I have commented to Jeffrey that we did not need to do anything outrageous for our Anniversary because, despite the fact that, in and of itself, it’s a wonderful thing to achieve 11 years of married, successful partnership together, it is not a “special” Anniversary like our 10th was or our 25th will be, at least by traditional standards. However, I did some research on the number eleven and discovered some people believe the number to be quite special indeed.
- In systems such as Astrology and basic Numerology, Eleven is representative of balance, invention, refinement, fulfillment, vision and congruency.
- In Astrology, the number eleven is considered a magical number that strikes a balance of emotion, thought and spirit. Eleven can also represent sin and transgression and the excess of both.
- Eleven, when broken down (1+1=2), comprises the Two of duality. People with this number can be both idealistic and visionary, and are attracted to the unknown. They can have unusual, interesting and magnetic personalities.
- Eleven brings the gift of spiritual inheritance, as the “light-bearer”. It is the number of the light within all, strengthened by the love of peace, gentleness, sensitivity and insight. Its greatest facility is the awareness of universal relationship. It is related to the energy of opposition and the balance needed to achieve synthesis.
- Eleven is the peacemaker. It possesses the qualities of intuition, patience, honesty, sensitivity, and spirituality, and idealism. Others turn to people who are ‘Eleven’ for teaching and inspiration, and are usually uplifted by the experience.
The traditional gift for an 11 year anniversary is Steel. Steel is an Alloy consisting of other agents which, when mixed together in varying degrees, controls qualities such as the hardness, ductility, and tensile strength of the resulting steel. On the other hand, some elements make steel more brittle, so these elements must be removed from the ore during processing.
Not a bad analogy for marriage. Well, not a bad analogy for ours, anyway. Over the course of our marriage, and throughout our nearly 13 years together in total, we have navigated the life we have been building together by exploring what works between us and what doesn’t; keeping those elements that strengthen us as individuals and as a couple while discarding those that only serve to weaken us or create obstacles where none are needed or desired. Early on we threw out “the rule book” on how marriages are “supposed” to work and how we are “supposed to behave” as a couple and decided to chart our own path and make our own rules. It freed us to be ourselves and forge our bonds together in ways we were comfortable and secure with, resulting in a more natural and honest relationship which, in my opinion, is much stronger than one based on falsehoods, unnatural behaviors, and fabricated contentment in the hopes of fitting in with the norm. We have never been afraid to broach the tough topics, have the hard talks, make the difficult decisions or discuss the taboo subjects because we have always wanted to know the truth, not just what we want to hear from or believe about one another. If I’m going to spend my life with someone, I want to know who that person really is, not just who I think or hope that person is.
I believe the elements we have put into and taken out of our relationship have allowed us to survive and thrive as a couple. We may have words over the small stuff (who’s turn it is to put DVDs in the bedroom DVD player for pre-sleep viewing when we’ve watched all the ones already loaded; who should have to get off the couch to get more beverages when we’re both too comfy to move; who has to clean up the dog mess; who’s fault it is that we don’t have enough money to go to a show we want to see because one of us indulged in a non-necessity, purchase, etc.) but the big stuff is where we really shine as a team. For some couples, adversity and stress in life often results in tension and friction between one another, sewing the seeds of doubt and insecurity, causing each to question whether they will last or survive through the bad times du jour. Not us, though. We are the opposite: the more life throws at us, the stronger we become together, standing against it all in solidarity. We always try to hold onto why we have chosen to be together: to provide unending support and unconditional love, to nurture each other emotionally, mentally and physically. We may lose sight of that now and then, incidentally, in our day to day activities but, when push comes to shove and things get hairy, our natural inclination is to pull together, clasp hands and defy all odds and temptations, side by side, chests out and chins up, with a big “fuck you” to anyone and anything that tries to come between us. In the absence of health, money, legal standing, friendship and familial and social support, we have remained true and strong to our commitment to help one another brave the world and all it throws at us, together, no matter how hard that has been at times; because, no matter how we dissect it and explore it and put it to the question, we wind up at the same conclusion: we believe we are happier and better together than we ever were or could be apart and just can’t imagine our lives without each other in them.
I would be hard pressed to advise anyone on the right way to establish and maintain a relationship. But I’m happy to share the guidelines we have striven to adhere to, for better or for worse, that I believe have allowed us to build the successful marriage we enjoy today:
- Always be honest, even when it hurts. (And, at times, it does)
- Always trust one another.
- Always be trustworthy for each other.
- Give as much, if not more, than you take.
- Do not take one another for granted.
- Accept that you are still two individual, different people.
- Agree to disagree.
- Offer but don’t insist.
- Ask but don’t demand.
- Don’t stop saying “please” and “thank you.”
- Say you’re sorry and mean it.
- If you still love each other, keep telling each other.
- Give space, privacy and respect to one another, even when it’s not asked for.
- Don’t expect perfection from one another, accept the imperfections.
- Be the best partner you can be by being the best person yo
u can be.
- Always share the last cookie.
So today, as I have every day before and will continue to do every day henceforth, I confirm my decision to continue on this path with my husband and see where it takes us. I feel incredibly humbled and proud of the life we have made together, of the roads we’ve traveled and of the plans we are making for tomorrow and the rest of our lives. I may not always see where we’re going or how we’ll get there, but I know we’ll reach the destination together. And that’s what really counts.
Thank you for loving me like no one ever has
and for taking care of me like no one ever could.
You are, and always will be, my best partner!