Today is our FOURTH anniversary! Sadly, Chris is out to sea, but that’s ok—we celebrated last weekend. I finished a cup of coconut chai tea and was brewing some coffee this morning when the phone rang. Chris’ name flashed across the screen. What?! “Hello??” I answered. “Happy Anniversary!” said Chris. “I can only talk for a minute because I have to take off again as soon as possible, but I wanted to call you and say happy anniversary! Ok I have to go!” He found his way to an island in the middle of the ocean just for me! Well…his being on that island had nothing to do with me, but this is my story, so let it be. 🙂When Chris and I started dating I had no intention of falling for him or getting married because I was not sure I could handle the whole military thing (he already had a 10 year commitment). Then one day after an I-hate-the-idea-of-your-soul-belonging-to-the-Navy breakup I realized I was miserable without Chris, and being miserable while he was gone on a deployment couldn’t be nearly as miserable as choosing to live without him. So we got married. And for the record, I had grossly overestimated deployments—there is no misery here. Anywho, our first anniversary seemed like such an accomplishment! We celebrated with a weekend trip to Navarre on the Florida Gulf Coast, sipping champagne by the water in the morning and swimming all afternoon. Chris had our wedding certificate matted and framed (1st anniversary: paper). Our second anniversary was just months before moving to Japan. We spent the weekend in Orlando and had dinner at Cinderella’s Castle right in front of the center windows during the evening fireworks display (2nd anniversary: cotton…the tablecloth?). He gave me a heart-shaped locket with our wedding picture inside to wear when he deployed.
Chris was out to sea for our third anniversary, but we celebrated in Australia soon afterward and both bought Australian hats (3rd anniversary: leather). Since it’s gotten warmer Chris has traded his wool Christmas fedora for the leather Australian hat and I love it! A little bit Texan, a little bit world traveler. The fourth anniversary is supposed to be celebrated with fruit. Weird. We splurged on a set of Japanese knives with our name on them in Japanese. I used them to cut fruit, I guess. Oh! And we enjoyed some Okinawan pineapple wine last weekend. After two years Chris and I joked about having an associates degree in marriage. Now we have our bachelors degree in marriage! I like this joke because it reflects that we are learning and maturing in marriage just like we learned and matured in our undergraduate programs. Here’s what we’ve learned (ha ha, get ready to laugh). 1. Communication. Since our first year of marriage we’ve prayed together for good communication often. Sometimes daily. Sometimes multiple times a day. Believe it or not, our communication improved when Chris started deploying. 2. Learn to forget quickly. Chris and I used to argue and fume over things for days. When I say ‘Chris and I’ I might just mean me. Anyway, we/I’ve gotten really good at letting petty bickering or grumpiness die instead of escalate. Recently we stopped mid-disagreement and Chris said, “What are we arguing about?” I shrugged. “I forget…or at least I don’t care anymore.” “Ok good,” said Chris. “Let’s watch a movie.” 3. We’re all we have. We started saying that as a joke in Pensacola. But seriously, no one else is going to leave everything they’re doing at the drop of a hat to travel around the world to be with us for two days in port. No one else gets to wait for Chris to come home. No one else moves here and there with us. Our home is together and until we have hoards of kiddos, it’s just us. It’s important to plan accordingly. Sometimes when Chris works too much I remind him the Navy isn’t going to give him a back scratch or forehead rub at the end of the day. At least…that would be really creepy. When we got married we made a five-year plan. It seemed like an infinite amount of time. Now five years is up next year, and we’re talking about the next five or six or 25 years. What a delight to plan long term together! It’s kind of our favorite thing to do. So HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Chris! Every year I’ve told you, “This is the best year of my life!” and it keeps being true. Here’s to many, many more!