This is not about Vegas, baby.

Vegas nightFriday night our friend Steve celebrated his 28th birthday.

While certainly in theory a five-year age difference means nothing, in practice it’s something altogether because people in their 20s still do things like go out on a Friday night to celebrate their birthdays. The majority of those I know who are in their mid-to-late 30s all view Friday nights as a delicious respite from people. Well, with the exception of those people who deliver us our weekly orders of basil chicken and crab rangoon.

Friday nights are made for Thai food and couch riding.

But my husband has always been much more open and pliable, plus he doesn’t wrestle with an ornery thyroid that frequently exhausts him. He can handle plans on Friday nights, and in recent years it’s made him, I don’t know, sad, I guess, that I’m never up for joining him on these evenings where people are gathering for cocktails, karaoke and conversation.

They say marriage is about compromise, and one of the things you learn rather quickly is that it’s never about the compromise you assume they were talking about when they said marriage was about compromise. You think it’s about where you’ll go eat, or with whose family you’ll spend Thanksgiving this year, or even which couch you’ll buy—leather or fabric? Sectional or sleeper? Those issues to which we find ourselves compromising are more subtle, and they sneak up on you, mostly because you never thought you’d have to give much thought as to whether or not your partner would care that you absolutely hate going out on Fridays and would just as soon stay home than go out to a bar. You did that when you were in your 20s, and didn’t have a thyroid problem or a job where you worked 10 hours a day or have a really cute golden retriever to come home to. That’s thing about marriage and compromise—it is all about those little decisions that add up to the collective happiness of the team, and it’s usually the decisions that truly do cause you discomfort and sadness in a way you don’t think you should have to sacrifice.

Especially if you love basil chicken and sleep as much as I do.

To no one’s shock or dismay, we’ve been driving each other bat shit crazy. Buying a house is stressful as all get out, and then you add on top of that our work schedules, our baby making, my goofed up thyroid and all of the general life stuff, it has a tendency to wear you down to the nub. We have actually had to have that conversation that goes,”OK. I am tired of all of this fighting so the next time we start in on each other we are just going to have to say ‘pause’ so it doesn’t get out of hand.” This weekend seemed to be a good opportunity to say pause, if you will, and so I decided to go out on a Friday night.

For three hours, we had a couple of cocktails—I had a vodka and soda, followed by just club soda, he had a couple of beers, including some 100-calorie beer that they have no right calling beer, and that’s what happens when you order the $2 “mystery beer.” You end up drinking swill.—and then my husband not once, but twice brought the room to its feet with his karaoke styling. He sang “Stroking” and subbed out “you” or “I” for Steve, and then did a rendition of “Proud Mary” where he also did the splits mid-way through. And it’s pretty amazing and thrilling to watch, because he’s both a really great singer and a really great performer, which is what all good karaoke requires. I know I’m biased, but you can ask anyone who was there—men came up to him to shake his hand afterward, young girls giggled and two of them actually came up to him and said they “had” to meet him and become friends with him, which of course was code for them covering up their actual intention of coming over to flirt with him until, once they got there, they saw him hungrily wrap his arms around me and give me a long, hard kiss and understand he was taken.

As he finished up “Proud Mary,” and I watched from the back, it of course dawned on me that I could have missed all this, seeing him so happy and having so much fun that he could barely contain it all. And how sad would that have been for me, especially knowing what I know now, which is that I will remember how happy and relaxed he was that night for the rest of my life. When you marry someone you passionately, completely, madly love, you live for them being happy. You really do. It doesn’t mean you don’t stop being selfish once in a while, just that when you stop yourself in the middle of a moment, and you realize you’re busting out the seams with joy, it’s usually because the person you love is experiencing that sort of happiness, too.

Saturday night we went to our friends’ house for a casino-themed party they’d won. Real tables, a professional dealer, the whole nine yards. Scott had expressed a desire to get really dressed up and, as usual, I expressed an interest in not doing that at all. But at some point between shaving my legs and rinsing the conditioner out of my hair, I changed my mind and as soon as I stepped out of the shower, I brought out my wedding dress and decided that it was as good of an excuse as any to wear it. I even did my hair. We had so much fun Saturday night that we nearly lost track of time.

Next month we will celebrate our one-year anniversary. I can barely believe it’s already been a year.

The very sad truth is that in my head I’ve been recounting the first year of my first marriage, and remembering how long before we’d even made it to a month before our first anniversary I knew we’d never have a second one. Technically we did, but we’d split up months before that, and we opted to wait until after the holidays to divorce. And I’m not comparing my first marriage to my current one, but it seems unfathomable to me that anything but death would keep us from celebrating a 30-year anniversary together. A friend of ours is getting remarried, and Scott mentioned to him that we approach problem solving completely different than we did in our first marriages, and it’s made our marriage that much more fulfilling. Our friend agreed, and said he and his fiance don’t raise their voices to each other at all. To which my husband replied, “Oh, we raise our voices at each other all of the time, but that’s because we’re a couple of hotheads.”

I don’t really know what my purpose is here. I went out on Friday, got dressed up on Saturday, because I want to make it to our 30-year anniversary. I am all too keenly aware of what happens when you stop making the effort for that person you love, and there isn’t enough crab rangoon in the world that’s worth losing what we are building together. And that seems like a given, but surprisingly, it’s not. And with our anniversary just weeks away, I’m grateful to have what we have, and that next Friday we’ll be cuddled up on our couch, watching Law & Order reruns until it’s time to go to bed.