10 years of magic

This is hard to write. It’s hard to take such strong feelings and assign words to them – it’s why I’m not a writer writer.

I’m not good at this. But I want to try, so I’m going to try.

Jesse and I married each other 10 years ago today. I love celebrating and acknowledging our anniversary each year, but it tends to come and go quickly.

10 years feels different, though. Big. Milestone-y.

We’re happy together. It sounds unreal to say it out loud, but we’ve always been happy together, and there are a lot of reasons for this – but one of the reasons that has become clearer to us lately is that we’re both acutely aware of the fact that nothing is permanent.

People are always changing, and this is usually a good thing. Growth is important. Sometimes people grow in different directions, and that’s okay, too.

Friendships and relationships run all kinds of courses, and many of them have a natural, logical end point. Knowing when to recognize this end point and do the right thing is hard. It’s not easy to look at someone and say “it’s been great, but we’ll both be better off if we go our separate ways”, but it’s often the right thing to do.

Knowing all this? It makes what we have feel even more unreal. It means we take each day as it comes. It feels like we actively choose each other every day, knowing that our future together isn’t set in stone.

Jesse is a very different person to who he was 10 years ago. With every change, I’ve fallen even more in love with him. He says the same is true for me. We’ve worked hard on ourselves. We’ve embraced the idea of constant improvement, of constant change. We cheer each other on with each new breakthrough.

We love being together, but we’re still very different people to each other. We encourage each other to be more and more authentically ourselves with every passing day, instead of trying to contort ourselves into becoming The Perfect Person For Our Partner™. I’ve never wanted codependency – and I’m so, so grateful that’s not what this is.

We choose to be around each other all the time. We choose to sleep in the same bed. We choose to share our thoughts, vulnerabilities, dreams, fears, physical selves, families, social circles, and daily lives with each other. It’s an active, daily choice, not the default. We’re together because we want to be together – because it’s so fucking good – not because we’re scared to be alone.

It feels rare and beautiful to have this. To make this choice every day.

When people ask me for relationship advice, I often ask the same question: are you kind to each other when things are at their worst? When you’re stressed, tired, anxious, or struggling with something, do you still give a fuck about how the other person feels? Do you still care – even in your worst moments – about actively showing your partner that you love them in some way?

Saying “I love you” is nice, and it’s absolutely necessary. But it’s not enough when the other words you say to each other contain disrespect, or condescension, or cruelty – things that are dealbreakers for us both.

We’ve had hard days, hard weeks, hard months. But no matter what, we’re always kind to each other. This comes naturally to us, and takes almost no effort. I find it very easy to be kind to Jesse. Probably because I love the living daylights out of him.

Anyway, I think I’m stuck in this weird ramble about our relationship because I’m afraid to try and put into words – specifically – how I feel about Jesse. It’s scary to look directly at this feeling, because it’s overwhelming. It’s the kind of love I didn’t believe existed until I found it, and now that I’ve found it, I don’t know how to describe it, as much as I want to.

It doesn’t feel like 10 years. On the day we met, it immediately felt like we had experienced many lifetimes together – but at the same time, now, it feels like we’re just getting started. Like we got married yesterday.

It’s… magical?

That’s the best I’ve got.

He’s magic, and the feeling is magical, and we feel like magic when we’re together.

Here’s to 10 years of magic, and hopefully many more.

35mm film photos by Tanya Volt