To truly appreciate the type of guy he is, you have to know a little bit about who I am - or at least who I was before I met him. I didn't really hit my stride as a confident young woman until I was about 25. Up until then, I was very self conscious, especially around guys. It's safe to say, I didn't date much - if at all. Around 25, I finally came into my own and was ready to take on the dating world. The only problem was...I was extremely particular. I didn't have an actual written checklist or anything, but I knew who I was and what I wanted and I wasn't going to settle for someone who didn't fit the bill. I caught a lot of flack for that. People would ask me about my love life, and when it came up empty, they would tell me I was too picky. They suggested I change my standards. That I make compromises. If I went out on a first date, but not a second one, people would insist I wasn't giving guys a chance and that I couldn't possibly know if a guy was for me after just one date. But I did. After one date, I knew that those guys weren't what I was looking for in the same way you know after taking a bite whether or not you like a certain food. It wasn't rocket science.
When I met Mike, I was almost 31. The first time we met was at our friend's birthday party. The second time was out with that same group of friends on New Year's Eve. He was handsome and smart. He made me laugh, and I liked him instantly. We went on our first official date a few days later. What began as a lunch date extended into bowling, then a movie, then dinner, then talking for several hours. I think he went home sometime after midnight. And I knew. I knew this one was different. I knew he was the one for me. I didn't need another date. My decision was made. When he told me less than two weeks later that he loved me, I wasn't surprised - and I wasn't scared. This is just the way it works. When you know - you know.
Everything about our courtship came as naturally as breathing. He's open and honest and easy to talk to. I never felt like I couldn't trust him, and I knew that he trusted me completely. We don't keep secrets any bigger than what we get each other for our birthday. We have the same quirky sense of humor, the same morals and values, and similar personalities. We just fit.
When Kenley died, our relationship was tested. Not in the sense of being in danger of falling apart - but in that we had to find a way to get through this pain together. Men and women grieve differently. For the first time in our four years of being together, we struggled to understand how the other was processing what was happening. We needed different things at different times, and it took a while to figure out how to best be there for each other. But, our love and affection for each other never wavered. Our devotion to our relationship did not diminish. If anything, it became stronger. We were more determined than ever to be the partner the other one needed.
There is an intimacy you share with your spouse that no one else has access to. A private room inside your heart where only they are allowed. A room where you feel safe and secure and loved. A room where you are your true self, vulnerable and exposed, but valued and understood. This is the room where love resides, where trust is cultivated, where two become one.
Never once has Mike's devotion to me faltered. Never once has he not been there waiting for me in that room when I run for sanctuary. If I need a hug, he is there with open arms. If I need space, he slinks away quietly. He goes with me to every doctor's appointment (both Kenley and Bean). He's there for every group therapy session (even though he hates them!), every charity event, every after school function. I know, without a doubt, that he would be there for me through anything. He already has been.
We like to joke around that it's a good thing we found each other since no one else would put up with us. Without being too insulting to either of our crazy selves, I'm sure that's pretty true. We just fit. He is the yin to my yang. The peanut butter to my jelly. The frosting to my cupcake. And while he's not without fault - neither am I. But, love isn't about being perfect. Love is about finding someone who's imperfections compliment yours in such a way that you cease to be two imperfect people and become a couple perfect for each other.
If you've made it through this sap, congratulations. Thanks for sticking it out. I just wanted to let you know what a wonderful man I married - and how happy I am to be his wife.