you have found someone who loves you just the way you are–but inspires you to make yourself better.
Love is changing diapers. And anyone who is reading this that cloth diapers, you know true love is spraying out that diaper that has sat at daycare or somewhere else for a little too long.
Love is letting your wife burn expensive candles that you could really care less about for the first 4 years of the relationship–but around year 5, somehow you both start caring about the scents you get during the next trip.
Love is supporting someone when they may be making a life changing decision. Helping them weigh out the pros and cons and then having the confidence in your partner that they will eventually make the best decision.
Love is looking across the dinner table you are sitting at without children and saying “Man, it’s really nice not to have to pick up a fork off the ground or dodge a flying piece of bread.”
Love is so many many things. The best thing about it is, it is ever changing and evolving. If you aren’t willing to take the time you put in to the beginning of relationship, 9 years down the road you are going to find that things aren’t looking so hot.
9 years–after the excitement of something new wears off, after the “you can’t keep your hands off of each other” stage is long gone, you will realize that the person you fell in love with in the first place is still there.
Take the time to rekindle what you had in the beginning. Go out on dates without your children. Make out in parking lots like you did when you were first dating. Do whatever you guys need to do to feel more connected.
I promise you, feeling connected will be the best thing you could do for your relationship. Your happiness and the happiness of your relationship will be thankful.