This weekend we will celebrate our 7th anniversary.
When we got married we chose vows that sound like they could be used in an episode of Game of Thrones:
You cannot possess me for I belong to myself
But while we both wish it, I give you that which is mine to give
You cannot command me, for I am a free person
But I shall serve you in those ways you require
and the honeycomb will taste sweeter coming from my hand
I pledge to you that yours will be the name I cry aloud in the night and
the eyes into which I smile in the morning
I pledge to you the first bite of my meat and the first drink from my cup
I pledge to you my living and my dying, each equally in your care
I shall be a shield for your back and you for mine
I shall not slander you, nor you me
I shall honor you above all others, and when we quarrel we shall do so in
private and tell no strangers our grievances
This is my wedding vow to you
This is the marriage of equals.
There is no way we could have known it in 2008, but these vows perfectly capture the marriage we
have built are building. Every year I understand these promises we made to each other more fully.
We don’t own each other. We are two completely separate human beings with separate wants, thoughts, and feelings. But we serve each other. We look out for each other. We choose to sacrifice out of love, not obligation or placation.
Every year Mark becomes more and more the person I run to when I need help. This has been a process for me, Doer of All Things Alone. But he is becoming the person I trust with my entire heart and being.
“The eyes into which I smile in the morning.” This line brings tears to my eyes because that image captures how I feel about Mark, our marriage, our life. There is a peaceful contentedness that exists between us. It is a gift to wake up every morning knowing that I am enough, and that I love the one laying down next to me. I love that no matter what went down the night before today is fresh.
We don’t share our grievances. Um. Yeah… We both enjoy sharing how our marriage forces us to grow (that’s a euphemism for “I have to figure out how to not kill this person while he sleeps”). But the reality is that rarely, if ever, do we talk about anything with others before we’ve talked about it with each other. I don’t process how I feel about Mark with anyone but him. If I feel disconnected from him I tell him, not my mom/sister/best friend. If he thinks I’m being mean to him for no reason he tells me, not his mom/sister/best friend. And once we’ve sorted it out with each other we blog about it. Heh.
Thank you, Mark Oates, for 7 years of standing by my side and building this really beautiful life with me.