I have a confession to make: My memory isn’t as good as my track record would have you believe. Every meeting, birthday, anniversary or major milestone that I appear to recall like clockwork is all due to my trusty iCalendar. I put any- and everything in there, including the day I hung up my Single Man All-Star Jersey and asked the future Mrs. to be my first official girlfriend over 10 years.
I can tell you all the specifics of that day and how I spent four-plus weeks planning out the particulars of how, when and where I was going to stop playing around and begin my journey towards settling down. But ever since jumping the broom, the actual date of when she agreed to accept me back in her good graces tends to get overlooked. In the grand scheme of things, the day we became husband and wife has trumped the day we became simply boyfriend and girlfriend—as it should. But does that make me a bad former boyfriend turned husband?
As newlyweds, people tend to ask us the same list of questions, including “how long have you been married?” The Mrs. and I can answer that almost without thinking because January 14, 2012 is etched into our collective memory. But when asked how long we dated prior to getting married, things get a bit jumbled. There was that period where we were just “talking,” then when we weren’t. Sometime after that we were in a grey area, and finally an official couple that eventually began shacking up before I popped the question. She said yes and we got hitched.
While I know my wife and I dated for two years before deciding to get married, when it comes to commemorating the anniversary of becoming a couple, we tend to draw a blank. We can both recall the date when we applied some real thought to it, but most times it just gets lost in the shuffle of celebrating our marital bliss.
This is all in contrast to how I was in my earlier relationships. Back in high school, I was so concerned with being a good boyfriend that I wrote down every possible milestone so my then-girlfriend couldn’t catch me off guard. I celebrated everything from the anniversary of our first kiss and first date to when I said “I love you.” And it wasn’t just annually. I’d surprise her with reminders of the one-month, three-month and six-month mark as well.
Needless to say, remembering all those milestones became daunting, and as I became more experienced in dating, I scaled back to what was important. Prior to getting married, the day my wife and I became a couple fit that description. But making the ultimate commitment to each other has almost made that date obsolete.
According to my iCalendar, September 20 will mark four years that the Mrs. and I have officially been together. What do we have planned? At this moment, absolutely nothing, other than getting on a plane to witness one of our favorite couples join the Life Partner Gang (#NoStevieJ) for their wedding.
We’ll probably use the trip to acknowledge how long we’ve been an item, but last year we probably wouldn’t have remembered if my iPhone alarm didn’t go off. As time goes on, the specific date that marks our coupledom will likely become less important than how long we’ve actually been together. And chances are our wedding day will continue to be our most important celebration. Because let’s face it: most of us would rather be reminded of how long we’ve been a husband or wife than how long we were just someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend.
Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.