Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Happily Ever After?

The husband and I have been married for 19 years. We paused briefly to acknowledge our anniversary last month, and then jumped right back into the craziness of the holidays. Fortunately, knock on wood, the husband and I have never considered divorce. It has been widely advertised, however, that somewhere around 50% of all marriages will end in divorce. According to the percentage of married people who will reach their 15th anniversary is 52%. Only 33% of married people will make their 25th anniversary. Extrapolating out the numbers, it’s entirely possible that the husband and I have somehow managed to position ourselves in the above average category. I feel I must explain, at least on my part, how we have achieved this apparently extraordinary and somewhat surprising feat. I must explain why, after 19 years, I am still married to the husband.

1. He has a job. He’s always had a job. There’s never been any doubt about him having a job. He goes to work. He makes money. He then gives me the money to spend. It’s one of his best qualities.

2. He comes home. Mostly happy. Everyday. After work he picks up the teenager from jazz band practice or stops by to visit his “engine man” or picks up the books on hold from the library or waits somewhat impatiently in a traffic jam. But after that, he always comes home.

3. He’s a present father. 90% of runaways, 63% of youth suicides, 71% of high school dropouts and 85% of youths in prison come from fatherless homes. His value to the teenager and the boy cannot be overstated. (

4. He’s an involved father. He will ride his bike to the lake. He knows how to throw a football. He will play PIG with the new basketball that he inflated to the exact specified pressure. He is willing to have a burping contest. Or worse. He’ll happily chaperone a field trip with 8 gangly and giggly 13 year old girls or a bunch of “naughty boy” 2nd graders. He will race RC cars until the batteries are dead. He will play Christmas trumpet music duets until his lips look like they’ve had a double collagen injection. He will build a model airplane and allow the boy to “customize” it, even if it’s not entirely accurate and goes against all his sensibilities of proper model building.

5. He’s passionate. When the husband is interested in something, he is passionately interested in something. No stone is left unturned. No detail is left unresearched. No website is undiscovered. No book is left unread. This passion can be exciting, infectious, and often keeps him conveniently out of my hair.

6. He’s never met Jerry Springer nor does he own a wife beater tank top. He hasn’t cheated on me with my sister. He hasn’t solicited police officers in public bathrooms. He’s never even been in a casino. And he’s never asked to have a meth lab in the kitchen.

7. He’s flexible. He doesn’t care if we have Hamburger Helper or prime rib for dinner. He’ll listen to Les Mis or Linkin Park. He’ll watch American Gladiator or Househunters. And he’s fine with painting the bedroom blue or green, just as long as he doesn’t have to do it.

8. He crosses things off the Honey Do List. The bathroom towel bar was fixed the same hour it broke. The refrigerator received a new water filter on time. He independently ordered the new lawnmower part. He put in the external hard drive. As long as I don’t expect him to paint anything, he’s a pretty reliable handy man. And I’d say that almost half the time he doesn’t even complain about it.

9. He’s smart. He can rattle off any trigonometry formula in an instant. He can discuss World War II for hours on end. He can debate presidential politics and actually know what he’s talking about. He’s more than book smart, though. He’s also husband smart. He laughs at my jokes even when they’re not funny. He always “enjoys” my cooking. According to him, I have yet to own a pair of pants that make me look fat. He manages to be patient with the kids when I’m not. And he even manages, somehow, to restrain himself from yelling out in fear when I am driving and he is the passenger.

10. He still floats my boat. I started dating the husband in the summer of 1985. I am shocked that 22 ½ years later I am still able to tolerate him. I’m surprised that I’m still attracted to him. I had no idea that, after all these years, I’d still find him interesting. I’m amazed that I still look at him with respect. Oh, don’t get me wrong. We’ve had our ups and downs just like everyone does. Sometimes he drives me crazy with certain quirks. Sometimes he talks way too much about engine displacement. Sometimes he fails to treat me like the queen of his life should be treated. Sometimes he’s just plain annoying. But, not most of the time. Most of the time, he’s the guy who already knows all of my “stuff”. He’s the guy who’s been there for every day of the teenager’s and boy’s life. He’s the guy who knows when to leave me alone and knows when to let me babble and cry for an hour. He’s the guy who will turn down the heat when I'm too hot instead of making me take off my sweatshirt. He's the guy who knows that I'm wearing the sweatshirt to cover up my fat that day. It’s quite comforting to have 22 years of history with someone, knock on wood. That’s worth everything. It certainly, for me, makes up for the fact that he refuses to paint.

Check This Out!

Speaking of American might want to check it out, Monday nights, on NBC, at 8pm. Mindless fun that just might make you want to work out a little more than you do.

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