Bret and I have been married for three incredible years.
I clearly remember driving up from Florida three years ago and wondering if the snowstorm making it’s way through Virginia was going to prevent our vendors and guests from making it to our wedding. The sky was clear and the sunshine was warm and we just laughed because we knew we were heading into a blizzard. It’s funny what you remember.
This past weekend, we celebrated our third anniversary, and took our annual photo:
When we were living in Florida, we took these photos among the Spanish moss and palm trees:
This year, we had to find a scenic spot in Boone. I suggested the Blue Ridge parkway which IS beautiful, but it was hard to find a place to set up the ol’ tripod without falling off a cliff:
Taking these photos is a fun tradition, and I know I’ll love looking through them each year, but it also makes me kind of sad. After we snap the last photo, just like that, Year 3 is in the books! And what a year it’s been…
This third year of marriage led us from our first home in Florida to our new home in the mountains of North Carolina.
This transition has been a struggle, but it taught us to support each other in ways that we haven’t had to before. We’re still adjusting to life in the mountains and we miss the sunshine and the palm trees and the beach and our Disney life (who wouldn’t?!), but even though North Carolina has been a big change, I think the most significant life change in Year 3 is that Bret transitioned from being a grad student to a full-time professor.
In some ways, it was an easy change. Bret is a natural teacher and a really phenomenal writer, so shifting into a position that allows him to continue to do these things he did in grad school WITHOUT the added responsibilities of writing a dissertation and meeting course requirements feels very do-able.
Moving was hard for both of us, but I think it was especially tough for Bret. While I unpacked my home office and maintained my normal travel schedule, Bret transitioned to working with new people, planning new courses, and taking on new responsibilities. I loved helping him set up his new office and get some App State gear, but he had to do the tough stuff on his own, and he’s doing an awesome job.
But this year hasn’t been all about work!
In Year 3, we both really tapped into pursuing our creative hobbies and interests. Bret is the first person to help me talk through a new idea, and I love talking with him about his new goals, too. I’ll always support his creative passions, even if they have nothing to do with his professional responsibilities. I mean that sincerely. I’m so impressed every time he takes on a new challenge. This year, I watched Bret launch his first podcast series, build a computer, and pick up the saxophone for the first time in a while.
And Bret supported me by helping me maintain my writing schedule as I tried tirelessly to write [a first draft of] a novel. He also encouraged my new hobby – card tricks – by being my guinea pig audience and watching the same trick over and over and over with all it’s flaws. And, Bret trained right by my side when I signed up to run my first half marathon.
I can’t thank him enough for running with me in every possible weather condition. He met me step for step and cheered me on when I felt like giving up. He’s the best training partner. And my best friend.
That’s another thing. In year 3, I started admitting that Bret is my best friend.
It used to annoy me when people called their significant others their ‘best friend’ because I interpreted that to mean that your other friendships don’t matter so much anymore. They do matter. I’m so grateful for my friends and they will always be a priority. But. Bret is the person I want to share every day with and the fact that that’s a reality… I just can’t describe how lucky that makes me feel. He’s my spouse, my partner, my roommate, my training partner, my co-chef, and, yes, my best friend, too. We share joys and fears and responsibilities. Every day that we get to spend together is a gift. I can say with confidence that it’s something I do not take for granted even now after being married for 3 years and living together for 4.
We do fight. If I’m being real, in year 3, Bret and I had some of our biggest fights, but we apologize. And we talk through how to handle similar situations in the future so we don’t have the same arguments over and over. I remember way back before we were married right in the middle of one of our first arguments, Bret looked at me and said,
“I still love you so much right now.”
It is one of the most profound things that anyone has ever said to me. Disagreements are a real part of being in a relationship. But. Even when we’re really frustrated with each other, we still really love each other a lot and to me, that’s everything.
I just love being married. I never thought I would.
Before I met Bret, I resisted the idea of marriage. I thought marriage came with a lot of sacrifices. And the idea of being legally tied to another person made me gag. I know that sounds horrible, but I just wasn’t optimistic.
And then I met Bret. And I realized I could marry him and we could just keep on living out our exciting, unpredictable, magical lives. And so far, our marriage has been exactly that. I know we’re still in the newlywed phase. And we’re living the DINK lifestyle (dual income no kids) which means we’re not facing the same kind of financial burdens or sleep-deprived struggles that we may one day if we add children to our family. I know we have a lot of challenges ahead of us either way, but so far, marriage is better than I ever imagined. And I feel like we have a really strong foundation. And I feel really lucky.
After 3 years of marriage, I can say we know each other better than ever before, and we love each other more than ever before. I know that’s cheesy, but it’s true. And I mean it when I say this has been our best year yet. I won’t give Boone credit for that, but I will say it’s challenged us in new ways and we’re thriving and I’m grateful. And I feel very fortunate. We are healthy and happy and in love. What more can you ask for?
Here’s to many more years together, and an exciting future full of adventures!