I remember how hard it was at the beginning. Jay had lived by himself for three years. I had lived in community, but always found my own space if I needed to run and hide from the rest of the world. Jay even bought a house bigger than we needed, simply because he knew we'd both need lots of space. The funny thing was that we inevitably ended up squashed together in our upstairs loft space, reading the computer monitor over each other's shoulders or one of us sitting on the little futon we put up there so we could still be near each other if the one of us was working on the computer. We had two, but Jay's was newer and far superior to mine. And we didn't have television, so books and the internet (dialup, of course) were our only escapes.
But it was still hard to live in the same house with someone. It was hard to coordinate schedules, to give each other space, to figure out how to communicate. I remember getting so angry with Jay one day that I kicked an empty box on the floor and stomped out of the house to go on a long walk. I think that was the first day I realized that I really did have the stereotypical redhead's temper. Of course I don't even remember what we argued about now.
I look back now and I wonder what the heck we thought we were doing. Why we ever thought it would be a good idea for a couple of 24-year-olds to get married and go get jobs and try to figure out what to do with our lives. Looking back on it now we seemed ridiculously young for all of that. But somehow we have survived, and thrived. We have had our share of adventures and have tried our very best to be good to each other and to anyone who needs the shelter of love that we can provide. We've managed to avoid a routine. We just keep finding new things to do and new places to go. We've never set some sort of ultimate goal for our collective life (other than raising happy and healthy children), instead blooming where we've been planted until we feel a call on our lives to go somewhere else. The next few years will not disappoint in the adventure arena. We will wait and see how Jay's health progresses, and I will have to make a decision about my future as a pastor in the United Methodist Church. But we have ten years behind us that have made us stronger and closer. They have shown us that we can survive just about anything, and that we are ready for whatever life tosses our way.
I often poo-poo the idea that there is only one perfect person for everyone, but after ten years it seems that Jay and I actually are the perfect people for each other. We sometimes stress over everyday decisions, but the big ones almost never require discussion. Somehow our values and priorities are so perfectly lined up that the huge decisions are a given for us. Were we that perfectly matched before we even met, or did we grow that way over the last ten years? I'm not sure, but I know that there is no one else with whom I'd rather share my life. And I'm pretty sure there's no one else with whom I could share my life. Despite the difficulties, or maybe because we always seem to survive them, it's a sweet life. God give us ten more.