I did my best and all the rest is hidden by the clouds/ I can’t carry you forever, but I can hold you now…
Vampire Weekend, “Hold You Now”
There is a scene from more than ten years ago that occasionally comes back to my mind. My oldest daughter was maybe a little over a year old, and we were walking back to our car from an aquarium with my Mom and Dad.
Abe had my daughter up on his shoulders, holding her hands around his neck. My Mom was anxious, “Aren’t you scared that he is going to drop her?”
The thought had never even crossed my mind. I turned to her and immediately said, “I trust Abe more than anyone in the world. If he’s got her, she’s safe. She’s not going to fall.”
The conviction with which I made that statement says a great deal about the relationship that I have with my husband. Someone like me- who has always had trust issues- has unwavering faith in the individual that I chose to spend the rest of my life with.
It comes from knowing someone so well that you don’t ever have to doubt. It comes from knowing his values and needs. Knowledge aquired through deep conversations. Knowledge gained through actions witnessed and repeated.
The summer after we started dating, he went on a three week class camping trip to the Hawaiian islands. One evening, while sitting on a beach and staring at the ocean he decided to marry me.
How many high school relationships survive four years at different colleges? We were lucky to be only a little over an hour away. He would faithfully drive back to come see me every weekend or two.
When he moved into a house (an alternative to frats) with a group of both men and women (dubbed ‘the House of Spirituality”) I suppose that I had ample reason to be concerned. I had no doubt that there would be opportunities for unfaithfulness. But those worries only take flight if you don’t trust the partner you have.
He despised college guys who went through women like trophies, and one in particular who prided himself with taking as many girls’ virginity as possible. I knew (and still know) that intimacy is anything but casual for him. I did not worry.
He proposed to me during our senior year via email while up all night with Nodoze finishing a paper at the last minute. Apparently, he had been struggling for a while to figure out the best way to do it and in a moment of frustration and panic just let it out in a long, rambling email which I read groggily the next morning.
Is he perfect? No. But I wouldn’t ever have it any other way. I hate perfect people anyway. He’s perfect in his values and in his intentions. And when he says something he means it. That’s worth more than than all of the chiseled features and grand romantic gestures in the the world (and for what it’s worth, he’s made a lot of progress in the romance department after a decade or two of practice 😂). I refer to him often as “my knight in flannel boxers”. And he is ❤️.
A week after we both graduated from college, we got married. Neither of us knew how to plan a wedding. This was one of those moments where I was happy to let my mother do what she did best – planning almost everything. She was proud of her one child who graduated college and was getting married and wanted to make everything right for her relatives. We married and had our reception at the Officer’s Club on base.
I did get to choose a few things of my own. My $99 wedding dress, who presided (the Chaplain from Abe’s college), and the vows, music and readings.
My favorite was this Shakespearean Sonnet. To be fair, I majored in English Literature, so this was almost mandatory:
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
Oh no! It is an ever-fixed mark
That looks upon tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love is not time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116
Who knew that this language, written centuries ago, would still cling so closely to the truth today? Love is not easy, nor is it perfect, but true love sustains through the hardest of times. It weathers the stresses and fights between two people trying to work full time whilst simultaneously raising small children. We both have adapted. We both have changed. But the underlying love and trust have not. The love and trust have carried us through the hard times.
We began our relationship as a marriage of true minds and will end that way. Rosy lips and cheeks will yield to the bending compass of time, and of sickness. And we will bear things out until the edge of doom.
I am forever grateful for my husband’s patience and courage. For his humor. For his dorkiness. For him being an amazing father. For taking on the challenges that no man should have expected to have to take on this early in life. For being my partner and friend.
We celebrate our 19th anniversary on June 18th. Happy anniversary, my love.