Time is one of those things that we can never escape. Whatever else happens in life, time is a trustworthy force, always marching on. So we use it to tell people facts about things. Some time spans are good. Some are bad. But the constant is that we can tell people just how long these things have been going on.
And anniversaries are just time. They get larger with every new celebration. They don’t tick backwards or stay still unless the original cause of the anniversary no longer exists anymore. Even still, people can count on and say ‘It would have been our X anniversary.”
It becomes interesting to me, though, that as soon as a marriage is introduced, the years spent together before that ultimate commitment become insignificant. Whether a couple was together three months or six years makes no difference as soon as they’ve been married for one day.
Since we eloped this year, we had to decide about celebrating anniversaries. The husband would not accept two anniversaries so we had to pick one. Would it be the anniversary of when we first became a couple? Or would we count the time since we exchanged vows on an unseasonably warm March day?
There’s a common choice but being who we are, we couldn’t accept a common choice just because it’s how other people do things. We’ve never gone that route and weren’t going to start.
Between March when we eloped and mid-October when our dating anniversary was, we’d thought long and hard about which one we would keep. We each thought on our own and we talked about it together. I want to say that we always knew which one we’d choose, but there was weight to this decision and we couldn’t let it go without this level of scrutinization.
When our dating anniversary rolled around, we agreed that it would be the one to stay. It was meaningful. A seven year anniversary is not small. It felt like if we chose the wedding anniversary, we’d be telling everyone that the six and a half years we spent together prior were less special. Somehow, it would be less important. The truth is that it couldn’t be farther from reality. Those six and a half years before we turned into spouses was how we learned that this is worth the commitment. It’s how I learned his quirks and he learned mine. We figured out that those quirks weren’t enough to dissuade us. We went through tough times and good times and came out the other side stronger each time.
We couldn’t bear the thought that those times wouldn’t be worthy with the myriad of times that lay ahead of us.
It was decided that October 18th will always be that anniversary day for us. It’s the one that’s gotten us to where we are now and it’s how we know we have something worth celebrating.
As time does, it will march on. As the years pass and we keep celebrating October 18th, maybe people will even forget the date that we got married. “That’s okay,” we’ll say, and eventually time will get so muddled that some might be surprised that we didn’t marry in October.
Really, we’re creating the groundwork for a future mystery. That sounds much more fun anyway.