Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Key

Today is Jason's birthday. After a time of personal upheaval and change for me, I'm thinking about the decisions I made to get me to this place in life, realizing again that he is a key to my sense of happiness every day. I was terrified of my feelings when I met Jason and began falling hard for him. The intensity of the emotion was unprecedented for me, and I wasn't entirely sure how to manage it.

I wanted to believe he was good for me, but I was so bound up in fears that I would end up with a stormy marriage like my parents had, and that I would inadvertently choose someone who wasn't going to be a good life partner. I polled all of my friends and my family members during our courtship, begging for honesty and wanting to look at it from all angles. It's virtually impossible to be objective yourself when you are falling head over heels in love with someone.

I've told my kids for years that they need to rely on the guidance of others when they meet a person they are attracted to. Others will be more objective than we are in that kind of intense situation. Everyone who loved me, loved Jason when they first met him, and that was what eventually relaxed me in our relationship. I asked often for advice, and over and over again I was told that Jason was kind to me, and seemed solid and trustworthy, and older than his years.

Those things have never stopped being true. Not since the first day I met him, and not in the year and a half we dated, or the eight months we were engaged, or the almost thirteen years we have been married. Those qualities have not changed, but simply improved. With every layer of history, we add to who we are as individuals, and who we are as a couple, and then a family when our kids were born. We value each other more, and find ways to give something back when we would rather be selfish and get our own needs met first, and we still make an effort to be kind to each other.

We laugh. A lot. It's still fun to make each other laugh, and to spend time dreaming about the future and what we would like it to look like. As we become more sure of ourselves as individuals, we end up strengthening our relationship as a married couple. We have never stopped learning new and better ways of doing things so that we don't stagnate and get bored.

We fight. I think that healthy relationships have lots of arguments in them. We try not to wage war in silence, but instead by using words and owning up to the emotions we feel at any given time. We attempt to say sorry when we have been snippish and rude, and think it's important not to let long periods of angry silence develop between us.

We talk. About everything. I'm not always interested in every aspect of his work life, because I don't understand a lot of it, and I'm sure it's the same for him with my home life and my writing dreams. But we still listen, because that communication builds a bridge which connects us when our days keep us apart. I talk ten times more than he does, and we've accepted that and don't worry about the word count inequity any more. It's part of the fabric of our relationship, and we each have radically different personality strengths and weaknesses.

Parenting together has been an adventure. He has ideas which I'm opposed to, and I know he thinks some of my methods are odd, but we manage to meet in the middle over most things. As the kids get older, I love to watch their relationships develop with each of us separately. He does different things with them than I do, and it's good for everyone to recognize these differences and embrace them.

I love my husband. I'm grateful that I met him, and had the good sense to fall for him, and choose him as my marriage partner. I'm crazy glad that he picked me too, and that we made it through many of the bumpy early years to get here, to this place of peace and joy in our relationship. It seems to get better with each passing day, and I love that we don't know what the future holds, but we know we are in this together, and for the long haul. Happy Birthday Jason, and thank you.

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