On Wednesday, Kirk and I crossed into "two months married" land. We asked each other how it felt and discovered it felt much the same for both of us: surprising, in two directions. First, because time has flown so fast and we can't believe it's been two months since we exchanged our vows in Ireland. Second, because two months sounds so puny, compared to how we really feel about it, which is, like we've always been a "we."
So, some reflections.
I've learned that life in a marriage can be refreshing and sweet. Coming from one that was on the rocks from the get-go, and even before the get-go started, I can't tell you how filled with wonder and gratitude I feel at least a few times a week when I realize I'm living in what marriage was meant to be: a land that is sweet and clean and free and, well, nice. (I hesitate to use the word "easy" because people always say marriage isn't supposed to be easy, but it actually is easy for us, and at least 90 percent of the time, if not more. I think this has mostly to do with what I'm about to share next.)
After living 3,000 miles apart for a year, Kirk and I have spent the past 2 1/2 months nearly inseparable. We've had a lot more side-by-side time than most people get, what with the road trip and then the extensive time in Europe and our already pretty free lifestyle and then Kirk's 3-week illness that just ended. But in all that never-ending time together, we've rarely (and I mean rarely) needed our "space."
This amazes us. We've both lived the majority of our lives in need of frequent alone time and space, what with our shared introspective and introverted natures. Plus, we haven't heard of any couple, even friends, who have spent as much actual time together as we have in the past two and a half straight months without feeling worse the wear for it. We thought this could be because of living on two sides of the continent for so long, like we're making up for lost time and just want to soak up the shared energy as much as we can. But we actually shared lots of time together in the last year, with monthly visits ranging from 3 days to 6 weeks, and each of those visits were the same: unending time together, with the same results: enjoyment and lightness and sweetness and fun.
We just genuinely enjoy one another. That's the secret to married-life happiness, I've come to believe. That, and carrying around a great amount of care for the other person in your heart, which makes you want to hear them and do things for them and forgive them and share your real heart with them all the time. Oh, and being on the same page about life and what it means and where it's going. These past two months have blessed me with great evidence that we really are on the exact same page of life's book. What's more, the exact same line of the exact same sentence of the exact same paragraph of that page. Perhaps even the exact same word.
I never knew that could happen.
Plus, Kirk is just incredibly silly. This I already knew, but living in close quarters for two months has revealed the even greater extent of his silliness. (And, for that matter, mine.) He does impersonations, mostly of cartoon animals. He makes sound effects when telling stories. He's incredibly smart, which means he comes up with these amazingly snappy quips out of nowhere in the middle of a conversation, and they're usually quips that pull from some joke or experience we've shared in the past.
All this to say that we spend a fair share of our time together in laughter, and that can't help but be a good thing for anybody. I never knew humor could be so important. But I think, especially for someone like me, a person disposed toward serious thought and conversation for the whole of her life, humor is something I never realized I needed. It draws me out of myself. It lightens the air. It helps me worry less and live with more freedom. And this is especially a gift when it's given so gently, like the way Kirk gives it.