On our wedding day, we decided that every year we would celebrate getting married.

No, not a renewing of vows ala Doug and Jackie Christie-style, but just a get together with close friends to acknowledge the fact that we haven’t killed one another. I mean, I can’t tell you how many 1-year-old birthday parties I’ve attended. This oblivious, little munchkin, who’s done nothing but live one year longer (which is completely beyond its control) gets a party thrown in its honor complete with decorations and a cake yet we’re the ones that get curious looks when we tell folks about The Annual Perry Anniversary Party. Who’s the crazy one?! A good marriage takes work. It’s not a mere co-existing from one year to the next. Contrary to popular belief and unlike the anniversary of your infant’s birth, it deserves a celebration.

On the morning of our 2nd Annual Perry Anniversary Party, we had a big fight. You see, I’m a morning person. If I could sing, wasn’t so afraid of birds, and it wasn’t illegal to harbor undocumented little people in your home, I’d start every morning like Snow White. My husband, on the other hand, let’s just call him Grumpy. I’ve never met a person who, if death weren’t so final, he’d choose it over having to wake up from a good sleep. He’s a hard-working man, please don’t get me wrong. He not only can maintain employment, but is corporately recognized weekly for his work ethic and business integrity. You would think I would have learned by now, the weekends are the only days he gets to sleep past 7am. On this particular day, I forgot. It’s funny how you can know someone like the back of your hand, yet in a moment forget everything you’ve learned. So while I was up and raring to go to make the final preparations for the Game Night (this year’s chosen theme), it was weekend as usual for him. At the time, I felt I was being patient by quietly tending to our spawn (our daughter) while he got a couple of extra winks of slumber. You might have guessed I’m not known for my subtlety so at what I deemed the appropriate time, I lovingly whispered in his ear, ‘If you want this party to happen, I’m going to need you to wake the heck up and help me.’ It’s important to know here that if there’s one thing worse (in my husband’s mind) than being awakened, it’s being awakened in a manner that implies he’s being lazy. Needless to say, this sparked an epic shouting match with him reminding me that he is the one who has to be up at night with our daughter (Darrell 1, Tacoma 0) and me reminding him that I am the one who has to plan, coordinate the setup and cook all the food for tonight’s little affair (Darrell 1, Tacoma 1). We went at it for what seemed like an eternity, but was actually only about 15 minutes. This argument ended like they all do, with one of us realizing how unreasonable and selfish we are acting. This time, he realized it first. I hate that. He beat me to humility. He apologized first and that really gets to me sometimes because it, yet again, proves he’s a better person than me. (Darrell 182, Tacoma 3)

The party went on and we had a ball with our friends as always. They were none the wiser about what it took to get there, but since most of them are married I’m sure they’ve been there. At the end of every Annual Perry Anniversary Party, we seek marital advice from all in the room who are married (you’d be amazed at how much marital advice unmarried people offer you). The solicited advice portion of the party has traditionally been my favorite. In part because I’ve always valued advice from successful people, but mostly because I’m obsessed with the lives of others. And advice always comes from a place of experience thus giving you a small peek into the window of their lives together. This year couples had a lot of admonition regarding children, very appropriate given we’ve just had our first. Primarily, it revolved around 1) not allowing your lives to revolve around your offspring, 2) putting your relationship with God first and 3) always, always, always being respectful and loving in our words toward one another. The first, I have no problem doing (see rant in 1st paragraph about children’s parties). The second, we strive everyday to achieve. And the third, well, give us time, we like to pace ourselves.

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