4. He keeps us organized. I’m a total slob. I’m a messy mess. I don’t have the neat gene.
I met my husband almost seven years ago, and we’ve been married for about two and a half of those years. We’ve had some very challenging moments in our relationship, and I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process. And so has my husband. I suppose these 10 reasons are really an ode to our love and commitment to one another.
1. He knows my moods better than I do. In seven years of sharing our lives together, my husband can detect my moods from a mile away. And he always seems to know just what I need. Sometimes it’s a hug. Other times it’s a glass of champagne. I take comfort in knowing that I can be completely myself and that he won’t judge me if I’m feeling grumpy or snarky.
2. He’s the best DJ when I’m cooking. I love to cook and my hubby is a total music geek. From The Clash to Jurassic 5, he appreciates it all. But our tastes in music don’t always intertwine. So I really appreciate it when he pours me a glass of cold Chardonnay and pumps my favorite Mary J. Blige Album (My Life), while I sing “You Bring me Joy” at the top of my lungs. He comes in the kitchen and smiles at me, and says, “You’re so cute, Buttercup.” We hug and then I dance, hoping I can convince him to join me.
3. He never body shames me. When I met my husband, I was about 60 pounds lighter than I am now. From time to time I wonder if he’s still attracted to my size 18 body. I definitely struggle with accepting my larger proportions, but he’s just as affectionate as he was when we first starting dating. He tells me I’m beautiful all the time, and I know he means it. As a body acceptance activist and feminist, it’s hard to admit that my husband’s opinion matters, but it does. Being attracted to one another is part of the partnership. I’m grateful to have a partner who sees my beauty in all its changing forms.
4. He keeps us organized. I’m a total slob. I’m a messy mess. I don’t have the neat gene. He, on the other hand, likes order. And if it weren’t for him, our house would be featured on Hoarders. He spends time every evening organizing this or that while I watch TV. He encourages me develop better habits so that my messes don’t overwhelm me. I haven’t gotten there yet, but he lovingly nudges me, using humor to point out where I can do better. I love that not everything has to be a serious conversation.
5. We check in. For many years I dated someone who was chronically late and never called to give me an update. It drove me bananas and made me feel deeply disrespected. On our first date, my husband was early. I was late, of course! Since then, we’ve made it a habit to check in with each other. If he’s going to be late, I get a text or a call. I’m a total worry wart, so when he texts me “xoxo” while at a Dodgers game, I’m reassured that he hasn’t been in a car accident. It’s these little acts of love that make me appreciate his loving spirit.
6. He encourages me to relax. I have fibromyalgia and arthritis, which often make me tired and achy. On the weekends I sometimes feel like I have to run errands or be social, but he reminds me to slow down, that my body needs extra rest. And he’s right. Since I’ve slowed down, my symptoms have gotten much better. Sometimes we just need a reminder that our health comes first. He is the voice of reason when my head tries to convince me I have to do it all right now.
7. He has his own interests. And I have mine. This is perhaps one of the things I treasure most about our marriage. We love spending time together, but we also both crave solitude now and again. We allow each other to have the space to decompress after a long day or to explore a budding hobby. When he’s tinkering in the garage listening to The Clash, I might be upstairs writing a blog post and burning incense. He usually comes to check on me after a while. We exchange kisses and hugs, inquiring into each other’s progress on our respective projects. It’s one of the many comforts I cherish in our relationship.
8. We’re great travel buddies. We’ve traveled as close as Santa Barbara, and as far away as Kenya. I spent most of my life traveling and living abroad, so it was a huge relief and a wonderful surprise that my husband shares an interest in exploring new places, too. We seem to be in sync about the things we want to experience. We take turn snapping photos of each other doing silly things, making memories as we go. There’s something about sharing a new experience that builds a bond between partners. Perhaps it’s that we are the first to witness the pleasure, surprise, or discontent they experience in a new place. We see into their souls and marvel at how much more we want to know them. It’s so fulfilling.
9. We tuck each other in at night. I know, it’s sweet, right?
10. We say “I love you” all the time. And we mean it. I have never experienced the kind of love I have with my husband, with anyone else. It is mostly kind and patient. Though sometimes saying those three words to each other can feel like a habit without any real intention. Which is why we always come back to remembering why we chose each other. And it’s in those moments that we laugh, celebrate, and take the next step — together.
Marriage is the most challenging endeavor of my life. But it’s also the most rewarding. Seeing my list in black and white is way for me to express gratitude for our partnership and not take for granted what many people wish they had. I love you, Will.