On October third, we celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. It feels so weird to be married for fifteen years. I remember early in marriage hearing other people talk about 12 or 15 or 17-year anniversaries and thinking, man they’re old. And now we are there, in all our married glory, right in the middle of all the “old people,” still feeling quite young and energetic. Sorry to all the decade-older-than-us couples I know—you guys were in that ripe part of marriage ten years ago while I was still stupid and thinking mid-thirty-somethings were ancient. I love my mid- thirties. I love being 15 years in. I finally feel settled into my spirit, even as we look forward to new adventures and wandering paths.
For the life of us, we could not figure out what to do to make the day special this year. My mom suggested that we re-do our first date, which is what we ended up doing. We drove the hour and a half up north to eat at Olive Garden, ordered the same two meals, and watched a movie at the mall. I loved it because we laughed the whole time and a lot of what we said started with “remember when…”. A few times during the night, I wanted to go back in time and whisper to my 20-year old self, “Don’t worry. He likes you. A lot. And someday you’ll do this all over again. Except you won’t be nervous, just totally and absolutely in love.”
We also bought each other a pair of boots. I got the girl version and Phil, the guy pair. We looked at all the different styles together, the colors, reviews, and descriptions. We shopped intentionally—choosing a shoe company with clear vision for others. We wanted something rugged, durable, and stylish. Everything about this gift we chose as a careful metaphor for the next ten years.
It may seem silly to attribute so much meaning to a shoe, but all the details in this gift-choosing were for a reason. We wanted something practical and tangible to move forward in. Marriage is never easy. It is difficult terrain in every way unimaginable to starry-eyed 20-year olds eating at Olive Garden. We bring everything we have been shaped by into relationship with another shaped individual. And, God, it is exhausting and wonderful to discover who we are together. Fifteen years in, you can eat at a mediocre chain restaurant and laugh hard because life is magical and funny and heartbreaking and perfectly imperfect. And together, you know the deeper rhythms of life and look forward to what the next ten, fifteen, and twenty years will teach. We are wiser, perhaps, only because we know there is still more. More to learn, to endure, to embrace, to forgive, to love.
I hope my boots look super worn-in ten or fifteen years from now. I hope the creases and frayed stitching and scuff marks tell a good story. I know they will be more beautiful down the road, wrecked and comfortable and filled with miles of adventure. And I’m super happy that I share this life with a guy who knows I appreciate a good metaphor and a great pair of boots.
*This is not a paid endorsement for these shoes. I just love everything about this company and their product.
Check out the Oliberte site here.
The boots are even more beautiful in person.