Making It Through a Decade of Marriage

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A big star and the words “10th ANNIVERSARY!!” mark the date on our family calendar. My seven-year-old son read it the other day and exclaimed, “Whoa, you and dad have been married 10 years?!”

Getting married in Beaufort way back in 2009!

That’s pretty much how I feel about it too: Whoa, how have we already been married for 10 years? That’s a whole decade. When I was younger, I remember hearing those words and thinking A DECADE! 10 YEARS! THAT IS SOOOO LONG! 

Now it’s been a decade since we were newlyweds working at a newspaper and living a kid-free lifestyle, but it doesn’t seem that long ago. I remember those days like they were yesterday. (Sigh.) 

I’d like to think my husband and I are the same fun-loving 20-somethings as when we met at work 12 years ago, but we are not.

How do I begin to describe everything we’ve been through together? For all that’s happened in that time — the insanely awesome honeymoon, the loss of my mom, the birth of Kid One, the birth of Kid Two the following year, the joy, the tears, the loss of sleep, the laughter, the loss of jobs, the fear, the family trips, the friendships — the life-changing events, big and small, have only strengthened our bond. 

Tired parents welcoming Baby Two into the world.

I do know that I love my husband more now than I ever thought possible. And the reasons for that are infinite — he’s sweet, he cooks, he’s funny, he’s smart, he’s responsible, he’s engaged in the community, he gives our kids baths every night. Most of these great traits I knew when I married him, but watching him become an amazing dad (a little too amazing sometimes, since pretty sure the kids prefer him over me, but I’m not jealous or anything) still makes me feel like a very lucky lady.

Sometimes I wonder if he’s crazy for choosing me. My traits don’t shine like his do given that I have zero patience, a quick temper, a vindictive personality, a sleeping disorder that makes me tired all the time, and I’m also a terrible cook and a subpar housekeeper. The things I am good at — talking to random people, going out for girls night, doing Soduku, reading books when I should be doing other work, complaining, staying busy but not really doing anything, binge-watching shows until 2:00 in the morning — don’t exactly translate into exemplary mom/wife material. But love works in mysterious ways, I guess. (To be fair, he did know most of that when he married me.) I’d like to think it works for us because opposites attract, and not just because he’s just an extremely patient person who puts up with my antics because he loves me.

How have we made it through the last ten years?

Sheer will? Obligation? True love? I suppose it’s a little of each. Even though I’m the last person to give advice about marriage — everyone is different, after all, like wedding snowflakes — I do have some tips that might come in handy for some other couples on the planet:

  1. Keeping him on his toes — like scaring him in the shower or surprising him with all the random stuff I bought at Target — to stay fun and spontaneous.

    Whoa, We've Already Been Married Ten Years?! Charleston Moms
    The whole family of four.
  2. Keeping things sexyto make time to remember the connection that brought us together in the first place. Even if it’s just a quickie, or only twice a week, or a combination of sex and spontaneity, those moments are worth it to feel less like a mom and more like the carefree woman I was when we first got married. 
  3. Keeping it real — to express feelings and keep open the lines of communication. Truth be told, we’re actually terrible at this. Talking about feelings is akin to torture for my husband; meanwhile, I feel mad, sad, happy, frustrated in one hour, and I have no problem letting everyone around me know. Even though we operate on different emotional wavelengths, I fundamentally trust him. We can be honest, and there’s not a lot of B.S., because as parents, ain’t nobody got time for that!
Spending quality time together in Asheville last weekend.

When life gets crazy, every day I get to wake up next to my husband is a great day. He’s the most important person in my life because I choose to be with him. After all this time, he makes me want to be a better person, he never gives up on me, and he treats me with love and respect.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know I want to be holding on to him for many decades to come.

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Pamela Brownstein
A native of New Orleans, who was raised in New Jersey, Pamela has lived in the Lowcountry of South Carolina for the past 15 years — which basically means she talks and drives fast like a Northerner but embraces the natural beauty and friendly, laid-back culture of the South. She graduated with a journalism degree from Penn State, and met her husband, Daniel, while working at a newspaper in Beaufort, SC. The two left-handed parents have two adorable right-handed children — Wolfe, 5, and Selah, 4 — and one unruly black Lab, named Lefty. They live in Mount Pleasant and Pamela works from home as a freelance graphic designer, writer and editor while also taking care of aforementioned children. She loves champagne, Bluegrass music and South Park.

1 COMMENT

  1. Al and I enjoyed this amazing story about your marriage. You will always be one of our favorite families because you are loving each other no matter how different you personalities. One of the best trips I ever made was when I got on a plane to be with all of your for your wedding. Thank you for the memories!

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