Last night, as I was falling asleep, I was staring at my husband, who was by then in his third REM cycle. I was thinking, God, I love that man — that quirky, brilliant, flawed and funny man. Then I was thinking of how our years together have uncovered our idiosyncrasies and imperfections. Not that I’m counting, but I have at least five or six more than he does. I considered waking him up and asking him, “Do you love me this much, even with the self-absorption and the brutal morning breath? Really?“ I thought of how I am (mostly) still amazed that I get to share my life with him. I even got to make babies with him. We made two people and brought them into the world. All because we went out for Chinese one night, fourteen years ago.
Isn’t dating bizarre? You date (sometimes) because you are looking for a life-long companion. And you think this search should start with the 7pm showing of American Pie 2, followed by dinner at The Cheesecake Factory? Couldn’t we find more appropriate material for the audition? When my husband and I were dating, we drove to Chicago for a night and crashed on his buddy’s couch (now I’m the one in charge of making hotel reservations). Upon arrival at his friend’s apartment, we parked our car on the street. The next morning, we returned to find a towing notice and a phone number. While I stood in the empty parking spot with my mouth open, my husband took out his Palm Pilot flip phone, got the address of the towing company, and ordered a cab. He didn’t get mad or impatient. He stayed calm and took care of business. Before I knew it, we were reunited with our car and making our way home. That was the first time I thought he might be the guy for me. Of course, if the same incident occurred today, I would probably hiss, “I TOLD you we shouldn’t park there!” And then I would growl at him. A few hours later, we would laugh about it. The week before we would have done something equally stupid, like pay a guy $150 to open the garage door by flipping a light switch in the living room.
Marriage is like a game of strip poker. As time passes, you reveal more of yourself, until you are completely naked and exposed. Every dimple and wrinkle are on display. At the end of the game, you count yourself lucky to have a partner who’s still holding his cards and making jokes. And best of all, the jokes make you laugh.