Each wedding anniversary is associated with a particular type of gift/material such as gold, leather, silver, etc. For the fifth wedding anniversary, it is wood and it is a very fitting material for this small milestone.
We build houses, furniture and even make jewelry out of wood. When properly carved, adorned and maintained or left to grow in its natural state, it is the epitome of strength and beauty. When neglected, it gets dry, dusty, maybe even cracked and broken. Too much whittling will literally make it disappear and too much water can actually drown a tree’s roots.
As my husband and I acknowledge our fifth wedding anniversary today, I’m thinking about the symbolism in this material. I’m also thinking about the tattoo on the small of my back. (Yes, I have a “tramp stamp,” but shut up! It’s meaningful damn it.) It is an adinkra symbol from Ghana called the sankofa. It is about the importance of remembering and learning from the past. Our marriage is five years old (together for a total of seven years), so of course in that time we’ve created many memories and have grown and changed as individuals and as a couple. Forever is a lot longer than five years and there are many more memories to make, but here are five things I’ve learned or been reminded of as a marriage rookie:
1.Constant Effective Communication is Key
Effective communication is critical for the function of any healthy relationship, yet it can be very difficult at times. Getting lazy with this leads to problems. Guaranteed. Being perceptive and truly listening (not just waiting to talk) are important parts of this.
2. Love Breeds Creativity
We have come up with some dope gift/date ideas for eachother. Like what, you ask? Well, like hubby getting us a private tour of the Detroit Zoo complete with us feeding giraffes by hand (they like bagels) or the outrageously awesome first year of marriage scrapbook I made for our first anniversary. There have been many other beautiful moments, but those are for us to enjoy between the two of us, which leads to the next thing…
3. Some Things are for the Couple Only
In today’s digital-obsessed world, it’s understandable to want to share every little bit of your relationship because it’s so easy and you get immediate feedback. Resist this urge. It’s totally normal to vent to your close friends when a major setback has occurred and of course you want to gush when you get movie-level romance, but don’t telegraph to the world (or even your close friends) every single relationship issue. Setting up your spouse as a saint or the devil is just that…setting him up. Let him be human and let your relationship grow in its own special way. Have secrets between just the two of you.
4. Never Stop Flirting
I have never understood people who get married and immediately “let themselves go.” A wedding is just the beginning of a story, it’s not the end. You didn’t “win.” This is a marathon, baby. I think it’s important to keep flirting with your spouse and to keep being the type of person (physically and emotionally) who is on the receiving end of flirtation.
5. Enjoy the Moments
This really goes for life in general, but it certainly applies to marriage too. We can all get so caught up in working, planning and taking care of things that we forget to bask in the moments of togetherness. Love the love! Be present.
If our five-year wood were a physical manifestation, I imagine it would be some kooky unexpected shape with beautiful lines, natural imperfections and most of all, it would be created with love. That’s the most important part.