I never really know how to begin the posts where I write about myself or my life or whatever, so I guess this is the easiest place to start: a lot of people (like, more than I would have guessed) ask me how/why I choose to write personal stuff on here. I don’t have an “elevator pitch” answer to a question like that, but I guess I’d generally say that I feel like failure, as a concept, explains a lot of your life and the world — but we never really talk about it. To me, it feels freeing. I’m a train wreck and have done stupid shit in my life. You probably are and have too, regardless of how big your house is, how much money you make, how many Facebook friends you have, all that kind of stuff. So if I could put something out there and you think to yourself, “Yea, I feel a similar way, but no one really talks about it…,” well, that stuff is powerful to me. Also, I think being vulnerable actually makes your life more fulfilling, and that’s been backed up by some degree of research. So why not toss yourself out there now and again?
So anyway, as of today I’ve been married for two years. Here’s a couple of thoughts.
The Overall Process
First off, I think about March 16, 2013 a lot. I don’t know if it’s a day that I would call “the greatest day of my life,” per se. My wife and I have convos about this sometimes. If you call your wedding day the greatest day of your life, then doesn’t that imply that everything else is downhill after that? I mean, in a way? So that’s awkward. I will say it’s one of the days where I can very clearly remember a handful of moments, and in your life you don’t have a ton of those days. It’s also interesting because the moments are kind of random — like, for example, I can’t remember the actual context around the end of the vows and all that (the “official” moment), but I can remember how my man Ian Simpkins told me he started crying because I was crying when my father-in-law walked my wife down the aisle. That’s the stuff that I remember or that sticks with me. Someone showed me a tape of me and my wife speaking at the reception, and I remember that I got some laughs or whatever, but I have absolutely no recollection of what I said. I watched it back and I sounded like a total fucking idiot. So that’s great. My brother-in-law, sister-in-law, and man Mike Linton (best man) all knocked it out of the park with their speeches. You can see a little of it in the video below.
So yea … a good day. The best day? Probably not. I think I still have some highs in me (or so I’d hope).
Thought about trying to organize this post and wanted to do “Highs/Lows,” but then realized in “Highs,” I’d probably start waxing poetic about the value of marriage and “finding your one” and all that. If I did that, anyone single reading this would probably virtually spit in my face, so I didn’t really want to go that route. Look, I think having a partner and having a family and everything — those are great things. It’s part of the “fabric of society,” or however you want to argue it. That said, I think the entire notion of “having a one” or “finding your someone” involves an insane amount of straight-up luck and serendipity that we often don’t discuss. There are 8 billion people on this planet, and you make a series of choices you can control — where to live, where to work, who your friend circles are — and out of that, you find a “one.” That means if you adjusted one thing — your friend circle, let’s say (because 30 percent of couples, apparently, meet through friends) — everything could be different. I met my wife through friends. If I wasn’t in that friend circle, would I be married to her? Probably not. I’m only in that friend circle because I decided to try and be ‘Chairman of the Senior Class’ at Georgetown, whatever the fuck that means now. So if I had decided not to do that, what would I be doing right now? I have absolutely no idea. It’s weird when you think about how one decision in your life literally changes 5,000 other things, and at the moment you made that one decision, you were just like, “Oh OK, I’ll go do this now.”
In short sum, then, I love my wife and am grateful for knowing her and being able to share a journey with her. And our life has gotten better since last year at this time. If you want to kind of understand that arc and some of the struggles we went through, you can read this.
I converted to Catholicism in part to marry my wife (also in large part because while I think I have faith, I’m not a super religious person and I wanted some sort of guiding idea above me). I still barely go to church (bad), but because of the conversion process, my wife and I did pre-Cana before we got married. That’s the whole thing where you take surveys about each other and learn strengths and weaknesses. I feel kinda weird about it because like, uh, if you’re marrying someone and you don’t know their strengths and weaknesses, that’s kind of fucked-up. This isn’t work, where managers don’t know anything about their people. This is marriage and real life, so you’d hope you’d know.
But anyway, we take these surveys and the main result was that I’m this pretty social person who needs all this attention. (I wouldn’t argue with this, although a lot of times I think I’m more introverted than other people might assume.) My wife is this quieter person who doesn’t need a lot of social reinforcement. Essentially in that regard, we’re totally different people. Sometimes that is a challenge. My wife is fine to sit around and read all day on a Sunday. I like to go out and try to do things. Sometimes there’s an impasse there. Yesterday I won out and it worked pretty well — we met a bunch of people who could become friends, which has been a challenge in Texas so far. That’s cool. Sometimes, though, it can be hard.
My wife is also a person that deals with anxiety and depression; that can be a challenge too. It’s not a “low” because then I’d be implying her stuff is a burden on me, which I don’t want to imply. But anyway, I wrote this entire other post about that; you can read it here.
There’s probably a lot of salacious shit I could say in this section, but the thing is, some of those stories aren’t mine to tell. I love my in-laws and they’re all individually beautiful people, but you know … I don’t think anyone in world history has ever said “I completely and totally love my in-laws!” If someone has, go check their medicine cabinet. It’s probably got a lot of prescriptions in there. When you marry a person, you marry their family — for better (most of the time) or worse (some pronounced periods of time). That’s life. You also deal with a lot of in-group (how this family does things) vs. out-group (how you would logically perceive things) crap. That’s kinda how I feel about it. You can read some more thoughts here.
I feel like at the end of the game, life is really all about trying to figure out what you do well, what you don’t do well, and how to maintain (a) while adjusting (b). That, and you know, finding purpose and passion and love and empathy and everything. It’s complicated. (One of my best friend’s dads says, “The thing about life is, no one gets out alive.”) There are a ton of ways I could be a better husband (and a better in-law). I seriously do work on that stuff every day. I don’t even mean making dinner or taking out the trash or whatever; I do those things just fine. I mean real instances of support and understanding and empathy; those are the things that honestly matter in your life, and sometimes I feel like I do fail there. So I work on it, and I’ll keep working on it. That’s the point, right? Plus, we promised ourselves that the 10-Year Anniversary could be a getaway with our friends that we have full control over (because when you get married, that’s really your mothers’ show, honestly). So I got eight years to keep improving and then hopefully take a picture on a beach somewhere. Question is… will Facebook be around to share it to?
If you have thoughts on your own marriage and want to share ’em below, go ahead. This whole thing is an open book/dialogue.