Tonight was one of those nights that I live for. Perfection. After a few hours spent out in the garage (build a dresser right now), I came in to hang out with the fam. We had some dinner, watched a movie, and then both of the kids ended up crashing. Nothing extraordinary, I know, but it doesn’t need to be.
My wife and I then began a conversation that went on until 3:30 in the morning. I’ve commented on this before to several people, including my wife, but I’m still amazed that after a decade together we haven’t gotten board with one another. That sounds terrible as I write it, but it’s true. I’ve always been that guy that maintains a relationship (romantic or otherwise) until it doesn’t seem worth my time anymore. I had this terrible habit in my younger days of breaking up with girls very spontaneously. It would hit me out of nowhere, ‘I don’t want to be around this person anymore.’ So I stopped being around them. I’ve done it with friends, girlfriends, bands, my mother, my brother, several other people that I’ve already forgotten.
10 years in and I’m still not tired of my wife. I find her more interesting than ever to talk to. When we first met we were both pretty generic people. Neither of us had really developed into a true personality of our own, and were really just compilations of those around us. I’d like to think that my compilation of the dark, silent, artistic type was more original than hers of the popular, people pleasing, party girl type, but in reality it wasn’t. We were equally unoriginal on opposite sides of the fence. It wasn’t until we met that we really started to develop into “real” people. Now that it’s happened, it’s really exciting to see where we started and where we’ve come to so far.
Tonight we were having a very “what would you do?” kind of talk. “What would you do if I were paralyzed?” “What would you do if I died?” You know, all of the fun questions. 🙂 What’s really exciting about these conversations with her is that they’re real. Not cheesy bullshit answers, where your response to everything is “I would love you no matter what.” That’s a lie, no matter who’s saying it. There is no way to promise something like that because you don’t know what the future holds. 12 years ago, I would have told you that I was in love with another girl, and that I was going to marry her. That wasn’t a lie, it was simply my feelings at the time. Little did I know that I would meet a girl at a club, date her for a few months, then leave her for her best friend, and then go on to marry that best friend. I’m not arrogant enough to tell my wife that we’ll be together, forever, no matter what. I can honestly tell her that as of right now, I love her more than any other person I’ve ever met, and don’t want to spend this life with anyone else. As unlikely as it is, tomorrow may bring a man into her life that she connects with more than she and I ever did. Again, highly unlikely, but possible nonetheless. If that happens you’ll probably fine me at the bottom of a bottle, but still, I accept this possibility.
Typing this, it seems a bit cynical and lacking in romance. It actually sparks romance in my opinion. It means that you never get too comfortable. You never take the relationship for granted. If that man of her dreams shows up tomorrow, I want to know that today I did everything that I could to make the most of our relationship. I want to know that I did everything that I could to make both of us happy. When you assume that you have forever, it leads to procrastination. It leads to you putting off romance, putting off conversations, putting off real connections for another day. Before you know it, you look up and you’ve become another one of those couples that eat at the same restaurant every friday night, order the same meal every time, have the same small talk about the same topics, and don’t ever really experience one another. If my relationship ever becomes repetition, then it’s not a relationship, it’s a routine. I’ve got a job to fill the “routine” side of my brain. I don’t need another routine.
I’ve told my wife several times that if she ever got severely overweight I would leave her. People who have heard me say this before give me a look like I just slapped their grandmother. My wife has said similar things to me. I don’t understand people’s confusion with this. If you don’t care enough about yourself to maintain even a minimum standard of maintenance, then you clearly don’t care about the other person. You’ve collapsed in on yourself in a wave of self-loathing, followed up with a splash of pity. Does this mean that I’m leaving my lady if she puts on a pound? No, that would be crazy, even for me. That means that if she, or I, get to the point where we’ve stopped trying to improve ourselves, both mentally and physically, then this car stops moving. Our relationship is about growing together, and improving one another. We don’t simply have a relationship based on routine, or familiarity. We didn’t get married because we had been dating a while. We didn’t have kids because “that’s just what you do.” Everything we’ve done has been an effort to build a stronger bond between us that will strengthen both of us because we’re connected to it.
I’m rambling as usual. It’s 5:21am so that’s to be expected. I love my wife. I can also say, without a shred of doubt, that she loves me. We’ve built an amazing family from the ashes of two failing (in my opinion) families. I don’t know if there’s anything special about what we’ve done, but it feels special to me. It feels like an amazing gift that I don’t really deserve. Something that I’ve somehow stolen away from a better man that I’ve never met. Thoughts of losing this undeserved gift keep me awake at night. When there’s no one left to talk to, and nothing left to distract me, this is where my mind wanders. To the fear that someday soon this amazing bubble that we’ve built for ourselves will be destroyed. I worry that it’s almost gotten too perfect to continue. That we’ve experienced so much happiness, and been given so many gifts, that our time in the sun must end. I hope that this isn’t the case, but fear that it is. I’m off to shut down for the night. Off to lay next to a gorgeous woman that I don’t deserve, in a house that is better than I need, down the hall from two kids that are so perfect I can barely stand it. Do you remember the really corny and idiotic scene in American Beauty with the drug dealer and the plastic bag? When he talks about so much beauty in the world, and his heart wanting to burst? As much as I want to punch him in the face while he’s saying that, I have to say that I know exactly what he means.
Until Next Time