When you’re in a relationship in high school, no one thinks it will actually last. In fact, people will flat out tell you that it won’t last. I’m here to tell you that sometimes, it actually does last. I married my high school sweetheart, and today we celebrate nine years of marriage.
While today is our ninth wedding anniversary, January 7 of this year actually made 15 years that we’ve been together. F i f t e e n years. That’s almost half of our lifetimes. We started dating when I was 16 and Chauncey was 17. I was a sophomore, and he was a junior. We were literally at the forefront of online dating–we went to the same high school, but started chatting over ICQ.haha He asked me to go the movies as friends, and we left as something more. (In case you’re wondering, we watched Catch Me If You Can.) A few nights later, he asked me to be his girlfriend on a late night phone call when we should have been in bed because we had school the next morning:)
There was one EPIC breakup my senior year of high school. It was terrible at the time, but looking back, it’s probably the best thing that ever happened to our relationship, even if it was for all the wrong reasons. It forced us to work through issues that tend to plague high school relationships, and we grew up a little in the process. Don’t worry–we were back together in time for prom:)
Through the years, we’ve been through so much together as a couple. We’ve shared our highest highs and lowest lows. Our relationship has survived college, law school, and grad school. Lord knows if your marriage can survive law school, then it can survive almost anything. We’ve supported each as we’ve built careers. When I say we both started at the bottom and worked our way up, I mean it. Sometimes Chauncey and I talk about how two crazy kids have made it to where we are now. I know that part of that success is due to the support we give each other in chasing our dreams. And we now have two beautiful children. Parenting is a whole other adventure and relationship dynamic to which we had to adjust. While lots of things have changed over the years (I promise Chauncey used to have a full head of hair), the one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to one another. Even our love has changed–it’s much deeper and more mature than when we first said “I love you.”
So how have we made it this long when so many high school couples don’t? Relationships aren’t easy. I don’t care how fiercely you love someone, issues can and will arise. One reason our relationship has survived is because we invest in each other and our relationship. We’ve definitely been through some tough times, and the word divorce has came up more than once. But we work through it and we fight for our relationship and for each other. Take time for date nights and alone time.
The other reason I think our high school romance has survived is because we’ve grown up together. Everyone grows and changes as time goes on. Relationships die if you can’t grow with one another. While some relationships can’t adapt to people changing, that’s all Chauncey and I have every known. Think about it–your teenage years through your early 20s is when you have so much growth and development in who you are as a person. And you never stop growing as a person. Ever. In my opinion, the key to a lasting relationship is that you make sure you grow together, instead of growing apart. Talk to your partner. Find out what their dreams and goals are, even when they don’t always align with your own. Realize that you’re not always going to be on the same page, but you’re still in the same book.
Finally, don’t be jealous or controlling. Be confident enough in your love for one another to where you both can lead full lives. Trust is the cornerstone of your relationship foundation, and without it, your relationship will crumble. Chauncey and I do tons of things together, but we also take time to hang out with our friends on our own. Some nights Chauncey goes out with his friends, and some nights I go out with mine. Notice I said friends and not, “Some nights Chauncey goes out with the boys, and some nights I go out with the girls,” because we have both have friends from across the board.
So the next time someone tells you that young love doesn’t last, tell them that sometimes, it actually does. Happy anniversary, Chauncey!!! I love you and am so lucky to be your wife!