Thursday, February 2, 2017

When You Realize It's Built To Last: The "Forever" Moment


How does one know when his or her relationship is forever?

Mr. ZJ and I have been together for 13 years and will celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary this year. I would love to tell you that it's been a blissful ride of love and commitment where we both knew from the start that we would be spending the rest of our lives together (yeah, no). I would also love to tell you that I knew I would be with this man forever when I stood atop the Eiffel Tower of the Paris Las Vegas Hotel in my awesome wedding dress and said my vows to him (Bzzzzz...wrong again). Yes, you read that correctly - I wasn't sure on my wedding day that my marriage would last forever. Seriously.

Let me explain. 


I knew that I loved this man, but I also knew the crap we would be up against. I'm a realist, so I look at most things with a healthy dose of skepticism. This was the second marriage for both of us (with the anecdotal success rate of a second marriage at a whopping 1 in 3). We both had demanding careers; his being active-duty military where we endured many long separations. We were entangled with his ex-wife who wasn't interested in parenting or making things tolerable for her children's father. We had a shit-ton of debt and argued incessantly about how to spend our limited discretionary income. We watched our friends' relationships fall apart for various reasons. We spent many nights pissed at each other with someone huffing out of the room, pillow and blanket in hand, to sleep on the couch. We were trying to navigate waters that were pretty fucking choppy, much like any other couple out there living a normal human existence. So while I knew I wanted this marriage to last, I was never completely confident that it would. I contemplated and/or threatened divorce a few times here and there over the years - it was THAT stressful at times. I wondered if I would ever feel like those seemingly happy couples that just know that they are with their "one and only" and that their marriages would stand the test of time.

I finally got my "forever" moment - January 28th, 2017 (yes, that's 9 years, 2 months, and 3 weeks from the day I said "I do").

On that day, Mr. ZJ and I went skiing. We did our normal routine - drive out, ski, hit up the lodge for lunch and drinks, ski, drive home, dinner, more drinks, and then some well-earned relaxing on the couch. All was fine until Mr. ZJ headed to use the toilet. I was on the couch and heard some loud crashing in the bathroom. By the time I got to the door, he was flushing the toilet and walking out while stating "I don't know what happened, but I fell." Immediately after saying that, he went unconscious and fell backward. Try as I might, I couldn't do anything to break his fall before he hit the floor. After about 5 seconds, he came to and declared that he had to go back in the bathroom. He sat on the toilet, and immediately went down again, crashing into the walls and door on his way to the ground.

I'm happy to report that Mr. ZJ is fine. After I finally convinced him to take up residence on the couch that night, I took his vital signs and did some assessments, determining that he was likely fainting due to low blood pressure (suspect: dehydration) and escalating care wasn't necessary. Once he rested and started drinking some water, he perked up pretty quickly. But I was awake for a LOOOOONG time that night after he went to sleep continuing to watch over him like a hawk and becoming one with my thoughts. Amidst all of those thoughts, my "forever" was finally cemented. Watching him go unconscious, I was forced to consider what life would be like without him for reasons other than heading to divorce court. Of course I have considered other possibilities prior to this, but never to this depth. Even when he was deployed to war zones, the possible outcomes were still pretty abstract. But this happened right before my eyes, and I was powerless to stop it. And I knew that barring some crazy shit (like abuse), there was absolutely nothing that could happen that would make me consider leaving this marriage again. I want to be here with him.

So in the meantime, I'm pumping Mr. ZJ full of water, making him take up healthier habits (and I don't give a fuuuuuuck if he thinks I'm nagging), and enjoying my "forever" with him. I'm hugging him a bit longer and making sure he knows how much I love having him around. I'm appreciating this wild, crazy ride for however much time we have together. And whatever hand the universe deals to us, I'm going to play that hand like a badass. I might sleep on the couch when I'm pissed, but I'm here. Forever.

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