We celebrated our 10th anniversary two weeks ago. It was right in the middle of the no-helper mayhem, so we celebrated by stealing a quick kiss in between doing laundry and cleaning poop, which seemed poetically fitting because this just about sums up our lives right now.
It wasn’t always this way. It was 2001 and we were both doing our first year in NTU – I was 19, he was 21. We had our first conversation out of necessity because I wanted in on a project he had dibs on (specifically “Hey, I heard you choped the Madonna presentation, want to work on it together?“), but we fell in love several months later after some *ahem* study sessions + that one ill-fated evening jog that turned out to be my last + a copy of Baby Blues.
At that point, I thought I knew all there was to know about falling in love – as much as any 19-year-old could know about anything, I suppose. I had watched a very impressive list of romantic comedies, read pretentious poems about love, tuned in religiously to Class 95’s love songs every night, and gave a lot of thought to how my great love story would turn out.
I was very clear on the kind of guy I would marry. Hot, obviously. Someone with a wicked sense of humour, who would write me poetry via ICQ. He would sweep me off my feet and we would ride off into the sunset to have our 7 perfect children.
When I met the husband, I learnt something new about love. He wasn’t the cliched tortured artist type that my 19-year-old self was so into. He didn’t serenade me or make exaggerated declarations of love outside my bedroom window. But he was the guy who would pass me his detailed set of lecture notes because I couldn’t wake up in time for class. He was the guy who didn’t mind having to walk home for 2 hours after missing the last bus just so he could make sure I got home safe. He was the guy who knew what to say to make me smile when I was having a bad day. He would listen to me talk about my dreams, then tell me that he’d do whatever it takes to make them come true. And I knew he meant it.
Three years later, he proposed and I said yes. I was starting to realise that I didn’t know that much about love after all, but what I knew then was that I found my best friend in the world and he made me happy.
In the 10 years that we’ve been married, I feel like we grew up together. We graduated together, started our careers together, had kids and built a family together. People talk about how marriage is hard and it is. Because life is hard. Somewhere along the way, we realized that we had to stop being the carefree students who slept in till noon and watched movies all day (for research!). We found ourselves having to trade that hakuna matata problem free philosophy for a life with real problems, the kind that keeps you up at night feeling terrified and sick to the gut.
But what people don’t talk about enough is that being married is pretty darn amazing. I’ve been able to spend the past 10 years waking up to the one person who brings me the most joy. He’s the one I want to have conversations with till 2 in the morning, the one whose one liners over fb messenger make me laugh out loud in the middle of a chaotic day, the one who knows exactly how to talk me out of my crazy. There’s no one else I’d rather do laundry and clean poop with.
Happy anniversary, babe! You’re still the one that I want. :)