Today, The Mister and I celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. During our half decade of wedded bliss, we've had many reasons to celebrate, as well as many challenges to overcome.
How does one live with a bossy man? Poor me.
How does he live with a wife whose passion to avoid domestic responsibilities is the stuff of legend, despite agreeing easily to put "obey" in our vows? Poor Mister.
In our first five years as a blended family, we've had two children get married (one mine, one his), and we've had two grandchildren join the family. We've dealt with The Boy's ups and downs, his initial school difficulties, and his subsequent school successes.
Unemployment? We've had it, in spades. Now I'm the sole breadwinner, and he becomes the maker of lunch and dinner, the errand man, the guy who ferries The Boy to doctor appointments.
Despite employment uncertainty and the anxiety of wondering how we'll make ends meet, we survive. We laugh, we bicker...we love.
What have we learned?
I've learned that if I can make The Mister laugh, I can usually get my way.
He's learned that it's best not to wake me up unless he's in the mood to deal with a grouch.
We've learned that having two bathrooms is essential.
We've learned that his recent diagnosis of diabetes has made us more of a team - we're a pair of carbohydrate Nazis, on the lookout for recipes that will keep all of us healthier.
Each day, we navigate through the petty annoyances and personal preferences, the problems big and small. We persevere, even when I perseverate. I repeat his words of wisdom, such as "If it happened more than three weeks ago, it is irrelevant" in an effort to keep him from holding a grudge.
When I fret, he calls me on it. When his comments are too blunt, I remind him about how my feelings are fragile, and how he might want to tailor his message in a way that doesn't feel like a smack in the head with a 2x4.
We continue to figure out just what to do and say regarding The Boy, though I am the family enforcer.
Though The Mister may misplace his keys, his meds, or my debit card - or I "forget" to perform some menial tasks or roll my eyes at his demands that I consider unreasonable, at the end of the day, we both choose to keep this wacky union together, despite knowing that the stresses and situations we've dealt with have caused other couples to throw in the towel by now.
Many times, laughter has saved us. Whether it's by chance or dumb luck, we keep on keepin' on. Stubbornness is paying big dividends, too, as neither one of is is a quitter.
We have only to look at our six children and eight grandchildren and know that we want a front row seat to see how multi-generational story is going to turn out.
Please pass the popcorn, Mister, the show must go on.