twice around the sun

On September 18th, Kait and I took a day off in Grand Junction to celebrate our two-year wedding anniversary.

September 18, 2010

In many ways, this walk has been a sort of strange extended honeymoon for us – we get to travel, spend time – a LOT of time – together, and sleep beside each other under the stars. It is also a true test of our relationship, and our commitment to our marriage, to each other, and to our lives in general. This walk is not something we could do without truly believing in it, and fighting through every doubt to keep walking side by side.

Before we left, Tyler warned us that traveling with other people can be…less than pleasant. When I told him that we had sleeping bags that could zip together, he cautioned that I might want to bring a separate tent. I didn’t say it to him at the time, but that was one of the most absurd pieces of advice that anyone ever gave me. Sure, the potential for Kait and I to get completely sick of each other was there – but our relationship is not a transient deal. The promises we made to one another on our wedding day are serious and long-lasting, and we have challenged ourselves to overcome any and all obstacles, disagreements, and petty frustrations that we encounter in our journey through life. So no matter what the days bring, no matter how frustrated we can get walking 5 feet from each other all day, every day, we still share our little home of a tent.

I don’t know what it is that has undermined marriage in our society. I think a lot of it boils down to communication – or a lack thereof. People seem so wrapped up in what others think that they become afraid of truly expressing themselves. Egos rage and boil under the surface, and small problems that could be easily managed with a simple – albeit difficult – conversation end up tearing a couple apart from the inside. But out here, we don’t have the time and space and backhanded luxury of letting our petty arguments fester and grow in silence – so we talk. We work through everything together. You can slam a door, but you can’t slam a zipper. If we have a disagreement (which we do, pretty much every day) we talk it out. It doesn’t matter if the argument is large or small, important or insignificant – we talk about it. It isn’t always pleasant, and it’s rarely easy. But marriage is not supposed to be a free ride – it takes hard work, and understanding, and compromise.

Back when we left the trail to go home for Kait’s grandmother’s funeral, she got a chance to spend some time with her father, Tom. Tom’s a smart cat – he is self-educated, honest,  and very hardworking. While they were talking, Kait said, “I hope you can see the value in what we are doing.” and Tom’s response blew us both away. He talked about how many newlywed couples dive right into the daily grind, off to work and rarely spending time together, and cruising right into having kids without ever really spending time just being married. But we have done quite the opposite. We have chosen to spend the better part of a year side by side, facing constant challenges and stress together. We have the time to talk, the time to explore each other, and the opportunity to face great obstacles as a team. He said that this walk was one of the most valuable investments that we could possibly make in our relationship. Like I said, Tom’s a smart cat.

Many days are difficult. We disagree a lot. We realize how young and flawed we are, and that there is a lot of work to be done if we will stand the test of time together. At the end of every long day, we are married and in love and committed to the life’s work that is our marriage. This walk is a challenge on every level – emotionally, mentally, physically. But most importantly, this walk is a direct challenge to our commitment. If we can fight through this together – and love each other more and more every day because of it – then we can handle anything.

Here’s to every future step, and to many, many more miles together.

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10 Responses to twice around the sun

  1. Jim Shaner says:

    Congregations on your two year anniversary. May God bless you on your journeys through life.

  2. Eileen says:

    Congratulations John and Kait!

  3. Sally says:

    Love you both! Big hugs…

  4. Caycemom says:

    I’ve always said that I married the love of my life. As we approach our 34th anniversary the truth of that belief continues to reveal itself. So many gifts…and we count all of our children among the greatest! Congratulations and may you both grow to experience the same. XOX

  5. Gail Pigion says:

    Thank you for sharing how this experience has been on your relationship. I think this is one of the best blogs you have done. Sharing on a personal level means a lot. Sounds like you have a strong marriage, and appreciate each other every day. Keep it up !

  6. Saleem says:

    Beautifully expressed, heartfelt and profoundly sincere, indeed. The sentiments are to be cherished, savored and mutually enjoyed. Best to both of you from may be “not-too-smart-a cat” but a very loving parent!

  7. Mary Lou says:

    Beautiful blog.. and happy anniversary, you are quite wise beyond your years and have your heads and hearts in the right place..

    I wish you many blessings in your life together and the remainder of your journey. You will have many beautiful stories to tell your children someday.

  8. Compass says:

    I’ve fallen behind on your adventures, but this one made me think back on something I said a month or 2 before your journey began. “This will either tear you apart, or it will make you rock-solid, nothing can come between you.” Knowing that you have become that invincible super-couple makes me feel warm and fuzzy. Congratulations on both the anniversary and on your successful journey.

  9. Mom Sally says:

    Reading this on your 6th Anniversary it is even more profound how well-suited for each other you and Kait are, and how mature beyond your years, really, compared to many. Marriage is a partnership, and I think you two have found the secret to keep it working, to love and respect each other even when you disagree. Love you both very much.

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