Today is my wedding anniversary…. and as I look back at the photos of the younger and skinnier versions of my husband and I kissing ever so romantically in front of some strange pond on our wedding day, I cant help but point my finger at them and laugh. What suckers. Those sappy and naive kids had absolutely no flipping idea what was in store for them. And while it may sound absolutely insane that I am only a few years into marriage and yet still feel entitled to some kind of rose gold metal or at least some kind of glittery rainbow star for managing to hold onto this crazy ride called marriage; I’ve also got to give those two crazy kids some serious props for managing to fight so many wars together in such a short amount of time and surviving to tell the tale. So my big romantic confessional on this anniversary is simply this: We Survived. (Enter slow clap.)
The Dark Side of Entrepreneurship
It was only months after that big beautiful wedding on the lake that my business (the one that my dear fiancée had invested some serious $ green $ into) failed and we lost everything he invested in me. Losing your ass (or more specifically your new husband’s hard earned dollars) isn’t reallllly the breading ground for those blissful newlywed years everyone gushes about. That entrepreneurial bust would be followed by other business pursuits…many other pursuits. There have been more restaurants, earphones, apparel companies, tech startups, and children’s toys – and along with all of those big dreams and ambitions have come the risks, bills, build out disasters, lawsuits, weeks in China, and sleepless nights that go along with all of that. No matter how much your entrepreneur partner may tell themselves that they can leave their business at the office, no matter how much they may believe they can maintain that magical unicorn known as work/life balance and still own a company – all of those pipe dreams are a really just a crock of B.S. Entrepreneurship is a truly a family sport and it’s an endurance race – so you better get your head in the game if you want to make it to the finish line with your partner by your side.
The Endurance Game
Being married to a serial entrepreneur has been the most insane roller coaster ride, but in full disclosure, it’s not like I didn’t know what I was signing up for, or more specifically whom I was marrying (I’m pretty sure my husband started his first company as like a fetus). So when they say that thing about Tiger’s and their stripes – let me just tell you – they aren’t kidding. The sooner you learn to accept whom you married is more or less who you are going to stay married to, the better off it is for everybody. When you are married to a true entrepreneur (the kind that will continue to take the hill no matter what) the best you can hope for is that they win – and that all of the sacrifices, stresses and risks were worth it and there are fruits to your labor. More likely though, you better just hope that when they lose (or it takes forever, or it doesn’t look like you had anticipated), that they have the emotional fortitude to get back up and try at it again. More importantly, you better hope that you have the energy and resilience in spirit to get back to supporting the whole process again, and again, and again.
When Life Gives You Garbage
Looking back, it’s hard to recall the exact details of how the whole fiasco began or why in the world we didn’t have the shot I needed to finish hatching like a gazillion freaking eggs during my IVF cycle; but what I do know is that in that moment, I was positive that it was all my husband’s fault (I am pretty sure everything was his fault at that time). I was certain he had thrown the damn shot we needed away. The clusterf*&^ that was this situation was compounded by the fact that we only had some insanely short window of time in which this magical potion had to be injected into my bruised covered behind before the entire cycle (and the fourteen gazillion shots I has already injected into myself for days on end) were all for NOTHING and I had to start the entire process all over again. His ass, my ass, all the asses were ON THE LINE and we had to DO THIS THING, THIS FLIPPING SECOND!!!
Like some kind of drug-fueled deranged lunatics, we found ourselves ripping open all of the garbage bags onto our lawn where we surveyed the evidence like some kind of crime scene investigation. After twenty minutes of counting all of the empty vials, I conceded to my husbands innocence – which meant that we took a joy ride at 110 mph to the nearest 24hour Walgreens where we have now scattered ourselves out all over the pharmacy bathroom while frantically unwrapping needles and viles and mixes and powders while simultaneously scouring YouTube videos and screaming orders at one another. This is not the scene I dreamt of when watching the Notebook as a young woman – this is not how Sleeping Beauty ends – but this is marriage and this is real life.
Somehow, with only seconds before the clock struck twelve and we turned back into sad infertile pumpkins, we managed to get the medicine properly injected into my body, and welp..we now have two precious daughters to show for it. But it’s sufficed to say that nothing we have tried to accomplish or manifest both individually or collectively has come easily….
And that is the dogshit that comes with real life and marriage. Nothing worth having comes easy – it comes with claw marks.
The Things That Cannot Be Undone.
I will never forget the day I got home from the hospital after loosing my first pregnancy. I was sobbing so hard in the bathtub that the water literally trembled. My husband swept in and lifted me up in all of my soaking wet hysterical glory to carry me to our bed. It was the way he wrapped the blankets around us like some kind of cocoon where we laid like burritos and cried together for the rest of the day I will remember for the rest of my life. We had lost a baby and nothing could undo that. Life has a way of leaving all kinds of scars – and it is the shared scars of marriage that truly connect you.
The Battlescars Of War
It’s difficult to articulate the ways in which the shared struggle of loss and failure connects you to your spouse. It isn’t sexy or fun. It isn’t the romantic photo of two people kissing in front of a pond. It is strep throat, stress eating, and post partum depression. It is baby blow outs, fighting over your inlaws, and picking up your manic mother from the psych ward for the hundredth time. It is sleeping in the basement and crying so hard you feel like your insides are being ripped out. It is bed rest, failures, and school tuition bills. It is cancer scares, and chocolate cysts, and surviving.
It is ugly – so ugly. It is resentful and hateful and forgiving and loving and so insanely beautiful all at the and same time.
But it gifts you with the most incredible highs – the sounds of two babies crying in unison seconds after being ripped from your body – listening to your son reading out loud after years of struggling with dyslexia, the shard rejoice the morning after all of your children slept though the night after weeks of sleep training.
Marriage is simply this – barring witness to the least desirable qualities about someone you used to find so intriguing and trying to remember the feeling of experiencing them for the first time.
And if you can find the space to both pretend and remember who the two of you were before life took hold – you can create an island where love persists and where you managed to survive…..together.
And today…that’s a big win.