The Mister and I celebrated our 18th anniversary yesterday, the 19th of September. Believe me when I say there were plenty of times I wasn't sure we'd see the next 18 minutes, let alone 18 years, but here we are, and with a great deal of enthusiasm, too.
We met at work, many years before we ever went out together. He was living with his then-girlfriend of 11 years, and I was dating all kinds of young men, some delightful and some less so. (I always thought dating was sort of like shopping....."I like the way those jeans looked on the hanger, but they are going to cost me way, way too much. And even though those shoes fit nicely, I hate the way they look.")
The Mister and I always got along very well; we worked beside each other, watched the same movies and thought the other was hilarious.
Eventually, he and his girlfriend broke up, which was a bit awkward, because she worked at the salon, too. When they split up, I got a lot of "so, are you and the Mister going out now?, which made no sense whatsoever to me, one thing did NOT follow the other at all. Simply not in the equation for me.
A few months later, the Mister sat me down and told me that he thought we'd be perfect together, and he was willing to wait until I got my head around that and came to the same conclusion. And after a few days of mental gymnastics I realized he was right....I could do a whole lot worse than find myself with someone who I trusted, who made me laugh, who was kind and patient and smart and funny. Who's family was nice and sane and loving. Who wanted children and would be a good parent. Who was responsible and balanced and most importantly, thought all the same things about me.
We dated quietly for awhile, mostly because if it didn't work out, he wouldn't have to explain TWO ex-girlfriends at the shop. When we did eventually make it known we were dating, I swear there were a whole lot of clients that came into the salon just to see what kind of soap opera we were running there. The ex-girlfriend was NOT happy about this turn of events, and I can't say as I blame her; going into work every day to see your ex happy AND sit beside his new girlfriend in the lunch room does not make for a good day. (Eventually she met a very nice man and married him. When they started going out, my boss asked if I had met him, to which I replied "No, I haven't. And really, if you were her, would you introduce ME to your new boyfriend?") Things were very interesting at work for a few months.
We got engaged 10 months after we started dating, and were married 10 months after that, on the Mister's 34th birthday. (I figured if we got married on his birthday then he'd never forget our anniversary. Turns out he's way more likely to forget his birthday.)
It's been 18 years, and honestly, it's been just great. One thing I came to realize pretty early on in our relationship is that relationships take work, but good relationships don't take much of it; they can hum along nicely, as long as the two people in it are happy with themselves and each other. The secret to a happy marriage is this: marry the right person.
Lucky for me, I did.