I was sitting on the couch last night, minding my own business. I looked up from my intense game of Angry Birds, and I catch eyes with my husband.
“What are you doing way over there,” I asked as he sat on the couch across from me. “Why don’t you come over here and give me some sugar.”
3 seconds later, my husband was next to me. I nuzzled my face into his neck and kissed him all over his face in a very playful way. Back when I was in college, I read somewhere that when you kiss a man all over his face, he feels loved. I’ve been doing this to my husband for years.
As I continued, my 2 1/2-year-old daughter comes into the living room. She sees her mommy kissing her daddy. Not too long after, my 5 1/2-year-old son is right behind her. In the very brief moment between them seeing me kissing their father and them jumping onto our laps, I thought to myself, “This is SO GOOD for them to see their parents loving each other.”
My husband, for the record, was happy to get up so the kids could get some love from their momma. He is, ummm….not very affectionate. Granted, he has grown leaps and bounds in that department since we started dating 12 years ago. But for the most part, he is who he is – not a cuddler. I, on the other hand, LOVE giving affection, not so good at receiving affection – so we’re a perfect match.
My husband and I didn’t always have a great marriage. In fact, you could say that in the beginning, we both thought we were headed for divorce. It was hard for us, the transition from boyfriend/girlfriend to husband/wife. We had never lived with each other before, we were both young (or young by today’s standards – married at 25), and we both had a fierce desire to remain independent. I remember when we “celebrated” our 2nd wedding anniversary. I thought to myself, “Wow, I can’t believe we didn’t divorce before 2 years. Enjoy this anniversary, sister – it’s probably your last with this guy.” And that’s how I felt. I really felt it would be our last wedding anniversary.
Then, a little while later, something snapped in me. I realized if I got a divorce, I would be punking out. And I DON’T punk out. I knew if I went through with a divorce, it wouldn’t be fair to him, to me, and to our marriage. After all, we never really gave it a shot. We never worked for it. We just both assumed marriage would just work. And when it didn’t, we both thought one thing – divorce. But that’s not how I was raised, that’s not something I could comprehend. I knew I could do better. I knew I could work harder. I knew I could change.
And luckily, he was thinking the same thing.
So, we did what most couples don’t do: we worked on our marriage. Crazy concept, eh? Not giving up? Everyday – and I mean every SINGLE day – we worked on our marriage and on ourselves. Before long, it became natural. And not too long after that, I became happy again. And then I realized, “Holy crap. I love my husband.” And what’s even better than loving your husband is respecting him, trusting him, and treating him with the decency and kindness that he deserves.
Most newlywed girls/women like to proclaim, “I married my best friend.” Well, I didn’t. I married my boyfriend. Over time, over struggles and sadness and laughter and all that goes along with a marriage – he BECAME my best friend. And that’s such a great feeling to have. I come home everyday to a man that loves me for me, that listens to me, that hugs me, that constantly tells me how wonderful he thinks I am. I’m not perfect by any means. But there is someone in this world who thinks otherwise. And that’s pretty awesome.
On January 6th, while he was visiting me in Las Vegas while I was there for work, he surprised me by renewing our vows. And this time, they meant more. This time, I felt the words. I meant every word I uttered back when we got married in 2003. But when I said those words again on January 6th, it was different. We had experience, we had been burned, we had learned what it meant to fight for something we wanted. That day, probably moreso than the day we got married, meant more to me than anything.
My kids have a great father who loves their mother very much. And they have a great mother who will never stop kissing their fathers face on the couch.