How do you explain the beauty of a sunrise to a blind man? How do you describe the intoxicating aroma of a jasmine blossom to someone who has never smelled one? I feel almost compelled to disclaim today's essay with a warning sign...
CAUTION: WOEFUL INADEQUACY AHEAD!
It all began 19 years ago at a brew pub (See 31/50 "John Harvard’s" August 6, 2015). I was new to Atlanta, a few years divorced, and I had just sworn off younger men, especially men under 30. What’s that old saying about if you want to hear God laugh, just tell Him your plans? Yeah that.
Knowing what I know now, it’s ridiculous that when I met the man who is now my husband almost 20 years ago, I was determined to never marry again. Not because my first marriage was bad; quite to the contrary. My marriage to Joe wasn’t terrible, I was just terrible at it. (See 10/50 "Marrying Young” July 16, 2015)
From the very beginning Ed seemed to be unnaturally good at this thing called “relationship” despite being a young man.
Despite our wildly different upbringings and our age difference, we discovered we had similar values and beliefs systems and what I loved right away is how easily we got along. Some couples might find it terribly boring to live without the drama that arguing creates, but I find the ease we have comforting and lovely. In the nineteen years we’ve been together I can count the number of arguments we’ve had on one tiny cat paw.
I never expected to be "treated like a queen" because frankly, it seemed an awful lot to ask of another person and a surefire way to have your expectations be left unmet. Ed has always treated me like a treasure, irreplaceable and precious. He respects me, he protects me, and he always has my best interest at heart.
I’ve learned so much just from being around my amazing man and I feel so lucky to have found him!
First of all, everyone likes him. If you’ve met him, it’s pretty much impossible not to! He’s smart, kind, sensitive, creative and has a razor sharp business mind. Although he’s an introvert he is an outstanding conversationalist who enjoys lively debate and learning from others. His capacity for self growth is seemingly unlimited. He has transformed himself from a budding speaker to someone who can capture and hold the attention of any audience and he enjoys doing it. He reads books like I eat chocolate and he’s without a doubt the most focused and productive human being I’ve ever met.
One of my favorite things about my husband is his silly side. I love the adorable expressions that show up on his face when he’s had wine. I love his cute little “drunk smile” and the way he cracks himself up because he’s just. So. Hilarious.
I love it when I’m upstairs in our bedroom in the morning and I can hear him through the floor vent, talking sweetly to our cat about breakfast. He truly is the yin to my yang. His quiet demeanor balances my sometimes frenetic energy, he's a calming force in a knee-jerk world, his even keel remains steadfast amidst my sometimes choppy seas and his moral compass always leads the way.
In my youth I thought that love was a feeling. As I’ve grown older, I learned that love is not a feeling, but a beautiful mix of emotions and actions. Somehow Ed always has always known how to make me feel loved. In 1998, my beloved cat Clara went to Kitty Heaven. Before I got home from work that evening, he cleaned her food and water dishes, emptied and washed her litter box and put them, along with her toys, on a high shelf simply because he didn’t want me to have to do it. That simple act was one of the most loving things anyone has ever done for me.
In my opinion, marital love is best when you first appreciate and respect your partner as an individual and secondly as your spouse. It’s not my husband's job to make me happy nor is it my job to do the same for him. It's incumbent upon each of us to be happy people in our own right, which makes our shared happiness double.
I sometimes hear married people say the secret to their success is that one of them travels most of the time. Although we have each done our share of business travel and being away from one another on a regular basis I would never say it's the reason our marriage is successful. Instead I’d say our marriage is successful despite being interrupted by long periods of bi-coastal commuting. One of the things I like best about our relationship is that we aren't independent of one another nor are we dependent on each other. We're beautifully and wonderfully inter-dependent. We aren’t a couple joined at the hip however we are joined by our hearts and minds.
I know there are things about me and my personality that can drive him a little batty just as there are small things about him that drive me a little nutty. I try to just chuckle and thank God that those small things are my biggest marital issues. No spouse is perfect but I think mine comes as close as any mere mortal could.
I love our special morning rituals, our silly inside jokes and the way he can never stay awake to see the end of a television show. I love that he hangs his naked booty out the side of the covers when he sleeps and how he spoils our cat rotten because she’s old as dirt and they’re deeply in love. I love how I never have to ask him to empty the dishwasher, scoop the litter box, or take out the trash. I love the fact that he gets super annoyed when it takes me an hour to say goodbye at a party but he never says a word about it. I love his quiet confidence, his beautiful speaking voice and the way we always have things to talk about. I love that he’s even-tempered past the point of most people, but when pushed he’ll push back.
And I FREAKIN’ LOVE THAT HAIR!! Mrrrowwwwwww baby!
It's easy to say I wish we had met years earlier because one lifetime doesn't seem enough to share with such a person as this. But I believe in divine timing, so I’m content that Ed came into my life at just the right time 19 years ago. In those days, my hair wasn't so short and his hair wasn't so white. We were young and just starting out and in time we discovered that 1 + 1 does not equal 2, but that it really can equal 11; we are better together than apart.
While my first marital failure was indeed my doing, the blissful success of my second marriage is not my doing. I’m just following the lead of an extraordinary man while trying my best to be the wife he deserves.