When I was dating in college, I never made it past a six-month relationship. I had one relationship where the guy was just too cocky. Another where it felt like we were buddies and not boyfriend/girlfriend material. And yet another where his drug-use was the deal-breaker. I always found one or more qualities about the guy that were just too egregious to overlook.
In one past relationship, the guy was just sort of a chump. I made clever jokes and they often went over his head. He didn’t always follow the conversation. He made stupid life choices. I knew I couldn’t handle that for forever.
There was a time in graduate school where I resigned myself to the fact that I would never find someone who wasn’t too annoying/unintelligent/arrogant to marry. I was okay with being picky if it meant I would save myself a lifetime of annoyance. I made up my mind that I might be single forever and I was completely okay with that. Turns out, I was wrong.
When I met my husband, and we had been together just over six months, my mom said I would marry him. I knew she was right. We celebrate 12 married years together on May 15. I used to meet couples and they would tell me they were married 10+ years and I would think, “Wow, they are really doing this marriage thing.” And now here I am.
Recently I was driving in the car with my husband and we were discussing the fact that he recognizes it is important to me he name why he is sorry when we are in an argument. He knows I must see that he understands why I am upset before I feel as if I can truly forgive him.
The conversation went something like this:
Husband: See, over the years I’ve learned that you really need to know why I am apologizing. You want to know why I am sorry. You’re lucky I am as smart as I am to intuit this about you.
Me: You’re right.
Husband: A less smart man wouldn’t have caught on to that . . .
Me: (without missing a beat) I wouldn’t have married a less smart man.
My husband laughed so hard it almost startled me. He appreciated my quick wit in that moment, and I appreciated that he appreciated my humor. It’s true, though. A less smart man wouldn’t have made it past the six-month mark in our relationship. I have the data to prove it.
Our marriage hasn’t been a piece of cake, but it hasn’t been rocky either. We rarely argue and even if we do, it is usually over something minor that has hurt one or the other’s feelings (I hurt his feelings this week, and we went to bed not speaking each other). We genuinely enjoy each other’s company (we knew it already, but we confirmed this again in 2020 — hello quarantine!). In him, I have partner. He views me as an equal. I see all the wonderful qualities he provides to our kids as a father. We have fun together and can make the stupidest situations fun. Thank God!
I used to wonder if I would actually like my husband after we had been married for so many years. Would we get into a rut and just sort of live our lives side-by-side on the same path but not together? Would we grow apart and lose our love along the way somehow? Would he get sick of my antics and decide I wasn’t worth it? These are all things I honestly wondered and worried about. He would tell you that was ridiculous, but I am in the part of my life where fewer friends are getting married and having babies . . . and more friends are getting divorced. People I love are experiencing the hurt of a broken marriage, and although I don’t think anyone sets out for this to happen, it does happen.
By the grace of God we haven’t arrived in that place. However, does he annoy me? Daily. Does he hurt my feelings? Sometimes. But, guess what? I like him more now than I did when I married him. I love him more now than I did when I married him. Our relationship has aged well, like a fine wine. We aren’t in a rut — although there are times where we’ve needed to be intentional about swerving our car away from marriage potholes. We haven’t grown apart. We’ve grown closer. He hasn’t gotten sick of me, yet. And I’m certain I’ve charmed him enough that he will never get sick of me (all part of the plan, sucker!).
I like that he . . .
- Has an ability talk to anyone he meets and make them feel truly listened to.
- Has a trucker hat that says “Geek” and he wears it proudly.
- That he has these tiny laugh lines beginning to carve into the skin around his eyes and small crowds of gray hair dancing in his beard.
- That he will turn to me on a road trip and ask a question like, “What would we do if a zombie apocalypse happened right now?”
- He asks me how my day was fully knowing he will get the “long version” and yet he still genuinely wants to know.
- That he has hobbies like board games and reading and he shares those with me.
- That he is humble enough to lovingly apologize and ask for my forgiveness when he knows he should.
For all of these reasons and more, he is my person. Despite his flaws, he is my person.
Marriage isn’t easy, and it takes work. We know this already. And I know I am one of the lucky ones. Not all of my friends have as smooth of a ride as I have had in marriage. But I also know that we all chose “our person” for a lot of amazing reasons that can be hard to see through the cloudiness that can be created by work, parenthood, bills, etc. Even reminding yourself and your partner why you chose each other can be lost in the scheduled tasks and events of the week.
So, if it turns out you like your partner too, take some time today to think about why you love and appreciate your partner. Maybe give them an extra snuggle, grab their butt while they’re doing something in the kitchen, buy them their favorite treat, or give them an unexpected compliment. But do it quick, before they annoy you or one of the kids needs something because we all know that is inevitable.
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