Is my husband perfect? No. Am I perfect? No. Are we perfect for each other? Probably not. Is the imperfection of our lives together perfect? Absolutely.
I met my husband 24 years ago. It was late at night, around 11:30 on July 20, 1989. We have been together ever since. We’ve not had any breakups or any doubts that we would stay together. Don’t get me wrong – we’ve certainly had our bumps in the road, but we’ve somehow managed to navigate the course without crashing into too many walls.
Early in our relationship, my husband and I enjoyed going out to dinner, often. Taking note of the couples dining around us who were not engaging in conversation, I vowed never to let that happen to us. I couldn’t imagine a time when we would have nothing to talk about, and I couldn’t understand how some couples could ever get to that stage in their relationship. My interpretation of the silence was one of sadness and loneliness. But what I didn’t understand in the infancy of our romantic love affair was that these nonconversing couples were miles ahead of us. They had already gone careening down the road on which we had just ventured.
My children, like most children, think that everything they are experiencing is something new they’ve discovered. Of course, you and I know that it’s the adults who have paved the way. We know what it’s like to have a crush or to feel embarrassed when mom shows up at school waiting for you after the dance. Well, I’m learning that love affairs also follow in the footsteps of those before us.
My husband and I have been through it all so far. We’ve survived college years together, job changes, the selling and buying of houses and we have children. We’ve dealt with health issues and family deaths. We are growing old together and, fortunately, we still have a lot of growing to do.
Growing old together, however, requires an understanding of how the individual grows. While my husband and I share the same values and ideas, we’re not so much alike. We have different hobbies and interests, yet we rarely spend our free time apart. Every morning as he drives off to work, I stand at the porch and wave goodbye, even when I’m half asleep. Every time I come undone from life’s demands, he puts me back together, even when he’s half asleep. I’m kind of high maintenance and he is even keeled.
Being different from one another has certainly created obstacles along the way. Learning how to deal with someone else’s needs isn’t always easy if you don’t experience those needs yourself. At the same time, it’s been enlightening and somewhat of a relief for us to accept each other’s perspective on life.
We find comfort in knowing each other like no one else can, and we rely on our love to keep us together forever.
I think the integrity of my vow will remain: Several years from now, it may look like we’re having silent dinners, but I think we’ll just be farther down the road, where we’ve learned to communicate without words, where we’ll be savoring our existence together.
I heard a song on the radio as I was driving home today: “Just the Way You Are” by Billy Joel. I’m not a Billy Joel fan, but I know the song well. It’s been years since I’ve heard this song, but today it meant something to me. I realized that my husband has been silently singing this song to me for years.
I wouldn’t change a single thing in my perfectly, imperfect love affair with my husband. I love it just the way it is.