Matt and I have been married for ten years today.
We met in January 2003. We were both seeing other people at the time. We didn’t start dating until May/June 2003.
We got engaged on July 29, 2003. After six weeks of dating.
When you know, you know.
We planned a wedding for the following May. Then right before Thanksgiving, I got deployment orders. I would be in the Middle East and would miss the wedding.
So we eloped.
We drove from Monterey, California to Lake Tahoe, Nevada. We went to a small wedding chapel and were informed that the cost to get married there would be $300. We would get the chapel for 30 minutes and a minister would do the ceremony and take care of the license.
We didn’t need a 30-minute ceremony. We had no guests. We hadn’t even told anyone we were eloping. No one.
Not to mention the fact that we didn’t have $300.
We drove to our hotel and called the Court House and learned that the Justice of the Peace was there that day, the one Saturday of the month he was in his office. From 3-5PM he would be there.
We drove straight over, got the marriage license, and waited for the Judge. Aside from the lady who filled out our marriage license and the Judge we were waiting to meet, I think we were the only people in the Court House.
The Judge called us in to his chambers. His name was Richard Glasson, he wore a huge silver belt buckle, jeans and cowboy boots, had a ponytail, and there were Grateful Dead posters on the walls.
He talked to us, made sure we were serious (and probably wanted to make sure we were sober), then he told us he was going to “wrangle up a witness”. For real, that’s what he said. I couldn’t make this stuff up.
He left and came back with the woman who had filled out our marriage license. We were seriously the only people in the Court House.
He married us right there in his chambers, we exchanged rings and kissed, and that was it. We were married.
We have exactly two photos of that day, taken in the hotel room before we left to go to the Court House. I took one of him, he took one of me.
I was 24, Matt was 28. I was about to be deployed, and we knew that while I was gone, he would deploy as well. We were looking at 18-24 months apart. But we were married.
In the end, though, I didn’t deploy. We found out I was pregnant with B four days before I was supposed to leave, and so I didn’t go. Matt deployed when B was 2 weeks old, but he was only gone for six months. We were so lucky.
And we still are. Ten years in, and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. I am a better person because of Matt and my life is a happier life than I ever could have hoped for. He makes me smile every day, he is an amazing father, and a hard worker, and a great partner.
Marriage isn’t easy. It takes work and commitment and determination and patience. I know full well that I can be a pain to deal with–I am emotional, dramatic, and stubborn. He brushes those imperfections away and allows me to be my true self.
I am so grateful for him and for this life we’ve created together.
Happy Anniversary, Matt. I love you more.