For the most part, people find this story endearing. Who doesn't love a love story with a happy ending? There's always the disbelief and then the whole "I could never imagine being with the same person now as I was at fifteen" thing. Sometimes things are just right and sometimes they happen sooner than you ever could have possibly planned, or hoped. I think a big misconception is that by having been with someone so long, you have it all figured out. You have them all figured out. There's suddenly nothing more to learn and no more room to grow or blossom. I don't believe that love is ever stunting, roots all tangled and dying without a place to spread out and grow.
I think that who I am at fifteen isn't who I am now, and the same can very much be said for my husband. He spent our first conversations talking about music and the local punk rock scene and somehow these aren't the only criteria when it comes to forming adult relationships. You don't stay together and wind up married because you both like the same Saves The Day album. To me, this means many years to learn to grow with this person instead of away from them. To grow alongside them, to learn to understand them and support them as their life develops in a way maybe different than you initially planned at sixteen when you were going to be rockstars and live wherever the Warped Tour takes you. There's always learning involved, always changing happening. Learning to grow and adapt with this change isn't always easy. Sometimes it's challenging. It's easier to look at someone and ask "where is the you I met fifteen years ago?" than it is to adapt, to accept, to continue growing.
When I was a junior in high school, I came to English class crying about some silly fight that my husband and I had in between classes. This was a common occurrence because when you're sixteen and your boyfriend says he doesn't like Ben Folds Five, your world ends a little bit. My teacher called me to her desk and told me that love wasn't supposed to hurt and I should remember that. Even at sixteen, that never made sense to me. Love can hurt, and it will hurt. It will sting and burn and tear you to pieces that feel impossible to put back together. Like most things worth fighting for, you'll have to fight for love. And this fight, it's going to be worth it.
As the years went on, my husband became an accountant. I only seventy-five percent understand what he does at work and sometimes when I ask him what he's working on, I'm unsure if we're even remotely speaking the same language. My husband will never understand why I silently cry listening to Bright Eyes in the car (and, no, he still doesn't like Ben Folds Five). I'm admittedly intimidated by the thought of attending his work events because of how out of place I will be in a corporate setting surrounded by people who didn't drop out of college in pursuit of something more artistic and creatively fulfilling. I think in my head how everyone will be staring at me and I'll likely walk in with fingerpaint on my dress and everyone will be asking what in the world my husband sees in me because I won't fit in. And then when we're walking into the creative arts mommy and me class that Ethan and I have recently enrolled in with my husband on his day off, I find myself thinking "please, please don't be so uptight today -- it's just mud" three minutes before Ethan sploshes the gooey mud onto his new shoes. I could almost feel my husband's brain exploding from where he stood in horror, a totally plastic smile painted onto his face.
But who we are as people, the core of us, we are the same as we were that August day in front of building 7 when we first made eye contact on the first day of my sophomore year. We are simply evolved versions, more intricate versions of our former teenage selves and how wonderful it is to have someone to encourage our growth along, even when it's tricky. Even when it's hard. Even when you're almost thirty and still having to defend your choice to live together at eighteen to certain relatives. Even when you feel like you're a hundred and things felt a lot easier when you only had to worry about getting $8 Alkaline Trio concert tickets outside some smoky hole-in-the-wall club. Because love is always evolving. We as people are always evolving. And how boring it would be to think that we had everything figured out with nothing new to learn.