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Life at twenty one years of marriage

Scott and I have been married twenty one years today
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I remember turning twenty one. How strange to have been married that long. I have friends mixed up in messy divorces right now. They are the kind of people that don’t even have the word “divorce” in their vocabulary–and yet they are struggling. In trying to help them put the pieces back together, I can’t help but be introspective. How are we really?

After twenty one years, you become very comfortable with each other. Take this morning. I went on a quick run outside before Scott left for work. I wore an oversized t-shirt and wrapped my bed head around a black rubber band. When I walked in the house, I couldn’t stop sweating. I was dripping all over the kitchen floor. Scott went to kiss me goodbye and I backed away. “You don’t really want to kiss me right now, “ I said, completely unworried about how ridiculous I must look, dripping and waving goodbye to my husband. I find myself not self-conscious about much anymore. Maybe I should be. But some days (a lot of days) we’re mostly surviving. What started out as the two of us holding hands under the table is now crowded with four kids, a mortgage and mowing the lawn in between soccer games on Saturdays. Scott turns 44  this year. Many of our friends are in their 40’s too. I’ve wondered if this, right now, is the “mid-life crisis” era I’ve heard about. Does that explain what is happening to my friends’ marriages? Is something like that going to happen to us too?

Last night he came home and I had nothing ready for dinner. I did have a roll of ground turkey half unthawed on the counter—so there were plans. Scott took a look around and told me to get in the car. It felt like a date and I had no argument. (There are lots of perks about having a teenagers at home.)

Over shrimp tacos, I told him about my latest conversation with our divorcing friends. “We can’t let it happen to us, “ I told him. “If something ever did . . . “ I looked him in the eye, “I would give you another chance.”

He stopped eating and returned my stare. “Wait just a minute,” he said. “Let’s just get one thing straight.” He paused and then slowly emphasized each word. “I only have one type. And it’s you. You are my type.”

I am?

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I am. After twenty one years, still his type. (Isn’t there a song about that?)

And even though this sounds really sappy—I started to cry. For just a moment, I had an aerial view of the two of us sitting there in the restaurant. No longer starry-eyed twenty-somethings, holding hands under the table, but a man and a woman, who know something of the heaviness of the world, recommitting our decision to choose each other and love each other best of all.

It’s not easy to make it twenty one years. Some don’t. But I have to say, a man who will tell me that, on a Thursday evening over shrimp tacos, is exactly my type too.

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