This past week Brandon and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. Did I ever tell you the story how Brandon and I met?
Brandon and I both started BYU the same year - 2000 - but didn't meet until four years later. I was friends with one of his roommates and spent an entire year in and out of his horrific, dank basement apartment before I even knew that Brandon existed. One spring day my friend dropped by and brought another roommate who had just returned from visiting his family in Poland. When I opened my front door there were three men instead of the two I was expecting. Thinking that the third, vaguely eastern European looking male might have come back with Michal, I blurted out, "and who's this? Your Polish friend?" All three of them looked at me, confused. "No," Jason carefully explained, "that's Brandon. He's been living with us for the last year."
Then Brandon twisted the knife even further. "We met back in February, at one of the dessert nights you hosted. Do you not remember me?"
And that's how I met (for the second time apparently) the rest of my life.
Brandon and I spent many long hours talking together that spring semester before I headed off to Vermont to spend seven weeks working as camp counselor with a former boyfriend. The boyfriend stayed former despite his best efforts, and I returned to Provo ready to spend more time with this non-Polish guy who liked hiking and talking for hours and hours and hours. We would see each other every week or two and pretend that of course this was only deeply satisfying friendship, nothing more, until I forced Brandon to admit in October what we both knew to be true. A week later we decided to get married.
Six months later we were married and six days after our marriage we were in Cairo to attend an Arabic study abroad. I had graduated a week before our wedding and so spent seven months hanging out in Cairo while Brandon spent hours with his language partner.
Cairo was a good place to start a marriage. It was difficult adjusting to a new culture and setting up housekeeping in a new country. We got much too familiar with each other's bowel health and figured out how to talk about anything and everything. On a particularly hard day, I wondered what would happen if things didn't work out. It was then I decided that not working out wasn't an option. We were going to stay together no matter what life would bring.
I've never regretted that decision a single day of our entire life together. There have been conversations that I didn't know the ending to and times that have required more from me than I knew I had to give, but I've never once thought that I made a wrong decision on the night we decided we had found something that would last.
In the ten years we've been married every single year has gotten better. My little brother got married a few months ago, the first wedding in my family since Brandon and I were married. I remember wondering if I would always miss the heady newlywed days where everything was new and everything was exciting. What could top that roller coaster ride? How could you live after going through that?
But as I watched my brother hold his new wife so, so close and smile so much his cheeks must have ached for days afterwards, I wasn't jealous. I was happy for them, happy that they would get to start down the road to something that would bring them more happiness than they knew existed. But I wouldn't have switched places with them for anything. Brandon and I have spent ten years working out a lot of difficulties and coming to understand each other in ways that only lots and lots and lots of time and long conversations that go too far into the night bring. I know that when he talks about eating kittens, he's kidding, not deranged. He knows that when I'm mad, he has to talk me off the ledge and back into reason. We both know that neither one would ever do something to hurt the other person.
When I think of growing old, I can only smile. I know that the difficulties of the last ten years are only a prelude to the things that we have ahead of us, the heartbreak that we will experience, the sleep that will be lost, the misunderstandings that never stop cropping up. I can only imagine some of the things I've watched my parents and my husband's parents go through, and are currently going through. Life only has one stopping point for hard things - death.
But I know that beside me, through all of those things, will be Brandon. As we face life together, we will grow more into one, one heart and one mind. Our love will grow deeper as we have more people to love. Life will become even more beautiful.
Ten years down, an eternity to go.