Monday, May 14, 2012

Year One

On Saturday, May 14, 2011, Ed and I were married in the same church in which my parents were married in 1969, and like them, we were surrounded by our parents, family, and friends. Despite my initial hesitation of having a traditional wedding, our wedding day was one of the best and most fun days of my life. My mother remarked that our wedding just felt happy. This is the best compliment I could have wished for; nothing complicated, just simply happy.

It's a rare occasion that one gets to have so many of the people one loves in one place for a happy occasion. We couldn't believe the distance that some of our guests were willing to travel to celebrate with us: Long gone are the days of the bride and groom growing up in the same part of the country, staying there, and having extended families and friends in the same area. Aside from my parents and some cousins who lived in the Lehigh Valley, guests came from New York, New Jersey, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Utah, Canada, and Ireland. Our bridal party hailed from Long Island, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Albany, Boston, and Virginia to be there with us.

Some good things happened during the course of the year: I got offered a teaching job at a local university the day after our wedding; I was also hired later that summer as a teaching assistant at a local middle school. In January I was offered a job teaching at Salt Lake Community College, where I continue to teach; I've been able to continue teaching as a substitute teacher. Both are excellent places to work, and I'm lucky that even though these are part time positions without benefits, I get to do work I love.

Some not-so-great things happened, though, too: Ten days after our wedding Ed was told that he might or might not lose the job he'd held for a number of years; after a six week period of uncertainty - a time of great stress; there an agonizing uncertainty in not knowing something like this; financially we would have been devastated, probably lost the house and lost the health insurance I had just gotten for the first time in over ten years - Ed's position was eliminated for budgetary reasons. Although he was almost immediately offered another job, followed by an even better-suited one within the same company, this was a financial setback we weren't expecting, and from which we're still reeling. However, Ed manages to continue working for SkyWest Airlines, where he has been employed for over a decade, in a position that he enjoys, excels at, and in a department in which he is valued.

Even worse, we saw the marriages of friends and family end in divorce. Seeing people you love, who through the years have been such an important part of your life, go through such difficult times, especially when one's own marriage is new and happy, is difficult and poignant. We were contemplative, watching these changes happen around us.

In many ways, our first year was easy, in ways that might not be for others in their first year of marriage. Whatever problems we faced were not because of each other; our struggles were financial, the result of external factors over which we had little control. There were some initial bumps as we learned to merge our lives and renegotiate the manner in which we handle our problems, but things have been overcome easily enough. (We've come to the conclusion that we must be doing something wrong: We're not fighting.) We know we'll encounter unforeseeable problems, but we have begun a pattern of communication that will (hopefully) serve us well throughout our marriage: No screaming matches, no throwing things, no personal attacks, no drama.

There is no doubt that I made the right decision.

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