The Hubs and I celebrate thirteen years of marriage today. We started dating in college and got married right after. These long years – yes, LONG – we’ve grown up together. What started as two best friends with everything in common and a deep desire to snuggle grew into a need to spend ’til death do us part, which blossomed into a life together.
I had no idea what I was signing up for. I pictured marriage as this idyllic world in which we would run around naked and sweep dishes off tables and frolic. It turns out that after the wedding, you still have jobs and bosses and you don’t really want to sweep those dishes off the table, because you just got them for your wedding and they’re the only dishes you have.
Instead of naked frolicking, I discovered that I had to share a bathroom with a boy, and he was grosser than I was (He might contest this.). I tried to surprise him with tofu, and he didn’t think it was awesome. We didn’t have a plan for who did what, so we both did nothing, and I’m sure at some point we violated some health codes somewhere as the garbage and dirty dishes piled up.
We’ve grown so much and developed a rhythm together over the years. I find myself thinking back to the early days of our relationship.
Nineteen months of engagement. (For anyone attempting to “wait till marriage,” I don’t recommend this engagement length. I had a countdown clock. I really needed a full-body chastity belt.)
Y2K. (The prayer of the Christian girl trying to wait till marriage: “Dear God, please don’t let Y2K be the end. Please let me have sex before Jesus comes back.” Uh, this statement needs a whole post, a whole series.)
Cleveland wedding reception. (In Avengers, Loki walked down the stairs where we shot our pictures. I might’ve died a little from happiness.)
Trilogy Tuesday. (LOTR fans know what I’m talking about. This was a legendary day for all who love Middle Earth. And yes, yes, I do realize that I just rated that up there with my wedding reception.)
Touring Italy on what we thought was our last fling before kids. (Five years later…still flinging, but not fun flinging, IVF needle flinging.)
7-11 slushies while watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (He calls me a cheap date. All it takes is a slushie and some Joss Whedon to keep me smiling.)
The early memories segued into the dark years of infertility, then parenting our floppy little preemie, then adoption and falling in love with Africa and each other all over again.
We’re entering a new phase, and I can’t quite pinpoint it yet, but you know when your life is on the cusp of something? It makes me look back at all our years of us.
It isn’t easy, this marriage thing, but it’s good. I always say that I didn’t want to get married; I wanted to marry him. It was him, and who we were, who we are together, that make this thing worth forging. Sweat, tears, and more tears. Talking things out into the wee hours and both of us refusing to back down until the force of our arguments and our love meld into humility soup and we hug and love deeper than we did before.
Always working. Every day. This marriage is a full-time job, paid in kisses, memories, and a future. We are better together than apart, and to honor my best friend for thirteen years of marriage, here are 13 things I love about my husband.
1. He always believes the best in others and challenges me to that standard. Whenever I start off about something someone did or said, he stops me and helps me see things from a different perspective. This is also his most annoying trait. Maybe I don’t want to grow as a person….
2. He and I use humor as a coping strategy. No matter how hard things get, we make each other laugh. Sometimes the harder life is, the harder we’re laughing, and his deep blue, sleep-deprived eyes crinkle in the corner when he chortles.
3. Same taste in movies. Same. Taste. In. Movies. I thought this was normal, but I’ve realized that this is a gift, to love someone who loves the same genre. We have entire conversations made of movie quotes.
4. He’s always honest with me. When he tells me not to post something, to change a title, or to change my shoes, I listen…usually.
5. He plays with my hair while I fall asleep.
6. He has my back when the kids try to play us off each other and doesn’t fall for our daughter’s long, batting eyelashes and startlingly realistic fake tears.
7. Great butt.
8. He challenges me to work harder and dream bigger. This blog exists because of him. If not for his help and encouragement, I’d be journaling in a notebook.
9. His favorite color is orange. It’s the first thing that sparked my interest in him (my favorite color, too), and to this day, we have orange dishes and an orange sofa. Orange is the color of our creativity. As an artist, he speaks my language of color and texture. When I came home with a new sweater last year, he said, “Oh! Tango Orange! That’s the Pantone Color of the Year!”
10. He’s the most generous person I know. He gives his time, his talent, and his money without thinking, without second-guessing. He just gives. His generosity has challenged and changed my heart.
11. He’s my partner. He wields a strong opinion, but then he lays it down, listens to his bride, and hears me. And I do the same for him.
12. He’s a man of integrity. He lives his life, runs his business, and handles his relationships with integrity and humility. He seeks to honor God in everything.
13. He uses his words. He listens and communicates better than any man I’ve ever met. He’s incredible at talking. My favorite thing to do is just hang out and have conversations with him, and he’s really gifted at working through conflict, which is why we’re still married today. We have plenty of conflict, but we just. keep. talking.
I know, right? What a guy. These are just a few of the things I love about my lover. Your turn. What are some things you love about yours?