Note: my wife did not know I was going to write and publish this.
I am a lucky man. I think most people in my neighborhood would recognize this.
My wife is friendly, attractive, likes to cook and do laundry, is a wonderful mom to my daughters… and works! She makes a lot of money. If we were really keeping score (and we’re not), I’d have her beat by a little bit, but we’re basically even contributors to the family budget’s bottom line.
Most importantly, she loves me. I’ve never doubted it, never felt otherwise, never needed to question, and I realize that I probably take this entirely for granted.
Like I said, I am a lucky man.
I forgive myself for that oversight, as most men tend to do, because I think I’m a pretty good husband. If I may say so myself. I cook, I clean, I wash dishes and put them away, I do laundry (when she lets me) and I take the kids to school 99.9% of the time (she picks them up). Until just recently I was home every day because I worked from home (I’ll describe my first temporary office in Walnut Creek for summer interns in a future post).
From what I can tell, the things most married couples argue over relate to conflicts between work and family time. I’m no saint, but I think I do a pretty good job of managing that balance. Even with my new office situation, I’m home by 5:30pm and I still take the kids to school.
On the improvement side, I work (or at least am on my computer) more than half the evenings in a given week, including weekends. Despite writing about ways to improve it, I’m definitely on my phone too much. I could be more proactive about planning meals, family activities, and time alone with just my wife. I’m aware, and writing this down helps me remind myself that it’s important to translate awareness into action.
Nine years is a long time. A damn long time. If I think about how much happened between when I was born and my ninth birthday, I think wow, that’s a lot. Infant to fourth grade. Twice my older daughter’s age.
It’s a long time, and yet it has flown by. How can it be?
The answer, I believe, is the same one that I described in my wedding toast nine years ago tonight. In it, I described how I was nervous about getting married. There’s a lot of divorce in my family, including my own parents. When I was dating my wife-to-be, I wasn’t sure what to make of that. I definitely didn’t want to get divorced, but it seemed the odds were against me. I decided to get married anyway because it felt so easy.
In fact, everything about our relationship was easy. We just got along. We didn’t argue, we didn’t suppress feelings. When we had feelings, we shared them. I remember a few times when I felt that she was upset but not telling me, and called her out on it. She relented and we worked through the issues without either of us getting too upset.
I’ve cried, she’s cried, we’ve cried together at one time or another in these nine years. Looking back on those times now, I don’t have bad feelings. Those were part of our evolution as a couple. Those were real moments when we both learned what the other needed to feel happy, safe, protected, and loved. Those were critical moments that actually strengthened our relationship, like building a muscle.
So since she and I have been on a exercise kick the last few months, that’s the thought that I will end with. Nine years of marriage is certainly a workout, but the result is strength. Every passing year I feel a tighter, stronger bond with the woman I have married.
I am a lucky man. And she is lucky too 🙂