Awhile back a blog friend commented on something I said here about my husband. I believe I said I adore my husband, and she commented that she was happy to hear that, because she wasn't always sure that she believed in true love any more. That blog friend is in her late twenties. I have to say that when I was in my late twenties, I had been married for ten years, and I wasn't sure I believed in true love anymore either by then.
When I was seventeen, I decided that I hated dating. It made me feel completely disrespected and disheartened. I kept seeing very unattractive attributes in young men. One lied about me to my friends. One believed those lies. One threatened me with a gun.
I started praying about it, and asking for a particular kind of person to come into my life. I didn't have marriage in mind at that time, I just didn't want to keep having unpleasant dating experiences. Within a month or so, I met Carey.
What made me fall for him?
...On our first date, I had to drop by my sister's house to borrow some baking utensils so I could bake my roommate a birthday cake. On our second date, he approached my door with a hand behind his back, and when I answered the door he brought it out and handed me a spatula with a ribbon tied around the handle. I thought it was the most romantic gift I'd ever been given. :)
...We'd been dating about a week when he came over to change a flat on my car before work.
...About a week after that, my mother was going into the hospital for surgery. I was telling him that my sisters and I all had conflicts and couldn't drive her to the hospital which was an hour away. He volunteered! When they got to the hospital, he helped my mother out of the truck, and he carried her suitcase into the hospital and made sure she got checked in before he left. At which point the nurse said to my mother, "You have a very nice son." My mother said, "He's not my son, he's my daughter's new boyfriend." The nurse said, "I think he's a keeper." (She was right!)
...One time we were driving down the street, and he saw one of his co-worker's car parked at a bar. He said, "I don't understand why he's there, when he has a wife and little children at home."
...Once he was watching Bugs Bunny cartoons, and he laughed at it over and over, and I found it so enchanting that I remember thinking that I could listen to that laugh for the rest of my life. (I have been!)
We were married within a year.
Now, I have to say that that's when things got difficult. Living with someone else is the hardest thing I have ever undertaken. He came from a very traditional family where his father was THE boss. I came from a family where my father was sorely outnumbered by females, and my mom was the one in command. Can you say culture clash?
What I have noticed is that marriage is cyclical. When everything has been going smoothly for awhile, you will hit a pothole that knocks the whole thing out of alignment, and it takes a great deal of patience and work and time to make it run smoothly again. The potholes come along about every four or five years for us...and they aren't necessarily big events...maybe just a lack of effort or communication.
I am not one of those people who claims to be married to her best friend. I think that we need best friends so we have someone to complain to about our spouses. (And for that matter, I would never say that either of my children are my best friend either. I wouldn't want to saddle them with that responsibility. They need best friends of their own to complain to about ME!)
Neither do I believe in 'soul mates' or that there is only one love for each person. I'm not even sure that love is the most important thing in a relationship. I'm pretty sure that respect and honor and caring and humor has gotten us a lot further than love alone would have. But love is the reward.
And today we've been sharing that reward for 34 years.