Sunday, October 21, 2012

The state of our union

It's our sixth anniversary. I didn't mention it because, well, I just don't care too much this year. Now that the day is over, I think the way it all played out is very telling about the state of things with B and me.

For this to make sense, you need a little background. Growing up, events were a big deal. Birthdays, anniversaries, Mother's Day, whatever. They meant something and required some sort of celebration. As a result, taking notice of events has become important to me. I don't require elaborate celebrations, but a card or a small gift or a thoughtful act showing that you remembered the event makes me feel loved and happy. Yes, it's stupid, but gift giving is one of my love languages. What are you going to do?

B's family was just about the polar opposite of mine. Events were just another day. No one made a big deal out of your birthday, and it didn't matter if you got a card or present or (most likely) nothing at all. He couldn't care less if you remembered an event, and he doesn't see why anyone should care about celebrating.

B and I have known these facts about each other for many, many years. Regardless, we keep treating the other the way we would like to be treated. Every year for our anniversary and his birthday, even when we're completely broke, I do SOMETHING to commemorate the day (it usually entails getting him a card and a box of Ding Dongs, a favorite snack that he rarely gets). He on the other hand, will generally wish me a happy anniversary or birthday and leave it at that. No card, no present, no date, nothing.

This year, however, was very different. This year, he made an effort and I didn't bother.

B was out of town this weekend at a wedding. He got home after dinner, and had a card, three roses, and a bottle of champagne with him.* I didn't get him anything. And I didn't feel badly about it.

It surprises me how much our roles have changed in the past year. A year ago, I felt like I was the one trying to make our marriage continue to work. This year, I've more or less given up. There's a gigantic elephant of an issue wedged firmly between us, and it's not something that I can do anything to fix. I've done what I could and I continue to work on fixing me - you know, the thing that I can fix. Now it's his turn to do some fixing, but he doesn't seem to be ready for that yet. I'm not sure if the problem is that he doesn't see the elephant, or if he thinks the elephant is really a mouse, but there's something stopping him from taking the steps he needs to take for us to keep this marriage viable.

The impromptu, late evening anniversary celebration made me sad. I was so grateful for the effort and the fact that he took my feelings and needs into consideration. But it hurts my heart to know that efforts like these are ill-fitting bandages that won't really do any good long term. It was a fantastic way to reflect on the day we vowed to love each other now and forever.

Huh. Looks like I kinda went and wrote about my Thing after all. Yay for over-sharing and catharsis!

* Because I'm trying to be more grateful in my life, I'm glossing over the facts that the roses were from the grocery store (it wasn't a gas station!), the card didn't include a note and wasn't even signed (but the card's sentiment was sweet!), and he sprayed me in the face with frozen champagne even after I suggested it might be a good idea to open the bottle in the kitchen (but now I've experienced champagne slushy! And it was yummy!)

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