One Year

This past weekend marked one full year of being married. We unexpectedly celebrated in a very Dane and Angela-esque way.

Rewind to a few days earlier. The Scene: A nondescript Seattle apartment bathroom, Dane and Angela are getting ready for work…

Angela, from the shower: “Dane? I feel a little guilty. I didn’t get you anything for our anniversary.”

Dane, brushing his teeth: “Oh yeah? Well that makes me feel better because I didn’t get you anything either. You’re not upset, are you?”

Angela, now feeling less guilty and happily shampooing: “Nah. What do you have going on today?”

Meanwhile, Dane, who has long toyed with the idea of getting a pilot’s license, had scheduled a discovery flight with Rainier Flight Service for a prior weekend. Due to some plane maintenance, his flight ended up being rescheduled on our anniversary. This prompted a concerned Dane to ask, “You don’t mind doing this on our anniversary?” I waved him off.  

It was incredible. Despite literal bumps and one slight, unexpected drop, Dane flew us from Renton to Friday Harbor and then back again. Since the Blue Angels were flying for SeaFair, we stayed in Friday Harbor for lunch to avoid the main show. It was a gorgeous day, a ton of fun, and Dane can now say that he “flew with the Blue Angels”.

Pilot Dane

Since our conversations around anniversary plans, I’ve been reflecting on one year of marriage and how/why both of us were perfectly content to not plan something more typically “anniversary-like” for it, especially considering how we plan any other life event (extensively). I made the following conclusions:

  1. We don’t typically opt for traditional paths, but prevalent societal traditions are ingrained in our perception of what we should be doing. This is evidenced by both of us sheepishly admitting to the other that we didn’t get anniversary gifts, a more typical societal norm. However, Dane and I both tend to be driven by experiences as opposed to physical gifts. Our gifts to each other have typically revolved around trips, tours, classes, shows, etc. In the past year, we’ve had plenty of experiences together, including getting married. It’s not surprising that we skipped traditional gifts (I think my mom wished me a “Happy Paper Anniversary”) and ended up on a surprise weekend adventure instead.
  2. Have you ever explored your love language? Here is where I think Dane is particularly well suited to me. The best feeling is coming home after a long day of work and being greeted by a hot plate of food, a hug, and this question: “Is there anything you need to throw in the laundry before I start it?” (the answer is always “yes”). We share chores, but Dane has an uncanny ability to pick things up without my asking him do. That he shares the emotional and physical burden of keeping our home a home with me speaks volumes.
  3. We spend a lot of time together, and in a way that works for us. In talking with others about their relationships, I’ve slowly learned that quality time between partners comes in many forms. Dane and I have great conversations, but we also count sitting in companionable silence as quality time as well. 

What I’ve learned in one year of marriage then, is that our couple goal is to discover what works for us, which is different from how we grow with each other. This goal encompasses everything, from communication style, to what traditions we honor, to how we spend our time together. 

In that sense, I’d call it a successful first year of marriage. During our surprise lunch in Friday Harbor, we decided that perhaps, instead of gifts, we would share a new experience on future anniversaries instead. I love the traditions we create together.

What have you learned from your relationships? What traditions (or lack of traditions) do you observe? 

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