Thursday, August 14, 2014

NINE: When You've Been Married as Long as Your Age Gap

I was 18 years old, still in high school and waiting tables for extra cash. He was 27, back in college, and working at the same restaurant.

With our 9 year age difference, we weren’t exactly an obvious couple. In fact, some were a bit scandalized when we started seeing each other. What could you possibly have in common? You grew up in completely different decades! Anna, he’s, like, A MAN!

Maybe it was the way he always insisted on carrying my cumbersome food trays for me. Or the time I convinced one of his tables he was actually Ben Affleck researching a movie role. Or the evening he tenderly leaned over and whispered in my ear, You have something green in your teeth!

But somehow, what started out as late night chats closing down the restaurant turned into a 4 year journey that culminated at the end of an aisle in front of our friends and family.

Still, I think some had their concerns.

My maid of honor, however, did a fabulous job of laying all worries to rest with her reassuring reception speech:

"...It seems like nothing matters when you're in love. Through good times, bad times, through all the times, the only thing that matters is that you share them together. Age becomes nothing more then a number.

BUT, just for fun, let’s look at the numbers:

When Anna was 1 year old, John was 10. Talk about robbing the cradle!

When Anna was 5 years old, John was 14. She was starting Kindergarten and he was going into high school.

When Anna was 6, John was 15. They both had bad hair; she in sponge curlers, he had a mullet.

When Anna was 7, John was 16. He was getting his license. She was just learning to cross the street by herself.

When Anna was 9, John was 18. He was working out at the gym. Anna could be found at the jungle gym.

When Anna was 12, John was 21. Anna wasn’t a teen. Neither was he.

When Anna was 16, John was 25. Anna had just gotten her first beat-up old car. John was
still driving his beat-up old car.

When Anna was 21, John was 30. She could have a drink because she was finally legal. He needed a drink because, let’s face it, he’s gettin’ on up there!"

Today is our 9th anniversary. Today we have been married for as long as our age difference.

If we were looking at the numbers of our marriage today, just for fun, it might go something like this…

NINE: the number of anniversaries we've celebrated

EIGHT: the number of times he's forgiven me for hitting something with the car

SEVEN: the number of spills we clean up each day

SIX: the number of times we put the kids to bed every night

FIVE: the number of job changes we've had

FOUR: the number of addresses we've shared

THREE: the number of times he held my hand as we welcomed our sweet babies into the world

TWO: the couple that is more committed to each other today than we were nine years ago

ONE: the beautifully messy, perfectly ordinary, deeply satisfying life we have created together

After nine years our age difference is practically negligible. In fact, last year at a Christmas party, someone asked us who was younger and I almost choked on my cocktail (um, ME!). 

The truth is, I'm glad that the more the years go by, the less the numbers seem to matter. 

I'm glad we don't keep track of the number of hurtful words that slip out too hastily or the countless arguments over such monumental issues as to which number to set the thermostat or the proper way to fold a bath towel. I'm embarrassed at the number of times I've added more tallies under my name on the parenting ledger and made myself the martyr, instead of taking the time to acknowledge all the things he's done for me, for us, each day. 

I'm glad that the pettiness is gradually eclipsed by the mountain of I love yous that accumulate day after day, month after month, year after year. I'm thankful that there is no way to count the innumerable good-night kisses or comforting hugs or the sweet moments of simply being together. 

After nine years we've added to our romantic notions of love with the lessons that love is patient, love is kind, love is not jealous, and love does not keep score. We cling to the promise that this kind of love never fails. 

After nine years he still helps carry my heavy loads. And I still kinda think he looks like Ben Affleck. 

This may work out after all.


  1. This is so sweet! I love the way you write and love reading your blog :) Happy anniversary to you!

  2. hahaha - When Anna was 21, John was 30. She could have a drink because she was finally legal. He needed a drink because, let’s face it, he’s gettin’ on up there!"
    Happy 9!!! This was the sweetest of the anniversary type posts I've seen! Loved it.

  3. My husband and I have a whopping 15 year age gap, so I totally get where you are coming from. I was 19 when we met, 22 when we married, and 23 when our daughter was born. We have just celebrated our 3rd anniversary and our daughter will be 2 years old in November. We have a really nice bottle of wine that we received as a wedding gift that we were saving for our 10 year anniversary- but maybe we will save it for our 15 year anniversary- the number of years we have in age difference. Happy anniversary to you both!

  4. This is really a sweet love story to know and it also tells age gap doesn't matter in love what need is to love and to be loved.

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