On Marriage

There is a tall, wooden pepper grinder that sits in our kitchen.

I’ve never refilled the pepper grinder. In fact, before joining forces with Ryan, I’d never owned one. But when I scramble my eggs, it's there ready to season my food. It dispenses perfectly ground, fresh pepper—just like at your favorite Italian restaurant. Sometimes when I make crude dinners that require 3 ingredients or less, I pick up the pepper grinder and think, “When did I become so fancy!”

This kitchen tool also magically refills itself. It’s never empty; it’s always reliable. The same rules apply to our bar: It’s as though a liquor fairy comes in the night and blesses us with the finest whiskeys and gins.

But, of course, there is no fairy and the pepper grinder does not possess any special powers. Ryan restocks the bar and refills the pepper. He does a lot of little things I don’t always appreciate until he’s not by my side. Ryan has slowly snuck into my world, and I would be devastated if one day the pepper grinder was not full because he wasn’t there to do it.

Becoming codependent is a heartbreaking process—quite literally. The comfort and adoration you receive from “your person” chips away at the muscle beating inside of your chest, until little pieces of it crumble off. With a mix of work and love, those pieces are then gone forever; you’ve given them away eternally.

Sometimes when I look at that pepper grinder, I get irrationally anxious. What if Ryan was gone? I’ve already offered up my heart pieces! What if Ryan dies in a plane crash? What if my love is hard to reciprocate? What if an AC unit falls on his head? What if, what if, what if…

Getting married makes you think of your whole life’s timeline, from birth until death. You begin to fear loss more fervently because you have stretched your concept of love. While I have come to the conclusion that looking at the pepper grinder and feeling anxious is not-so-healthy, I would argue my fears are not irrational.

But that’s the whole point.
That’s everything.

Devoting your life to a partnership is supposed to be a humbling, life changing process, and I’m so excited to have my little heart destroyed.

Ryan, thank you for always refilling the pepper grinder.
Thank you for being reliable, patient, and loving.
You’ve broken my heart in the best way imaginable.

britney fitzgerald ryan nugent engaged

PS: I hear these feelings only get worse when you have kids. Thank God we're absolutely not there yet.

Do whatever comes your way to do as well as you can. Think as little as possible about yourself. Think as much as possible about other people. Dwell on things that are interesting. Since you get more joy out of giving joy to others, you should put a good deal of thought into the happiness that you are able to give.
— Eleanor Roosevelt