The same thing happens to me every year.
I stand in front of a bank of Anniversary cards and wonder if I am from an alien planet.
I read schmaltzy line "You make me sparkle inside" after schmaltzy line "if all the stars in the sky and grains of sand on the beach were able to be counted they still wouldn't be as much a I love you"
It strikes me as slightly insane to assert "since you first caught my eye *insert years* ago I have been living my dream life with you and know its forever for us".
My apologies if these comments resemble your life - I don't mean to diss it..... but something tells me that even you would have to admit, like most married people I know.... that marriage is often a series of messy, complicated, annoying, hurtful, frustrating moments, days and years strung together with wonderful, beautiful, heart-filling, affirming, uplifting moments, days and years.
And that string that holds it all together is a series of choices we each make to keep our promises to one another and ourselves and to try to do better, be better each day.
I don't think it serves us well on our anniversaries to only celebrate the good, the fun, the connectedness because it's likely true those things came to us through brokenness, failure and down right messiness. And don't think we should take "together forever" as a given.
How can any card, with 5 lines, sum up the totality of what a marriage is. The daily weariness, the shared smile across the dinner table, the fist pump at goals achieved, the memories made long ago and often recalled, the dreams of what is to come, the joy of our children, the thoughtfulness of a small gesture, a phone call to check in, the exasperation at the busyness?
And the Hallmark marriage may exist but I think its a rare thing.
I get that selling cards that say "I am so grateful that you pick up your dirty clothes off the floor" or "I love you muffin top as much as I loved you 21 year old body" or "Inbox me your calendar and I will facebook you about a time we can have dinner" might not sell.....but they might be closer to the truth.
I should have made a card......I should have said what my Facebook status says now..... that through all that the last 21 years has brought us, the good, the marvelous, the wondrous, the hurt, the pain, the disappointment, the agony, the high points, the low ones..... that even with what I know now.....that that 21 year old girl could not have even dreamed of or imagined....that I would say "I do" again.
I Nicola Lesley Byres take you Allan Wray Byres by the hand, and with a kiss, and look forward together to whatever the years ahead hold.
Yes I do.