26 Years

26 years ago, we eloped, both wore green, got married in a mountain town called Evergreen. The only reason we even have pictures is our roommate showed up with a disposable camera. Four years ago, I wrote a Facebook post that I thought for sure I’d turned into a blog post and shared here, but I can’t find it, so…

Something you might not know about me: I got married for the first time when I was only 18. He was my boyfriend the last few years of high school. He loved me and wanted to marry me, was moving to Arizona for school and wanted me to come with him. I loved him enough, wanted out of my parents’ house and away from the small town I’d grown up in, so I agreed to it, the marriage and the move. We were actually a terrible match, and what I never told him, what almost no one knows, is I almost bolted on our wedding day, would have if I’d had the guts.

I was thinking about it this morning because there was a short piece on NPR in which they played clips of songs by Crowded House and The Psychedelic Furs, music I still love (am listening to as I write this). I loved bands like Depeche Mode, Erasure, The Cure, and Tears for Fears. That first, failed husband’s favorite band was Iron Maiden. We were doomed. We only lived together about a year and a half before my beloved Auntie T offered me an out and I left.

Some years later, I met Eric. He listened to the same bands I did, and introduced me to reggae and musicians like Jimmy Cliff. He had earrings, wore patchouli, and read books. He felt like home. This is all making me think how sometimes it can take a really long time, many failed attempts to find the right fit, to land in the place that is home. Sometimes it seems like it will never happen and we lose our will to keep going. I can’t tell you what to do, but I’m so glad I didn’t give up.

In the past few years, I’ve written a few posts about being married to Eric:

  • Committed, where I described what I think it means to find the right person. “I can’t say what might work for you, don’t mean for this to be some kind of advice or set of rules to be married by, but these are the things that have kept me in it, all in, for the past 18 years.”
  • 20 years, one of my favorite posts, in which I wrote about how Eric makes me laugh and comforts me when I don’t feel like laughing.
  • Day of Rest, where I tried to describe what love is.  “When you are together for a long time, there’s more than one marriage. Hard things happen, and you have to work through them. You get remarried over and over because you keep choosing each other, continue to recommit. And Eric and I have had hard things, and we know that those things will keep coming. Just because we’ve been together a long time doesn’t mean things get easier. You don’t reach a point where it’s simple and you don’t have to try that hard — or at least we don’t. What does happen is you start to relax your agenda about how things should be, and instead work with what is. You relax with what is, you soften, and you find that in being with what is, you can be content, that in this moment there is more than enough. This is love.”
  • 21 Years, in which I said, “I’m not even sure how that happened, how living our life together day by day has already added up, amounted to that…He makes me laugh, he’s my comfort, my soft place to land. He’s my favorite, my family, my best friend, the problem I chose to have, the choice I make over and over, day after day.”
  • Day of Rest: 23 Years In, in which I shared, “Not much has changed in 23 years, unless you count just about everything. At the beginning, I thought by this point that if we made it this far together things would be easy. I didn’t understand that adulting would be so hard, that so many awful things would happen, to us and around us. I thought I was stronger, saner. I thought if I was with him, if we were together, the ordinary magic of that would surround us, protect us from the bad stuff. And yet it has, in a way. I’m not sure if I’d still be here if it weren’t for his love and support, the way he makes me laugh. The partnership, the rub of having someone always there, can at times be irritating, but it’s also the glue that keeps it all from falling apart.”
  • 24 Years, in which I wondered, “Here we are, just living our lives like it’s no big deal — making each other laugh, getting irritated about stupid stuff that doesn’t even matter, doing the laundry and making dinner and walking the dogs — and suddenly we’ve been married for 24 years.”

And here we are, 26 years later, still choosing each other, still taking care of each other, still making each other laugh.

2 thoughts on “26 Years

  1. Mary

    This is so beautiful, Jill. When you said Eric felt like home, I knew exactly what you meant. George was not my first husband either, but when I found him I knew I was home and always would be. Saturday will be the 4-month anniversary of his passing. I lost my husband, my lover, my best friend and yes, my home. But I am so very grateful I had all of that for 40 years. Lying beside him in those last hours and hearing him say, “you were the love of my life,” on the hardest day of my life made all the hard times and the continuing to choose one another over and over again worthwhile. Love Eric and believe in his love for you. It is so worth it.

    Reply

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