I have been married for over ten years, and that number still seems so small in the grand scale of things. When I look ahead to celebrating fifty years next to my man, ten seems like that first corner of the foundation is laid. I may not know as much as I will in twenty five years, but I can share what I know so far.
I met my husband at Old Navy in Providence place mall, when I was twenty years old. When the main street of the store, or the center aisle in layman’s terms had a Chevy truck, and the staff shirts were blue. He loves to tell the part about him being a new hire, and me snubbing him, but if we are beings serious at that time in Old Navy’s history, the new hires came in batches and sometimes not one would make it a month.
The Hubbs made it by charming all the customers into getting Old Navy accounts. He was a welcome addition to the team, because walking around trying to get people to sign up for credit cards was everyone’s least favorite job.
The minute I met him I knew one thing for sure. I could get the boy to fall wildly in love with me. That kind of love that I had always abused, because the boys who would lay across a mud puddle for me to walk across had never ended up with anything from me, but a broken heart.
My assumptions about him were confirmed one day in the men’s denim shop. We were supposed to be folding, but mostly I folded, and he mangled one item over, and over again for a while. He was telling me about this girl he was dating, who sounded like a heartbreaking monster, who reminded me of myself with so many sweet would do anything for me guys.
We became fast friends, because I love boys who love me, I even used him at a party to make the boy I was trying to get with jealous. There was always something brewing there, but he had no car, and lived in a dirty apartment with three other smelly dudes, and I was not looking to add another demolished heart of a good guy to my collection.
I watched him date girls, stay hooked up with the original girl he had told me about in that denim shop even when she only used him in between her latest boyfriend. I dated the boy I had originally wanted to date. We stayed “friends” with a flirty banter between us long after he left Old Navy.
One day he came into the store with one of original girl’s friends, during his graduation from college week. I had my hands full of Men’s run backs, but I stopped to chat with him for longer than I would deem appropriate for work. I listened with my hands full of shirts about his life. I asked him what his plans were after graduation, and he said he would go anywhere he found a job.
Something changed immediately after he said that. In hind sight, I know that was the Divine switching the lights on. The timing had never been just so, and here it was the beginning of an epic love story neither of us expected, but had both wondered about.
We were married two years later.
I can tell you that I am madly in love with this man at this moment, last month I wanted to run him over with a tractor, the month before that I was ambivalent, the month before that I wanted to abandon our children and lay waste to the days beside him on a blanket, in a meadow of field daisy’s.
The phases are not always walking on sunshine, but I can always let the sunshine in. I may want to light him on fire, or stab him with plastic utensils, but that is only a temporary feeling.
Feelings are only visitors.
They show up to bring awareness to things that need to change, or things that need letting go, or letting in. They beg to move freely inside of the soul, no clogging up, no offense, no ego. They just are.
My marriage is the most important thing in my life, other than getting my own shit together. This relationship has been my dream come true, what I was always looking for. The entire reason for all the boys I ran over, or who ran over me. This relationship with this man was always the plan.
The gratitude I have for my marriage is overwhelming.That does not mean that this man does not trigger my insanity. Teaching him to clean up a kitchen counter after he cooks would make any good girl raised by Portuguese immigrants contemplate murder, but this kind of love is all I have wanted.
My marriage is bright sunshine success. I am not saying that arrogantly, as if I don’t understand how that can change, but I can tell you that I stay vigilant about the health of my relationship with my husband. I keep it real, I keep it honest, I keep it sacred.
Life is all passing moments. Love lasts through those spaces in-between, by keeping focused on the goals.
Stay happy, stay respectful, stay aware. There is so much vulnerability in love. Trust that this person will not drop their end of the bargain, that they mean what they say.
Love requires that I keep showing up, open and honest. Not talking in terms of what other people need to do, or change to make me happy, but what I need to do.
Love does not force a circle into a square, love is not possession, love is not sending nudes, love is certainly not internet dating a person who refuses to video call, love is not changing to fit someone else’s ideals.
Love is not about forcing someone to stick with a dream they do not believe in anymore. Love is about self-care, love is honoring a history even if the future of that story is going to be vastly different then how it started.
Love is about being really honest all the time, for better or worse. Love is remembering every day that I am the writer of my own story, and I pick how this gets to end. Love is always the best choice.