Friday, September 8, 2017, is an extraordinary day for me. It’s the day that marks five years of marriage with my best friend, the love of my life.
This was not an easy road we’ve travelled.
When we met, I couldn’t remember his name, despite being told a bunch of times by my friend….I was 20 minutes late for our very first date, and he almost left. A pretty rocky start I’d say! (Man, when I was 20, I was HORRIBLE. I never got anywhere on time! I would tell someone I’m almost there when I haven’t even finished getting ready yet!! I promise I’m much better now, I’m actually always on time!)
We started dating, and within a month, my grandfather passed away. Not only was he there for me, but he came to the funeral and was fantastic to every single one of my family members. My family naturally embraced him immediately.
When we were together for about 7 months, he got a promotion opportunity in Vancouver, BC. He HAD to take it — There’s no way I’d let him pass up an opportunity like that. The thing is, I think it’s completely normal for a couple to discuss whether they will do the long distance thing or sever ties but it didn’t even come up as a topic for us. It wasn’t even a question. The plan was for him to move, and when I completed my paramedic training and licensing, I would follow, and we would live together in Vancouver. Having a long-distance relationship was the hardest thing we had to do at the time but what kept us going? Watching the new Supernatural episodes every week — sitting in silence while it was on and talking during commercials. I think that’s a real test of a relationship — how much dead air can you have on the phone without feeling awkward??
Thankfully, before it was time for me to move, he decided to come home to Winnipeg — exactly one year later.
After a few months to get his feet on the ground, we decided to move in together. We got an awesome 1-bedroom apartment with a balcony in a great area of the city. We decided when we signed the lease that it didn’t make sense for us to have to write each other cheques to pay the other half of rent, so we went ahead and actually joined our bank accounts completely. We didn’t do the “joined for bills but still have our personal finances separate” — we went all in. We were together for about 2 years at this point, and in hindsight, that could be a stupid decision for a lot of people, but that’s how confident we were in our relationship. We had great times in that apartment: we spent so much time together, we got my kitty (that’s another story for another day), we got engaged, got married and got pregnant. All in this apartment.
We got engaged on Wednesday, August 24, 2011. He surprised me with roses and an Oreo Brownie Earthquake from Dairy Queen (omg I loved those!!) and asked me to spend my life with him. It was the most amazing moment of my life — so far.
We immediately went to see my parents — my mom nearly fell down the stairs in excitement (yeah that would have been bad! Those stairs were STEEP), and I think I physically shook his mother awake (clearly, we are close!). Turns out, D had actually discussed it with my dad while golfing in May of that year! I can’t believe he went so old school and talked to him, it’s so sweet!! D’s cousin from Bosnia was actually in town, and this was the final weekend she was there, so it was SO nice to celebrate with her (omg speaking of, I miss her so damn much!!)
On May 11, 2012, we hosted our wedding social. It’s a strictly Manitoban thing (sometimes Kenora as well) where we host an event with drinking, DJ and auctions to fundraise for the wedding. Seriously, a wedding social is 10x more stressful to plan than a wedding itself but completely worth it! We know how to put on a party!
September 8, 2012, is the day we were married. We had an outdoor wedding just outside the city with the reception in a tent. I’m told it was freezing outside, but I’ve gotta say, I don’t remember feeling ANY cold whatsoever, ha ha. I was terrified to be in front of a bunch of people, gushing my heart out to him, but honestly, I just had tunnel vision. I really didn’t notice anyone else around me once I started walking down that aisle — though I’m not entirely sure if I was breathing, I may have been my something blue. We had a simple, non-denominational wedding where we wrote the entire ceremony ourselves. Our readings were Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 and A Lovely Love Story, far from traditional. We had our best friends perform the ceremony, and our wedding party entrance was to the song Gangnam Style, which happened right as it was going viral! We had an amazing wedding, an incredibly fun reception full of food and fun and wine.
(Time out in writing to watch the original video — It’s been a while!! Please do me a favour and click on the link in the song name!)
Since we’ve been married, we got pregnant with my first son, bought our house, had our baby, got pregnant with my second son, now we’ve got two! We grew into this absolutely amazing family in what seems like one night. We’ve had a few changes in employment, we’ve had new interests and hobbies, grown as people in many ways. It’s hard to believe this has all happened in the last decade of dating and last 5 years of being married.
Marriage is not always easy. Like every healthy couple, we have arguments. Anyone who says they don’t are either lying, or there are some serious issues not being said. I’m not your typical gushy romantic who is going to tell you to learn to communicate, what to do or what not to do — there’s literally 1,810,000 results in Google. I’m going to be real with you here.
These are MY unorthodox tips for marriage:
This is not the end.
If you have an argument, know that it’s not going to be your last. You know you’re in this for the long haul so fine: sulk or step away for a little bit but always come back to finish the dumbass thing you’re fighting over. Nine times out of ten, the argument is over something incredibly stupid anyway so just swallow your pride and get over it.
Sometimes you need to shut up and let them talk.
While most of the time it’s a two-sided conversation, sometimes you need to let your spouse talk about what excites them — even if it bores you to tears. Honestly, I don’t give a crap about computers or networks, but I know more about this topic than many level-one help desk peeps. Because I ALWAYS listen. I let my hubs talk about something cool or sometimes frustrating things that happen at work. I let him ramble off IP addresses that have me spinning in my head. I legitimately try to understand what he’s explaining to me because the bottom line is, he/she wants to tell you for a reason. Don’t be a douche and just listen to them. Fake it if you have to (sometimes I do because I just simply don’t understand what he’s talking about…..smile and nod people!).
Be comfortable and confident on your own
I can’t stress this one enough. Have some me time. I love spending time with my hubby, obviously. But seriously, everyone needs some alone time too. Don’t feel guilty for wanting or needing that. Both D and I agree on this one, and I think it has an enormous impact on why we’re so strong together — because we’re also strong apart. We are individuals in an equal and loving partnership, not blended into one person. I firmly believe that you need to be confident in who YOU are to wholly give your love to someone else.
Don’t compare yourself to other couples. First of all, you need to do you. Secondly, what you may see or be told by another person may not, in fact, be what’s happening. No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. Don’t trust what others say. Listen to your gut. If you have a serious relationship issue, seek help from a professional. If it’s minor, hash it out in whatever way works best for you (this should obviously go without saying, but never, EVER use any form of physical, emotional or spiritual abuse).
I think breaking away from typical and staying true to ourselves only makes us stronger. We’re an odd couple — but an odd couple in love and will be for many years to come.
My husband is an utterly amazing man. He’s so sweet and kind, he’s incredibly passionate, intelligent, beautiful inside and out. He goes a million miles in a minute whether he’s happy about something or upset about something (in a cute way). He’s incredibly loud (which he attributes to his Bosnian upbringing, but I’m pretty sure it’s just an excuse!) and extremely clumsy. He’s an amazing comfort and amazing supporter. I can’t even describe how amazing a husband he is and how phenomenal a father he is to our beautiful boys. I hope my kids grow up with all the ideals and values that he has so they can go on and make their own spouses as happy as I am with their daddy.
I love you most, D. Here’s to many more years of annoying each other!
(We began a little game back in 2007 where the first person to say “I love you most” on the day would win the game for the day. This little game continues to be at the forefront of our marriage. It’s just a cute little thing that stuck!)