Jeff and Chloe’s 25th Anniversary

I interrupt this love story to bring you this fast-breaking news report:

Jeff and Chloe made it to their 25th Anniversary!

The actual date of our 25th Anniversary was in April, but not only was I recovering from major vaginal reconstruction surgery, we were still reeling from the events of New Year’s Eve.

For the record, because I know you’re wondering, my husband did not have a sexual affair. I know that’s what you all want to know, so there it is.

What did happen was almost as bad as far as I’m concerned, and we’ve both had to step back and take serious stock of our marriage and what we want our lives to look like from here on out, but sex was never the issue.

I hate to admit that–25 years in–Jeff and I are still struggling with the aftermath of our parents’ disastrous marriages. It pisses me off that neither of us seems to be able to get wholly past our respective childhood traumas. So back to therapy we go yet again to work through our deep wounds of abandonment and betrayal.

Jeff and I are both emotionally needy people, and if we don’t give each other what we need then apparently both of us will seek it out elsewhere.

My husband didn’t need sex from someone else, but he definitely does need a wife who isn’t glued to her own escapist interests 24/7.

It’s no secret that the last four years have been rough for me.  This whole damn blog is about the last four years being rough for me.

In my About Me Video it ends with me living happily ever after. And that’s true. I believe it. Eventually. But on a day to day basis nobody is happy all of the time.

Shit happens.

It seems like Jeff and I have been struggling with the shit that keeps happening for so long now. Getting our kids raised; seeing our daughter marriedcoping with my mother’s cancer; dealing with the financial challenges of being stuck upside down in a house that no longer suits us in a rural economy that shows no signs of recovery; my intermittent bouts of depression and anxiety; and just the normal consequences of aging, have all conspired to make life feel really hard.

I know.

Boo effin’ hoo.

I’ve read that a marriage is like a garden. Jeff and I took a perfect picture of our lovely garden on the day we returned home from Paris, stuck it up on the wall, and set about living two separate lives.

What we didn’t notice was that we’d stuck the picture right over the window. And as we passed each other on our way to our own interests we didn’t notice–or didn’t want to notice–that weeds were taking over. On January 2nd, we pulled away the blind and saw the reality.

There is no doubt that this year has been the hardest for us, but also the very best. I truly mean that.

We’ve dealt with things we never wanted to deal with before. We both had resisted rocking the other one’s boat for so long that we almost capsized the whole damned thing.

So it was with tremendous joy that we committed to celebrating our 25th Anniversary last weekend. It was pure joy to reap what we’ve been sowing after having spent months and months weeding and pruning and planting in our garden once again.

I need to have balance in my life. I can’t hide in my computer, running away from all the things about my life I don’t like.  That won’t work for Jeff, or for me.

But I’m a writer and I need to write. So how we work that out for us in a way that makes both of us happy is one of the things we’re working on. Jeff has his things too.

And together, maybe by our 50th we’ll have it all worked out.

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  8. One week before my wedding my grandfathers sat me down to talk about marriage. They did it separately and I am fairly confident without comparing notes.

    One of them told me to never forget that sometimes life happens and that if things went south for some reason I could always start over. He was on his second marriage (my grandmother died from breast cancer) and knew from experience that you could start over if you wanted to.

    My other grandfather told me to remember that if things got rough we should hold onto each other and that we would get through it.

    He also said it didn’t hurt to learn how to be deaf. He and grandma were married for 76 years, so I am fairly certain they figured out a few tricks besides not hearing each other.

    Anyway, I don’t know of a marriage that doesn’t hit rough spots. It is all about how we deal with them I suppose.
    Jack@TheJackB recently posted..The Secret SitsMy Profile

    • Marriage is really hard. Two people make promises they don’t understand.

      Your grandfathers were both right. Sometimes we have to count our losses and sometimes we have to play to win. And sometimes we don’t know which game we’re in.

  9. Chloe, we are in year 28 of our marriage and while the numbers sound good, I truly believe we have become complacent. There is a line in “Date Night” where the Mark Ruffalo character says to Steve Carrell (and I paraphrase) “We’ve just become really, really good roommates that have sex twice a week.”

    Ouch! That’s us MINUS the sex twice a week. Perhpas the time for marriage counseling (marriage rejuvenation?) is before the shit hits the fan. I guess its time to start a Google search in my area.

    So glad you and Jeff continue to plod along working to build and improve on the next 25 years. This August my parents will be celebrating their 63rd wedding anniversary. At this point they are getting to the “in sickness and health” part of the contract. It’s tough when you are 85 years old, but they are hanging in there.
    Suzanne recently posted..What’s on YOUR bucket list?My Profile

    • Suzanne, what I wouldn’t do to go back to last summer and have a do-over. If we’d gone to counseling then I can only imagine the pain we would have avoided. Don’t wait for it to blow up. Sometimes you can’t put the pieces back together again.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your heart. I hope I see you in Georgia in the fall.

  10. Chloe,

    I can’t wait to read your book. I like to think I’m pretty real, but I’m sure I’m not as honest as you are. I remember way back when you first crossed my radar telling stories of PSP the impression I had was that you had the perfect little family and you were the perfect mom. Of course nobody has and nobody is that. I like the you I know now and I’m glad you share your story.

    • Melissa, I must admit that there was a short time when I wrestled with keeping all the mess hidden. I could have pretended that everything was perfect. But I’ll die before I contribute to causing the sort of pain in other women that I’ve experienced; the pain of not being good enough. I won’t do it. We owe it to each other to tell the truth if only as our own way to help carry each other’s burden.

      Thank you for your love and support. It means the world to me.

  11. I’m glad y’all managed to hang in there to get a glimpse of the other side of the pain. How satisfying to know that your hard work has yielded lovely results!

    • Marriage is work. I’m glad we stuck through it too. It hurt a lot, it was like birthing a new marriage. But the results have been wonderful.

      Thanks for stopping by.

    • Thanks, Sharon.

      It does take work and every season of a marriage changes the game in unexpected ways. I had no idea on December 31st that this year would be the most painful and the most joyful in my marriage. But I wouldn’t go back for a second.

      Thanks for stopping by. Can’t wait to meet you at Blogher.

  12. I feel dumb for not wondering what everyone else was. Thanks for the reminder that we have to live WITH our spouses not next to them to make things work.

    • It was an eye-opener for me too. I was taking so many things for granted; things that I now look upon as precious and rare. True love is precious and rare and we should never take it for granted.

  13. Beauty and pain do go hand-in-hand. I love this post. And I LOVE that you two are still committed to the hard work that is marriage. Congrats on 25 years!

    • Thank you, Audrey. It’s been a great marriage and I believe with all of my heart that it will continue to be a great marriage forever. He is the Captain of my heart.