It’s easy to feel old at the age of thirty-seven, especially in a society that values youth as much as ours does. Almost four years ago, I aged out of the 18-34-year-old demographic that advertisers pine for, and it stung a little. My hair is getting gray, and my joints ache for a day or so after a long run. But really, I’m still pretty young, and in that time, I have lived. I could list the places I’ve been, the people I’ve known, and the kinds of words I’ve written, but I won’t. That would take forever, and that’s really not the point.
The point is this: For nearly 25 percent of this life, I have been married. This marriage, like all marriages, has been stressful and difficult. When married or cohabiting, you are suddenly accountable for everything you say or do—no living it up at a bar anymore, or dropping hundreds of dollars on comic books on a whim. You have to see movies you ordinarily wouldn’t, and eat cuisine that freaks you out, and sometimes hang out with people you don’t like. Anyone who says they love every single second of marriage is lying.
However, a good marriage, like the one I have, makes these things unimportant. I love having someone to keep me from dropping hundreds on comics that I probably won’t read more than once; I love having someone who will miss me were I to disappear into a bar all night. I love watching her smile and laugh and talk back to the movies she enjoys but I don’t; I love sushi and Ethiopian food now, even though it’s not what I grew up with (I’m still not eating mushrooms. No way, no how.); I endure people I don’t like, because I respect her opinion.
My wife is brilliant and brave and beautiful. She makes me want to be a better person, even when I don’t think I’m capable of it. She loves the world, and she insists on showing it to me whenever she can. Her ideals are tempered with pragmatism, and the rest of the world would be so much better if it followed her example. Her stubbornness has turned me into the healthy and happy and (mostly) confident person I never thought I could be. And she has convinced me that I deserve to feel this way. My wife is amazing, even if she does tell people sometimes that our anniversary is April 31.
I love my wife, and I love that I’ve been married to her for nine years.