Every anniversary makes me a little nostalgic. I mean, in reality, a commercial for a phone company could probably make me nostalgic, but that’s not my point here.
This year has been especially eventful for us a a couple. Not only did we (finally, I know) get engaged, we dealt with a lot of bumps in the road; my mother’s cancer diagnosis and my school closing being the most notable and life-altering of them.
And we’re still here; strong as ever.
I’m not trying to make this sound easy…it’s really not sometimes. I know I haven’t been the easiest person to live, especially in the past couple months, when my anxiety is through the roof with uncertainty of where my life was going in terms of my career. I’ve been moody and despondent and just not someone you really want to be around. We’ve had a lot to deal with with my mother’s cancer diagnosis and working out her schedules and everything else. And none of this touches on just normal daily life and random annoyances and things that you deal with as a couple.
It’s not always easy and this year has been a huge display of that; but the point at the end of the day is: I wouldn’t do this life with anyone else.
At this point, Devon and I have known each other for almost 14 years and we’ve changed so much in those years. When we met in college, we were 18 (he might have just turned 19 or was getting ready to turn 19, I don’t remember) and I thought he was a jackass. An egotistical, pompous, jackass. Yeah, I said it.
And he still is.
But, he’s also protective, loving, caring, attentive, funny, smart, and supportive.
So, it all kind of balances itself out….most of the time. When it doesn’t I have no issues telling him about himself and making him balance it all back out.
It’s also been interesting to see him change and evolve from the 18 year old I met. Devon was always a very compartmentalized person. Meaning he had groups of people and those groups stayed separate by his doing. Obviously he had his family; no one really entered that, ever; he had his best friends that he grew up with; no one could enter/replace any of those three guys; he had his girls, meaning our group in college (because he was pretty much the only guy that was always there – most of us had boyfriends, including me, but none of them went to our school, so he was the only guy in a group of girls more often than not) and eventually he had his work friends.
None of these groups ever co-mingled. Ever. Like his boys, they hung out amongst themselves, he never brought girlfriends home for Christmas or any gatherings; he didn’t have his various friend groups mingle at any kind of gatherings. That’s just not how his life worked. Everything had to stay in it’s own lane.
I told you he was weird.
So you can imagine his family’s reaction (and mine) when he invited me to his family’s Christmas dinner in 2013 after we’d only been dating for like 4 months.
Devon does not bring girlfriends to Christmas, remember? In fact none of his family had ever met anyone he’d dated before (except for his mother in a couple circumstances). His grandmother told me after we got engaged, “we knew he was marrying you 2 years ago, Devon never brings girls to family holidays…we weren’t even sure he’d ever had a girlfriend because we never met anyone”.
Even into our relationship, some of the compartments took time to bend. He was still very much the “you have your friends and I have mine” kind of guy. And in some cases, we still do; there’s no law saying that we have to be friends with everyone that the other likes; but for the most part…..that’s not the case anymore. Most of our friends are “our” friends now not just Stephanie’s friend or Devon’s friend.
It’s become even more apparent when we look at who we hang out with the most and it’s typically other couples. We spent a good part of Sunday with friends of ours (who are married with an adorable little boy). It started out as she was my friend and I was kind of friends with her husband. But then we did a couples thing and it turns out her husband and Devon are like….the same person, in a lot of scary ways, so they have a little “bromance” working. It used to be that Devon and I had an understanding that if we were visiting “couple” friends, we would stick together. Sunday, half the day my girlfriend and I were hanging out in her kitchen and Devon and his “bro” were in the living room playing video games.
I told him once when were still “new” to dating that his compartments were going to get a little murky with me around and he was determined that wouldn’t happen.
Yet…here we are four years later….and I’m in all of them. Some of them don’t even exist anymore…like he can’t put friends in groups anymore; they’re all just one big group now. I know all his work people….his friends are my friends….his family will soon be my family (at least legally since they already treat me like family). The little compartments just aren’t as realistic anymore and I actually think he likes it better this way…or at least he seems to.
It’s also crazy to me that by the time we celebrate five years next year, we will have been married almost a month. I know this next year is going to absolutely fly by, I just hope that it’s a little easier than the past year has been. This year seemed like an exercise in how many events can happen in rapid succession. We have the wedding to focus on the next year, so hopefully most other things calm a bit; that would be helpful.
But, just like this year has shown me, we’re pretty good at picking up each other’s slack and holding the other up when it’s needed. So, bring it life, we’re ready for you.