Ten years ago, Nick was not the Homebrew Husband and my life was more drive-thru than Northwest Edible. Ten years ago I was thinking I really wanted to go to culinary school. Ten years ago Nick had just been laid off. Ten years ago I liked to take on projects for which I was supremely unqualified, and Nick kindly indulged my ideas. Ten years ago there were no children in our life.
Ten years ago today, we got married.
So it’s been a decade of many changes, and a few things have stayed constant. It’s been a decade of good fortune and of figuring out how to be a grown-up. It’s been roughly 9 great years together and some intermittent months that were mildly (but not spectacularly) crappy. It’s been a very good start.
Nick and I each have a lot of respect for what the other brings to the homestead table. I value his hard work and ability to provide for our family in an old fashioned daddy’s-at-work kind of way. He values the food I grow and cook and the savings I enable through my own efforts. I value his ease in knocking together a half-dozen raised beds; he values my knowledge of when and how to plant. I value his homebrew (some nights I value it a few times) and he values my ability to make about anything from freezer or soil taste great.
It is a good partnership, and is stronger for how much we do together. Some couples travel or hike or do crosswords. Some take motorcycle trips or rally for a political cause or skydive. In our current phase of life, the garden gets most of our project-togetherness.
My parents have been married 42 years and have never managed to live in a home without substantially remodeling it. As a teen I helped knock down chimneys and kitchen cabinets on summer break – demo was a family affair – and once I woke up to see my dad’s boot sticking through the ceiling above my bed. My folks were always working on something together, so from a very young age I saw grown-ups working side-by-side on a project as the archetype of marriage.
I think this is a pattern I’ve continued in my marriage to Nick. We engage with each other passively – through dinner dates and phone calls, but we also engage actively, through joint action to a common purpose. The dates are all well and good, but it is the mutual labor that I love, and that bonds me most closely to my husband.
We will celebrate our anniversary at one of my favorite restaurants, drinking a few cocktails and eating satay, and we will toast ten fine years. But after the self-congratulation and the clinking of glasses, conversation will turn to the new chicken coop, the spring plantings, the baby chicks, predictions for the orchard a decade hence, the plans for container growing tomatoes. With any luck, a “Next Ten Years” list will be started on the back of a moisture-ringed cocktail napkin. We will settle in where we are happiest: scheming, planning and dreaming up the big things we can do together.
Here’s to the next ten years. I can’t wait to see what we’ll grow.