I went to a wedding today for a great guy friend that we’ve known for a few years now through the Air Force. It was a beautiful affair. The couple was very happy. When the priest was giving the homily, he talked about fate and how getting assigned here, not the most glamorous assignment, turned out to be one of the most important decisions in both their lives.
My anniversary was yesterday. I spent it away from my husband. In fact, we are one for four for spending our wedding anniversary together. While this is a very sad statistic, in the history of our relationship, it is par for the course. I don’t say that meaning that I am mad or even that I’m feeling sorry for myself (though sometimes I do). I say it because it’s true.
Josh and I met basically because I didn’t get the schedule I wanted my junior year in high school. If you’re going to trace it back to one big item, it would be that schedule. The details are really a story for another time, but I’ve always felt very blessed that this one small fact pushed my fate from one path to another. After all, we went to the same secondary school for six years and never had a class together.
This blessed beginning, however, was followed by a long distance relationship during all of college (471 miles apart) and grad school (462 miles apart). Through a good dose of faith and a whole lot of stubbornness I then followed him halfway across the country to our first base. We shared an apartment, but I quickly discovered that I had actually moved there alone. He was gone so much that I had seen him more when we were nearly 500 miles apart. I lived practically alone, I had no good friends, and I worked at a job I hated and was horrendously underpaid for.
But things got better. He started to actually be at home. When the tail pipe fell off my car, he bought me a new one. When our lease ran out, he bought me a house. Then, a little more than a year after moving in together, he bought me a ring. Yes, this part of the story does feature a few items that are slightly out of order in the traditional love tale, but the big ones (school, marriage, babies) came in the right order.
Even now, though, after 12.5 years together, 4 of them married, he is often gone when I want him to be here. He has missed things. We missed celebrating his birthday four years in a row. He’s missed July 4th at least four years in a row. As previously mentioned, he’s missed three of our four married anniversaries.
And it doesn’t matter. It makes me sad when he misses these days. But they are only days. You quickly learn that you can celebrate those days whenever you want, however you want. More importantly, you learn that your love is not defined by a day—be it birthday, Valentine’s Day, or your anniversary. Love exists whether those days do or not.
I love my husband wherever he is in the world. All the time. And, to let you in on a little secret, do you know what we did the one anniversary we spent together? We had dinner at home, and I made him take me out for ice cream at Friendly’s. Because, when you don’t get to have your husband whenever you want, you learn that being together is the best gift of all.