Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dessert dishes

Today is our twelfth wedding anniversary. As Janet Jackson might say, they said it wouldn't last, we had to prove them wrong, although no one ever actually said it wouldn't last except for Jeff who always good-naturedly teases us about how it's lasted longer than the six weeks he gave it. Regardless, here we are, twelve years later.

We're fond of telling the story of how we chose an October wedding date in the middle of the semester because we were really wanting a cool and crisp fall day for our wedding. We didn't get it - it was humid and in the 80s but nothing like a June or July wedding would have been. But it was still a good day, as you can tell.

Sometimes people ask me what the key to a successful marriage is like I'm some sort of expert on it. That's really not something that's easy to pin down. I will frequently respond (only half-jokingly) "It's because we know how to fight. And then we know how to move on." There's a lot of truth to that. I wonder about couples who say that they never fight. If you never fight, are you passionate about ANYTHING? Is there any intimacy whatsoever? It seems like so many people go to such great lengths in all their relationships to avoid fights, and yeah, it's probably smart not to actively seek them out, but as a friend of mine once said to me "there can be no intimacy without offense." There is so much truth in that statement - it applies easily to marriages, but also applies to close relationships of all sorts.

But if you REALLY want to know what the barometer for the health of our marriage is, I'll tell you straight-faced that it is dessert dishes.

We got a set of four glass dessert dishes as a gift for our wedding. Over the years, they have fallen victim to accidents or gravity or whatever and several of them have broken. Heidi and I have joked that when the last dessert dish breaks, it's over. We are down to the last one, and consequently, it has been treated with kid gloves for quite some time now.

So this year, for our anniversary, she got the best present we could possibly hope for: peace of mind.

That's right, four new dessert dishes. These are actually her mom's (Heidi remembers them from her childhood) and in acquiring these, I told her that she has purchased us at LEAST 12 more years.

But in all seriousness, the dessert dishes are indicative of something bigger. I will never, in a million years figure out how I got so lucky as to find the woman I married. She has stood by me through the worst versions of myself and been there with me through all the good times and bad. We have had many great times, weathered many storms and have produced another fantastic human being in the course of our relationship. She has helped me find the comfort in being who I am, warts and all, no questions, no apologies. I'm still working on the no apologies part, but as I am fond of saying, I'm a work in progress.

Happy anniversary, Heidi. And thanks for the dishes. I promise to keep washing them for at least as long as they're around.

(and if you want to read Heidi's companion piece to this, which I will freely admit made me tear up right here in my office chair while I listened to Janet Jackson's "Throb", go here.)

(As always, our anniversary coincides with National Coming Out Day which we find fitting considering our passionate support of LGBT rights. To all of our LGBT brothers and sisters, whether you've been out for decades or are taking those first tentative steps out of the closet, we salute you. Your bravery inspires people everywhere to be who they are with no apologies.)


Heidi Cullinan said...

Love you, boo.

(There were originally SIX dishes, in fact! And because I forgot to tell you, the original two left, both the cracked one and the one still intact are on your shelf in your office next to your action figures.)

Dan said...

I wondered if there were six, but I honestly couldn't remember that many breaking!

I love you too - more than I can possibly articulate.