The other day after posting about my recent vacation, a twitter friend responded that I should write something “good” about my husband for a change. This friend said I had the “he irritates me” thing covered. Really? Is that the impression I give all of you about the totality of my feelings for a man I’ve been with for 20 years? OUCH.
Perhaps it’s because I tend to write when I’m upset or angry or needing to vent or pondering my life’s truths. Maybe it’s because I haven’t written much about him aside from a comment here or there since he’s very private and doesn’t like me sharing too many details of himself. I also write about things I’m still trying to process, like motherhood, or autism, or faith – not that I have marriage all figured out BELIEVE ME but since writing about marital “stuff” might mean sharing things about him (which he doesn’t like), I’ve been staying away from that topic pretty much.
So, let’s call this post a tribute to my wonderful, loving, sensitive, amazing, handsome hard working hubby!
We met when I was beginning to come out of a bad depressive fog. After my divorce I went through some serious soul-searching, one clumsy attempt at a relationship, and another relationship that everyone around me agreed had been a bad idea. This was the totality of my romantic involvement in the FOUR years since my divorce – one almost boyfriend, and one not-so-good boyfriend. I had finally gotten to the point in my life, thanks to a lot of therapy, where I felt that if I never found “that special someone,” if I never got married again, I would be ok. I was starting to like myself. I was content to be alone. Then HE came along.
I was determined to take it slow, after all I wasn’t even looking for a relationship. But pretty soon it was clear that this relationship was more than casual. It felt BIG. Very BIG. And we were tested. I should say, HE was tested. I came with baggage. I had been divorced. I grew up in an abusive home. I was on medication and in therapy. And I was well on the way to being stalked, which eventually became scary for the both of us (I wrote about that here if you’re interested). Being with me was no walk in the park. But his patience and desire to learn about my experiences and be supportive knew no bounds. What man reads a book his girlfriend’s therapist recommends to her, so he can learn and understand what his girlfriend is going through? A wonderful man, that’s who.
That was our beginning. And for 20 years we have been with each other through thick and thin. I’m not saying we haven’t hit bumps in the road. I’m not saying our relationship is perfect (there is NO such thing). I’m not saying we never irritate each other (you hear my side of things, but Lord knows I irritate him too!). What I am saying is that we have a love that recognizes the faults in each other, even speaks them – a love that exists WITH the faults. Are there things I wish I could change about him? Heck yes. Are there things he wishes he could change about me? Oh, most certainly. But we DON’T try to change each other, to make the other into an image that we would create for them, except when health or safety is involved (an example of this was a few years ago when I was in another major depression and he said “Enough. You need to find a doctor and get help.”). We also don’t feel compelled to do everything together. I don’t like sailing. He doesn’t like social media. Yet he is free to go sailing, and I am free to enjoy my internet friends. He has never tried to force sailing on me, and I would never force Facebook or Twitter or this blog on him. He does his thing and I do mine, and we’re ok with that.
On our last day at the beach we had to situate ourselves next to a young couple (it was the only spot big enough for all of us that was near the lifeguards and close to the water – two non-negotiables for me at the beach). She tenderly rubbed sunscreen on his back, and he longingly moved hair away from her face. They giggled and stroked one another and held hands. For a few brief moments I wished hub and I were back in that place again. But I quickly snapped back to reality. It’s nice to have the passion that comes with youth and a new relationship, but I like the place hub and I are in SO much better. The shared history, the comfort of knowing (for the most part) what the other is thinking or feeling, the security of knowing each other’s flaws and shortcomings and loving one another in spite of them, and sometimes because of them. My love has seen my worst and he is still around. Even after birthing three children and how that’s “changed” my body, he looks at me and still wants me. He thinks those changes are wonderful. He thinks I’m beautiful, even when I don’t believe it myself. And as we age together he is still one of the most handsome men I’ve ever seen.
So he may be irritating. He might annoy the heck out of me sometimes. We still have fights – sometimes awful fights. Thankfully though, our fights are few and far between because mostly we are able to talk things out. He is one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, loyal to a fault. He is affectionate, caring, passionate, always worried about those he loves, and strives to find the best in people. I am so grateful he is in my life.