If you clicked on this post, you might be expecting something sappy and sentimental. You know what?
You’re right. There will be some of that.
On October 1st, 2010, I, being Summer Hamilton for the first 32 years of my life, married Michael David Sorensen. After an adventurous 11 months of dating, and a whirlwind 3.5-month engagement, we sealed the deal. It was a joyous day. Hopefully for all involved, but who knows.
Everything about our courtship, engagement, and wedding seemed to “just work.” No tension (OK, there was some during the wedding planning, but isn’t that always the case?), no drama, just two kids in love who got to plan “the party of the century” as I heard it called by at least one person.
I’ll try not to melt your face with too much sentimentality, and offer some real talk also. As if those are at odds with one another.
Pre-marriage thoughts and expectations
As a young bachelorette, I heard a few things about marriage that really stuck with me. The first was this:
When you meet the right one, “you just know.”
That sentiment seemed foreign to me. How can you “just know?” Since my dating experiences prior to Mike were plagued with doubt and marked with a gripping fear of commitment, I was skeptical, to say the least.
After dating Mike for several months, I found that I had to eat those doubts. I didn’t even need a spoonful of sugar to choke them down, because …
I just knew.
Whereas in many previous relationships, I began to frantically look for the exit sign when things started to get serious, with Mike I had a different problem. For the first time, I had met someone that I didn’t want to live without. The thought of losing him terrified me.
That was when I realized that the previous sentiment held some merit after all.
The second thing I heard as a young single gal was from an older married gentleman at work. He said that who you are changes once you get married.
“I’m not the same person I was before marriage,” he said.
That was very unsettling to me. Being quick to assume the worst, I gathered it meant that you find someone who is at their best, to impress you. Then once they have you, you see that they are really just a faker who then reveals all their character flaws, once it’s too late.
I’d seen that happen to people I knew, and I was convinced that it was inevitable to some degree. I’d also seen plenty of people put on a lot of weight once they got married. I filed that away as unavoidable also. More on that in a minute.
In retrospect, those conceptions may have added to my apprehension about settling down.
The reality for us
Now that we have a decade under our belt, which is hard to believe, I see an unexpected, delightful plot twist that has emerged to fill in the mystery of that second idea.
What I didn’t see coming, in the inevitability of married people changing, is this:
That we would change for the better.
The man I’d waited my whole life for, for whom I was waiting to reveal a trollish nature, turned out to become even more wonderful to me as our years of marriage added up.
I do have to give credit where credit is due, however. Just as I prayed regularly before meeting Mike, that our good God would bring me my husband, I have continued to pray for him as we entered into marriage, that He would give Mike an increase in wisdom and skills in “husbanding” and leading our family.
God has seen fit to continually answer my prayers, and I am grateful.
The good, the bad, and the less-than-sightly
It is fascinating to think about how things have unfolded in our decade of wedded bliss.
We have the great blessing of not only loving each other but also liking one another — we enjoy each other’s company. That makes our relationship work well. We often spend so much time in the evenings chit-chatting about life and solving the worlds’ problems, that we sometimes get behind on other things.
We’ve been together long enough to see each other through seasons of great stress, disappointment, and illness. We know there will be plenty more of all that. It seems to come in cycles.
To balance out the lows, our shared love for travel and adventure has taken us to places from our own state to around the world, where we’ve taken in beauty that can’t be adequately captured on camera, and stockpiled memories that we will hold dear until our dying day.
Side by side, we’ve endured vacations that go sideways, pouring rain on camping trips, sickness at the most inopportune times, and all manner of inconveniences. We have learned to take it in stride, and realize that it is all part of life.
Sometimes that perspective takes a minute to percolate, in the face of staggering disappointment that often stacks up like dishes in the sink.
As we’ve marched through our 30s together (and now beyond, at least for me), we’ve seen how our youthful metabolisms have crashed, resulting in bigger pants and a reflection in the mirror that isn’t quite as trim as our wedding day.
On a side note, along with the standard wedding vows of, “in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, etc.” I wonder if we shouldn’t as a society add,
“In fitness and in fatness.”
I only say it because it’s true.
That element of humanity has managed to catch up with both of us, in varying degrees and timing. But fortunately, we are both committed to working on fighting against the tide so we can try to be healthy for each other. And so we don’t have to keep buying bigger pants.
The adventure of the ordinary
I’ve opined before about how life became more ordinary and less adventurous since being married. In many ways it has. Instead of hiking every weekend like we did when we were dating, we often end up catching up on chores, working on our side businesses, staying in with friends or family. Nothing too crazy.
The latest saga in our adventures, especially in a COVID era, is team cooking. Mike has taken a great interest in preparing delicious meals in the last few years, aided by having produce available from his garden. It has been delightful to see him as he applies his artist nature to cooking, and makes meals that look beautiful as well as taste delicious.
Sometimes we work together on meals, where one of us is a sous chef and the other coordinates the main entree. It is a fun activity to do together and often results in something tasty.
When we do go out to eat, we carefully survey how the restaurant prepares their meals and which ingredients they are using, so we can duplicate it at home. That has resulted in many new frontiers in home cooking.
Maybe all that sounds dreadfully boring to you.
Not only is that OK with me (after all, it is OUR life, not yours), it is kind of the point: we have found that we delight in simple pleasures and a less packed schedule than our single days.
One of the greatest things about being married to my best friend is that we have a continual companionship that survives the exterior storms of the world. Home, with Mike, is the place I most love to be.
I hope I’ve painted a realistic picture of life. It’s not all sunshine and roses. I mean, life, and living in close proximity with another human is messy. There’s no way around that.
But I am continually grateful that God brought us together: two humans who are ridiculously compatible, who support each other through thick and thin, see the best in one another and spur each other on to keep improving as individuals.
The first 10 years of our marriage has been wonderful. I would be delighted if we had another 40 or 50 more to go.
Thanks for reading my sappy post!