Having recently celebrated our 2nd anniversary, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much has changed since we were first married.
For example: I now like steak and Zach is a little more accepting of country music.
Or how we fight so much better than we used to. We still argue…but I wouldn’t necessarily say that we fight anymore.
But what I’ve noticed the most is how secure I’ve become in our relationship.
As much as I love Zach, it wasn’t always that way.
Not that I’d ever think he’d do anything or go anywhere. It wasn’t like that.
But Zach’s been married before. And that was hard for me to deal with.
A lot harder than I had initially thought it would be.
When we first met, I was so crazy about him that it really didn’t bother me at first. I seriously couldn’t have cared less and I think that made me all the more appealing to him.
And then I went through a small phase where I was bothered…after we got serious…before we got engaged. And then I got over it.
Everyone was so surprised that I was handling this as well as I was (my personality just is such that I don’t share things very well and everyone knows it).
I had anticipated that I would have a little bit of a hard time with the physical aspects of marriage after we got married. (Having not been “the first.”) I had mentally prepared for that.
What I didn’t prepare for that is having to share the territory of marriage completely.
When we were first married, I was head over heels for living with Zach. I couldn’t get over how fun it was to come home to someone. I lived for the end of the day. (Still do)
One day I was driving home and I was thinking to myself, “I love this. I wonder if this is as exciting for Zach as it is to me.” And then it hit me…
‘He’s done this before. This isn’t new for him.’
And it sent me into a spiral of emotions that lingered for quite a while.
As much as Zach reassured me that this was different because it was “us.” I couldn’t stop thinking about how I wasn’t getting to be the first anything. It was bigger than physical–I really struggled. He was my first real relationship…my whole heart was wound up in him. I couldn’t see how he could possibly feel the same. I thought to myself, ‘I couldn’t feel the same if there was someone after him for me. My heart would just not be the same.”
Jodi Piccoult describes this feeling pretty well in her novel Sing Me Home
“So by the time you’re ninety, you’ll have spent over half your life with me as opposed to ten percent of your life with him. Don’t get me wrong–I’m still wicked jealous of those nine years, because I can’t ever have them with you, no matter what I do…”
“There will be parts of her heart she’s already given to someone else.”
At the same time, Zach and I are not alike. He doesn’t hold onto things the way that I do. He is not a memory keeper in the same sense that I am. He is free and open, but I just couldn’t understand it.
I prayed a lot. I thought a lot. I decided that I was going to get over this issue that I was having and I was going to write a book titled When You’re Not the First and I was going to help other women in my situation.
Eventually it did go away.
But I can’t write a book about it because there’s not enough to write about.
It just happened.
So I decided to blog about it instead…just share it with you guys.
I decided to focus on me…who I am and taking care of myself. Then I decided to focus on us and not the issue of whether or not this was the same for him as it was for me. I just focused on making memories with my husband. Focus on the present (that’s not a strong point for me sometimes).
I focused on our Idaho Pizza nights, our shows, our inside jokes, our games, and our friends.
I focused on our vacations, our laughs, our walks with Mal, our dreams for the future, and our progress.
As I focused on these things, the little things that make Zach and I unique…I realized just that.
Each relationship is unique. Each relationship has its own fingerprint.
It’s separate and special. It takes on its own personality.
How grateful I am for ours.
How secure I am in that knowledge now. I know us. I’m so very happy with us.
We wouldn’t be us if he wasn’t him. He wouldn’t be him if he hadn’t lived the life he lived.
If that’s what it takes for us to have this fingerprint made up of all our little quirks and memories…well then I’m more than okay with it.
I knew that before, but now I embrace it. I love it.
I love every bit of us…our separate pasts, our present, and our future.