our 20th anniversary: what’s to celebrate?

When my husband told his therapist that I didn’t want to celebrate our anniversary this year, the therapist was surprised. After all, that’s why I stopped going to therapy, I was doing so much better and didn’t need his weekly help. But doing somewhat well as an individual and wanting to celebrate our anniversary as a joyous occasion are two different things. I am pleased at the progress my husband is making, but I don’t feel a party-like atmosphere is in order. I am pleased at how well I am healing, but I don’t feel the need to exchange gifts. I told my husband that what I want can’t be purchased.

So my 20th wedding anniversary came and went quietly last week without a trip to Europe like I always thought we would take. We were out of town, at my parents’ home in sunny southern California. I had told my husband all month long that I didn’t want to celebrate our anniversary. I didn’t want a gift, didn’t want to go anywhere, didn’t want it mentioned really. (I was afraid my parents would wonder why we chose not to celebrate it so I did bake a cake in our honor, or at least that’s what I told them.)

Since our anniversary is at the very end of the year it’s always been kind of a ‘reckoning’ moment for me. Usually on my anniversary I look back on the last calendar year and think about all the great things that my husband and I were able to accomplish. I like to think about all the blessings we have and how we have grown as a couple. We always talk about our wedding day in Los Angeles. How hot it was for December; how there were 29 other couples on school break getting married that day; how we were the last couple to get married at high noon; how they closed the temple and I had to change out of my wedding dress in the visitor’s center tiny bathroom; how fun it was to go out to lunch, all alone, as husband and wife in Puente Hills while our families got the church ready for our reception.

But not this year’s anniversary. This was the year where I was robbed of all those good memories. This was the year where I stopped saying, and will never say again, “we really do have the best marriage, we are the best of friends.” I really was looking forward to turning 40 in the year 2014; it seemed like a hallmark of all the good in my life. But then in June it all shattered and I learned my husband had been a porn addict our entire marriage. All of it.

And as 2014 came to an end and all my friends who also married in December wrote lovely tributes on Facebook to their spouses I thought of my own imaginary post. “Happy 20th anniversary to my sweetheart; marriage is indeed hard but we love each other and we aren’t divorced yet.” But who wants to read that.

Here’s to my 21st year of marriage. May it be just a smidge better.

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Posted on January 6, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Oh I wish you would’ve written that! So glad I got to read it here though. Classic.

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    • AnneGirl you have no idea how loooong I thought about putting up some kind of post on Facebook. At the very least I wanted to write: “Goodbye 2014, the most miserable horrific, pain filled year of my life.” I just think it’s important not to put up an air of perfection but at the same time it’s more important to honor the privacy of our families.

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  2. Your feelings are so relatable! It sometimes feels like a mourning rather than a celebration. Sometimes I wonder if, in the next few years as my marriage gets better, picking a new anniversary date would be better? Like, pick the day I truly feel like my husband humbles himself and shares his deep sorrow for bringing this pain and deception into our marriage. Then celebrate that each year? Stinks being betrayed.

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    • Allimaude i like the idea of picking a new date to celebrate. My husband did ask me on our anniversary if he feels like he tricked me into marrying him. Trick isn’t the word I would use because that show’s calculated deceit. He just didn’t know what was up with his behavior. At the very he should have told me.

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      • It’s such a hard question to ask. I truly believe my husband had no clue, in fact I don’t think he really was in the addiction until after we were married. I think that my focus is on rebuilding and hope.

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  3. I enjoy your blog. I can relate. Hubby revealed a 25 year addiction to me last year with 17 of those years married to me. I had no clue! Unfortunately for me, his addiction escalated to adultery and now I have to deal with that too. So, I guess in your case, be glad that it was only pornography and if your husband is actively trying to recover, be grateful. It could be worse! In the meantime, hang in there and try and love him the best you can as long as he is treating you kindly and with respect.

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    • victoria thank you for your kind words. It was so unbelievably hard me to accept that his 30 year addiction never escalated to acting out with women. I am so sorry that your situation is indeed worse. But I have decided that pain is pain. Your in pain, I am in pain, I don’t know that pain can be measured as worse than anybody else’s pain. Honestly it’s the lies that hurts worse than the actions.

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  4. I am glad you could honor your feelings and not celebrate if you didn’t want to. I so feel sad that you have to do that, and that you can’t enjoy celebrating being married. I heard my voice in yours when you mentioned the last time you.believed you were the best of friends and had the best marriage. Heavy and sad. Here’s to a better 2015, my prayers go with you!

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  5. I hope that you bought yourself some china or something platinum— the traditional 20th anniversary gifts. You deserve it!

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  6. He knows all my sorrows

    I can so relate. We haven’t even gotten to the stage where he accepts he has even really hurt me yet. It’s been a long time since he disclosed a mess up. Like 9 years but last weekend disclosed he did it for a long time but isn’t now. And….I should believe him? Feel safe? He said he had made arrangements for us to go out next weekend for our anniversary. I am surprised and really don’t feel like celebrating. I can’t celebrate knowingness we don’t even have emotional intimacy. He accuses me of bringing everything down, always making him feel like that old person but I am not ready to go on until we can actually talk about where we’ve been.

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