I am in love with my husband.
Someone once told me that they didn't see how we ever got together. Others say we are two peas in a pod. I think of their comments the way Georgia O'Keefe saw the remarks of her contemporaries when they said her paintings were very sexual. She said something like "I think what they see says more about them than about my work". Maybe it is the same here. People see someone else's marriage and they try to imagine plugging themselves into the situation they see, but that would be a completely different marriage. No one really gets to see the inner workings of a marriage but the two people involved. I am so blessed to be one of those two people in this particular marriage.
I married my Sweetheart, and at the time, I had no idea how really wonderful he was. Now I am sort of blown away by him.I met my husband in high school. No, it's not what you're thinking. We barely knew each other. He was a shy boy who quietly ate his lunch every day with other kids from our church. We apparently signed each other's year books back then, but didn't realize it til we'd been married a year. "Sorry I didn't get to know you better." "I'm sure you'll have a great future." we wrote. We had no idea.
We re-met, really met, 8 years later when I returned from a mission. I had been home one week when I saw Guy at a dance. My mom had forced my brother (who got home two days before I did) and I to go to the New Years Eve young adult dance, and we were terrified. We had, after all, been at arms length from all members of the opposite sex for 18 months in my case, two years in his. Now we would be expected to be held in the arms of a stranger, in the dark, for up to 4 minutes at a shot. Freaky. Then I saw him on the dance floor. Guy had changed a lot since high school, and I was drawn to him. Oh, and he was really, really cute.
We danced. No, not that night at the dance, but for the next several months we danced around the attraction we had for each other. We were "just friends". When he finally asked me out, I thought he was joking. I laughed. (Seriously, I laughed, and he thought I was letting him down easy). It took a month for me to get him to ask me out again.
He made me dinner. Not dinner... he made me a feast. He spent two days cooking a meal from Finland, where he had been on his mission. It was amazing. At the end of the night, I stood in the kitchen with him, washing the dishes. (The other day someone asked me when I knew. I think that might have been the moment.) We moved through the kitchen, washing, drying, stacking, joking, standing close enough to touch. It was like we had been doing it for years. I could see my future reflecting back at me from the clean copper bottom pots and 70's Correlle ware plates.
After having dated for a month, Guy still had not kissed me. My mother began asking, "Has he kissed you yet?" My friends, my sister, everyone began asking, "Has he kissed you yet?" My mother seemed almost worried, as though this lack of lip action was a personal slight to her that this young man didn't want to kiss her daughter. I admit, I was beginning to worry a little, too. Maybe this wasn't going where I thought it was.
One night, a night that I frankly didn't feel particularly smootchy, I came out with it. "Why haven't you kissed me yet?" I asked. He looked a little surprised, and then, recovering, settled in to give his answer. "Well, because I want the next person I kiss to be the person I spend the rest of my life with."
Gulp. Wow. Good enough for me.
When, on a warm summer night, as we said goodnight under the old oak tree where my car was parked in front of his folk's house, he leaned in and kissed me, I knew exactly what it meant.
Guy had to leave for work in Japan (now, this is not a joke) as a magician's assistant in a high-tech magic show. He was gone for six weeks. I wrote to him everyday in a journal, and faxed the pages to him every few days. He did the same for me.
When Guy got home I was already in Utah for my last year at BYU. He didn't even unpack, but booked a flight and moved to Utah. A month later, while slow dancing to our song on a carpet of paper hearts, under toilet-paper streamers, he asked if I would make him the happiest man in the world by marrying him. Now, how could resist that?
Guy takes care of me. He doesn't seem to mind how scattered I am or that I forget things a lot. He pretends not to notice when the house looks like Armageddon, and if I apologize about the mess he says "You are taking care of our children, the house isn't a mess, it's lived in." He still cooks dinner, almost every night, a fact I try not to flaunt in front of my friends. It would be like dancing around someone in a wheelchair. I usually do the dishes now, but I consider it more than a fair trade.
I had to learn a long time ago that manipulative female tactics like tears and pouting don't work with Guy, so I had to grow up and learn to communicate. Still working on that one.
He listens. Once, when I had been talking and talking and talking about some problem I was struggling with, I became frustrated that he had no advice or comment. "Why aren't you saying anything?!" I demanded. "I've learned that if you talk long enough, you usually figure it out for yourself." he sincerely replied. At first I was upset, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was giving me what he knew I needed.
And he does that a lot. I have been able to explore areas in my life that I never would have without his support. He loves my creative side and cares about my worries. We are not perfect at all, but there is a gentleness in our friendship that I love so much. I hate conflict, and so does he. When a tiff arises between us, we usually keep to ourselves for a while till we are calm and can take responsibility for our own crap, if ya' know what I mean. Some folks think you gotta bash it all out, review the play-by-play of each other's wrong moves til someone cries uncle (or in my case, just cries). I guess that works for them. I'd rather stuff my ego in my pocket with my stuborn pride and see him smile sooner, I think.
When we were first married, one of us, I can't remember who, gave the other a card. It went something like this: "I stayed up all night composing a poem for you that truly expresses my love, devotion and appreciation for you. OK, are ya' ready? Here goes... "Yes indeedy, you're my Sweetie." Fourteen years later it is our mantra. Maybe it's too simple, but I am happy with him, and he seems pretty happy with me. On our last anniversary we laughed as we opened each other's cards... they were the same. The funniest part was that I had chosen mine 4 months before. Yep, we're two peas in a pod, I think. Plumper peas these days than we used to be, but the pod is very cozy.
Tonight we spent 90 agonizing minutes in a Super-Walmart with our four tired children buying romantic things like wipes and cheese sticks. We held hands all the way home.
As we unloaded the van of weary, hungry kidlets and a dozen white plastic bags, he handed me a couple of "essentials" I had requested that night. "Here ya' go, dear, one large bag of bird seed and one toilet seat." he smiled. "Do I love you or what?"