Monday, October 29, 2012

Defining Our Marriage, Part 1

On November 2nd, Jess and I will celebrate ten wonderful years of marriage.  On some days, it seems like it was just yesterday while on other days, it seems like we have been married forever.  I know it is cliche to say this, but these past ten years have been the best years of my life, and our marriage seems to get better and better every single day.  Yes, our marriage has had its ups and downs, but they aren't the normal ups and downs that many couples often make reference to.  Our downs weren't spats, disagreements, etc, but rather they were things we experienced together and got through the only way we know how - together.  But whether they were good things or bad things, there was so much in the past ten years that helped define our marriage and make it as strong as it is now.  In honor of our ten years, I came up with a list of the ten things that really define us as a couple and brought us to the point we are at now.

- Our Furry Kids: As you all know, Jess and I are apparently unable to have children (of course this will be covered later), and so we have filled that hole in our home with furry children.  I was lucky enough to marry someone who loved dogs as much as I did and we have been blessed with wonderful dogs throughout our marriage.  We got Leia a month after we got married and she has been our wonderful, intelligent, spoiled girl ever since.  A few years later we added Orko to our little family and he was such a joy to have.  When we had to put Orko down, it was an absolutely devastating moment in our lives, but the addition of little Winston has filled that gap that we experienced after Orko left us.  We're dog people.  The dogs are part of our family.  Anyone who knows us knows how important they have been in our lives.

Miss you, buddy.

The House: What a source of both happiness and stress our house has given us over our 10 years together!  We bought our house around 2 years into our marriage and it was such a big step for us in feeling like actual adults!  We really have turned this house into our home.  We have, year by year, made it into what makes us happy and comfortable: paved backyard, hardwood floors, spa, paint, etc.  The house is totally us.  But as I mentioned above, it was also been a source of stress for many years.  A few years back, with our initial 5 year loan about to end, we attempted to refinance.  Not having ever been late on one single payment, we got very little help from our mortgage company which led us to seek a 3rd party for help which ended up going out of business and taking our $4,000 with them.  For the last couple of years we have lived under one year fixed mortgages, afraid that at any time, the rate would get so high we would be unable to keep the house we worked so hard to make into our own.  Then finally this year, under a new government program, we were given the 30 year mortgage we had been trying to get for so long.  At last, we can rest. 

Our house in the reflection

Vacations: Jess and I have been BLESSED to have been able to take so many vacations during our ten years of marriage.  Off the top of my head, since we have been married we have been to New York, Oregon, Las Vegas, San Diego, Mexico, Washington DC, Reno, and multiple trips to Tahoe, the Central Coast, and of course, Disneyland.  We have such an amazing time on trips and we really attribute it to the fact that we enjoy each other's company so damn much.  We have so much fun together and are amazed how we never get sick of each other on our trips where we spend so much time together.  And we have plenty of upcoming trips planned or in the works!  We are very lucky.

Job Issues: Jess and I both went to college, we both got degrees, we both started careers, but it hasn't always been as smooth as we would have hoped.  I was only a couple of months into my teaching career when we got married.  I wanted so bad to be a teacher growing up, and I did accomplish that dream.  But the teaching profession wasn't what I had envisioned for so many reasons.  After a a couple of years, I was already feeling it, but by the third year, I could tell I was done.  And it was hard to come to this decision.  I had gone to college for this, spent so much time preparing myself to get to this point in my life and I was going to bail?  It wasn't an easy decision, but Jess got me through it, helped me to come to the conclusion I needed, and basically supported me in whatever I ended up deciding to do.  I wouldn't have been able to get through that decision without her.  Then I tried my hand at real estate which was a very rough year in my life.  Never have I gone through so much sadness, but again, Jess got me through it.  After a year of trying my hand at that, I entered the field where I am now and have been for over 6 years, but if it wasn't for Jess supporting me and letting me know that she was behind whatever I decided, I might have gone crazy.  Jess also had her ups and downs.  From the hospital, to the clinic, to another clinic, and back to the hospital, she has had to deal with many work issues that often times brought her to tears, anger, and everything in between.  But much like she supported me, I tried to have her back in the best way possible and we seem to have both come out for the best.

 The Knee: I really can't talk about work without following up with Jessica's knee issues; something that has definitely impacted our lives during our marriage.  The early years of our marriage were fairly free of knee problems, but in the second half of our marriage, it definitely became a source of constant turmoil.  Mainly due to unlucky genetics, Jess has a degenerative knee disorder that become more and more painful for her.  Many times, and in fact, most days before surgery, she would come home from work crying from the extreme pain she was having.  It affected work, it affected vacations (wheelchair time!), and it affected simple daily life.  One surgery to relieve the pain was cancelled and put off for a few months.  Then she finally had the surgery in June of 2011 and she nearly died in the hospital because of a medication problem.  The surgery led to her being home with me for over 6 months of recovery time.  She's been back at work nearly a year now and while she is still nowhere near pain free, she does have some relief.  It is still bothersome and the pain still can get in the way from time to time, but we are better off than where we started.  But the knee has definitely been the source of many scary and sorrowful times in the last few years.

Come back in a couple of days for part 2...


Nani said...

You two are a lovely couple. I am so happy for you both having found each other, enjoy each other, and your beautiful furry kids. Happy Anniversary and praying for many, many more happy years together. Looking forward to part two. Hugs, Nani

laura b. said...

What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful marriage. I can't wait to read Part 2!

Mom said...

I love the two of you so much and feel so blessed to have such a beautiful daughter-in-law. The two of you really have been through so much but you do it with each other as a couple should. 10 beautiful years of marriage and many, many more!

Jessica Valle said...

Like I didn't love you enough... This is wonderful.

Tara said...

The two of you are so inspiring to me. I look forward to reading part 2, and I hope you both have a wonderful wedding anniversary!

Anonymous said...

Straight to the point and well written! Why can't everyone else be like this?