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february 24, 2011

What gets better with age?

Marriage.

Dave and I got married young.  He asked me to marry him on a whim, after we’d only known each other a month.  I think that we were surprised to find that I’d actually said yes.  We were even more surprised to find ourselves walking down the aisle several months later, the parents of two kids shortly after that, then owners of two cars, two cats, two dogs and a mortgage.

Marriage is hard even when it’s at its best, and we weren’t very good at it in the beginning.  On paper, Dave & I probably don’t make a lot of sense.  Our backgrounds were very different, our educations varied widely and we have little in common when it comes to movies, television shows, music or books.  He’s the writer, I’m the reader.  Dave is neat, methodical and calm.  I tend to drop things when I come in the door, and lose interest in things half-way through…there are a lot of unfinished projects lying around our home…all mine.  He can concentrate on something for hours, while I sit plinking away on my laptop, tweeting, facebooking, blogging, catching up on news headlines, and watching television.

When it comes to our kids, Dave is the easy-going one.  Both kids know that Dad can be played.  He’s the one they go to when they want something.  I think that I’ve finally got him wise enough to refer them back to me.  They know better to try to con me, ’cause I ain’t buyin’.   Dave is the “Hero,” and I’m the “Enforcer.”

I am the hot-head, while Dave is a slow burn.

We fight.  Of course, we fight.  Actually, we argue all of the time.  I think that we’ve come to view it as an Olympic sport, and we’re the gold medalists.  It drives our cousins and our kids nuts; but, we never get ugly or say things that we’ll regret.  That’s one rule that we’ve always kept to hard and fast…never say something unless you really mean it.  You can’t unring the bell, so don’t toss words around carelessly.  There are boundaries for our bickering.  We think it’s funny.  Most people don’t get the joke.  I’m sure that we come off like “The Honeymooners.”

And yet, this year, we’ll celebrate our nineteenth wedding anniversary.  It’s not one of those big milestone anniversaries; but, it feels like a biggie, with all that we’ve gone through in the past year.

We’ve grown up together.  One of the nicest things to discover, after all of these years, is that when we get time alone, we still talk a mile a minute.  We have common goals for ourselves and for our kids.  And we actually like each other. 

Tonight, as we stood in line together, waiting to pick up dinner, Dave placed his hand at the small of my back.  With that touch, all of the worry for our family, stress from my job, everything that had been weighing on my heart, melted away.  I leaned into him, and closed my eyes.   That moment crystallized the feelings that I so often have a hard time expressing.  I can’t imagine being without this man. 

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