Maggie and I celebrate ten years of marriage today, making it our “tin” wedding anniversary apparently.
We met at the local college where we’d both returned to education as mature students as a way of doing something more with our lives. I was almost 24 at the time. By rights, our relationship should never have lasted. She was 9 years older than me and had 3 children already. During our 2nd, 4th and 5th years together, I was studying at Dundee University, some 50 miles away. During our 3rd year together, I was at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada, on a student exchange programme. Nope, there was no way this relationship could last.
And yet it did. We loved being together when we could be and we just got closer and closer.
At the beginning of my 4th year at Uni, Maggie became pregnant with Rogan. Up until then we had deliberately not thought about the future because it seemed obvious that it couldn’t last, but we were both enjoying the “now” and didn’t want to end the relationship. But when Maggie became pregnant, I suddenly realised that I wasn’t frightened of the future any more. This was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and there was no point in fearing otherwise. Rogan was born 2 weeks after my final exams and we were a proper family.
We didn’t originally plan to get married. When we’d met nearly 5 years previously, Maggie was in the process of getting a divorce and I wasn’t overly convinced by the need for it either. We both always felt that if it was in your heart, then a bit of paper wouldn’t make any difference; and if it wasn’t in your heart, then a bit of paper wouldn’t make any difference.
A couple of months later I found myself dwelling on quite morbid thoughts: what if one of us was to die? This made me reflect on the intensity of our relationship. We were not just boyfriend and girlfriend, or partners. There was something very deep and powerful in the connection between us and I found myself somehow wanting to have some kind of public acknowledgement of it. I talked to Maggie, fully expecting her to tell me not to be so silly, but she started thinking about it too. So a few weeks later we got married.
The wedding was a low-key affair, attended by immediate family only. We did the bit at the registrar’s office then went out to a local woodland park where Maggie and I conducted our own wee ceremony under a large, old beech tree. Then it was back to the house for food and drink.
During the past decade we have been through some extreme events – several experiences that would have torn a lesser relationship wide apart. Some of the days and years have been hard fought for – we have experienced loss, trauma and a whole roller coaster ride of extreme emotions Yet whatever shit the gods throw at us, it has only ever made our bond stronger and more powerful.
What helps is that we are both obsessive and passionate about each other – probably to the point that it would be considered unhealthy if it were one-sided.
So today we celebrate 10 years of marriage. There was a time, early in our relationship that I was frightened of using the word “love” because it seemed like such a big word. Now it seems like such a tiny and insignificant word that is incapable of beginning to describe how I feel about Maggie.