We met at university. Both of us were members of the Canoe club, spending our weekends throwing ourselves down scary whitewater rivers, and our evenings socialising as a large group. We were friends first, before we eventually got together in my final year. So we entered the adult world together, and grew up together. Over the next six years we both did further training, bought suits, had interviews, got jobs, got jobs miles apart. Earned money, spent money, saved money. Rented a house, lived apart, bought a house, lived in different countries. Then after six years and a magical proposal, we became engaged to be married. Eighteen months later, we were pronounced man and wife in a beautiful small church, followed by a lovely reception in the old hall next door.
As we stood at the alter in the church making our vows in front of family and friends we felt invincible. We thought we were destined to a future which followed our dreams and our life plan exactly. Although we’d thought about our vows, at this point we didn’t really have an understanding of what they truly meant. We could imagine the “richer” but not the “poorer”. We could imagine the “health” but not the “sickness”. We could imagine the “death us do part” but only as little old people in rocking chairs.
And then we started on the roller-coaster of married life. Over the last seven years, we’ve had the best of times and the worst of times. We’ve travelled the world and had the greatest of adventures, and… we’ve lost some of the hopes we had planned for our future. We’ve quit jobs, we’ve counted the pennies, and… we’ve got promotions and bought a bigger home. We’ve climbed mountains, run races, and… watched as I’ve slowly become reliant upon oxygen and in need of a transplant.
So now seven years since that happy day in that little church, we’ve started to see why we made those vows. We’ve started to appreciate what those vows meant. We’ve seen that life has both ups and downs. We’ve seen that life has both happiness and sadness. Seven years later, we’ve learnt that if there are two of you, committed to being a team, then it can be survived. At times, Phil has needed me, and I’ve kept us strong, and at other times I have needed him, and he has kept me strong. One of our wedding readings (A Marriage by Michael Blumenthal) describes this relationship perfectly. It ends with the words “And it can go on like this for many years without the house falling”. I hope so. As long as you look after each other, you should be able to survive anything.
I’m sure life has many more surprises for us. I’m sure the roller-coaster of marriage will have many more ups and many more downs. But I feel lucky to have someone to travel through life with, to hold up the ceiling for me at times, and for me to hold it up for him in return. Happy seventh wedding anniversary Phil.