On Sunday, Brian and I will celebrate seven years of marriage. We're celebrating by driving to LAX so I can get on a plane and go to Italy without him for a week to see friends whom I haven't seen in years. I am appreciative of how love looks and feels now that we've been together for some time. It is not so much about grand romantic gestures as it is about selfless acts.
We met in early September 1993, when I was a freshman in college and Brian was a sophomore. We lived in the same dorm. He was walking the halls meeting people. He said my room had nice windows. Later that night, I went up to his room to say hello again. He had a huge map of the world on his wall. He had grown up overseas. I thought that this was a guy who could take me places.
We had our first kiss on the Quad balcony on September 22, 1993. And dated for the next year. I was miserable at school as it was the wrong fit, and we broke up in the middle of 1995. I dropped out of college. It was a tumultuous break-up, the kind that leads you to believe you will never see that person again.
I moved to Washington, DC, took almost three years off from college, and got a corporate job. I eventually finished college. I had no idea what happened to Brian.
Less than a month later, he flew to DC to see me. In November, I flew to Chicago to see him. He told me he wanted to be with me (he has such good taste!). I told him I was moving to Italy. He told me he didn't care. I did move to Italy. He emailed every day, called every few days, and sent lots of old fashioned correspondence. He also came to Italy on a grad student's budget to see me . . . twice.
My sojourn in Italy ended in December 2005. In June 2006 we moved to New York's Hudson Valley. We got engaged in December 2007, and we married in September 2008, 15 years after our first kiss.
We are like other married couples. We have had highs and lows: we have faced major illness, the death of a parent, buying a house, selling a house, declaring we will never buy a house again, adopting a rescue dog who rescued us, and on and on. Love to me used to only look like big sweeping romantic gestures (like visiting your girlfriend in Italy when you don't have the money to do so). Now, though, it is so much more. Now, it looks like this: a pile of folded laundry.
Last Christmas, we hosted my mother for the holidays and held a nicely sized Christmas Eve feast with my cousin and her kids. It was a lot of fun. After, I was wiped out, and being tired usually depletes my immune system to the point where I get sick. I went and laid down to recharge, falling asleep immediately. Brian took care of me by folding my laundry, not because I asked him to, but just because. To me, these are the aspects of love in our marriage I appreciate most: the selfless gesture.
I am open and curious about what comes next for us, how we and our marriage grow and evolve, and the adventures that lie ahead. One thing I know for sure is it will all be done with love.