As of today, My Best Beloved and I have been married for 20 years. This comes as something of a shock, especially to me. Prior to meeting My Best Beloved I did not have a great track record with relationships. I blame myself for this entirely. I chose the wrong men for the right reasons, or overlooked the right men for the wrong reasons. I had relationships with some lovely men indeed, but I was not really a person twenty-five years ago. I was a bunch of reactions, many of them unpleasant. I tended to get involved WAY too quickly, and was prepared to utterly remake myself, Zelig fashion, into whatever the man on whom I was currently fixated wanted. Then, six months later I was pissed off because he didn’t know I was a vegetarian. And how could he? I’d been eating burgers every night.
Interestingly, when I met My Best Beloved, he wasn’t my type, by which I mean he had no tattoos, didn’t play an instrument and had never been to prison. He was an insurance executive for God’s sake. Thus, I felt no compunction to impress him. He was a nice guy. Seemed kind and honest and sincere, and he did woo me (the first man ever to truly to do). He didn’t give up, even in the face of my ambivalence, and alcoholic drama. So, I was just myself around him, because I didn’t care that much. And then, slowly, I began to see these QUALITIES. Not just kindness, but REAL KINDNESS, the kind you can’t fake. Integrity. Intelligence. Dependability. Trustworthiness. And there was that smile. And the way he listened and held his own in discussions on all sorts of things. He didn’t care if I disagreed with him. In fact, he seemed to rather like it, since it made the conversation so interesting. He was reliable.
And then, before you knew it, I’d fallen in love. No one was more shocked than I. I warned him, I didn’t have a great track record. I’d been married twice already and couldn’t seem to stay in relationships longer than a couple of years. Huh, he said. We’ll see.
Geez. The confidence. I wasn’t used to a guy who had that sort of no-need-to-defend-my-position confidence. I liked it.
A couple of years later he asked me how we were doing. I said fine, why? Well, he said, it’s been over two years. For a moment I couldn’t figure out what he meant and then the other shoe dropped. I laughed out loud, for by then I couldn’t imagine life without him. Still can’t.
What an adventure it’s been. He took me off to France for ten years. Supported me, encouraged me, held my hand when I needed it, dried my tears when required, and kicked my ass if essential — as I learned to be a writer. He leaves love notes pinned to the inside of the medicine cabinet, to the toaster, to my pillow, when he travels. Took me to Ireland, England, Scotland, Italy, Germany… so many wonderful trips! This year, he finally gave in and agreed to adding Bailey, the Rescuepoo to the family. (Only 23 years of lobbying — did I mention stubborn?)
Okay, it hasn’t been all roses and silk sheets. After all, I drank alcoholically for the first eight years of our relationship. Put him though all sorts of hell, I did. But, thanks in large part to all those QUALITIES My Best Beloved has, including just a soupcon on stubbornness, we’ve come through pretty darn well, I think. My heart still skips a beat when I hear his key in the lock, and I’m quite sure without him I would have kept on drinking until I killed myself.
He doesn’t know I’m writing this, and will doubtless be a bit annoyed. He’s a very humble guy and doesn’t like it when I rave about him. But how could I not? He’s my hero, my north star and my heart’s home. He’s also a daft hand with lids.
Happy Anniversary, my love. Just the beginning…
Happy New Year. I wish you all the very best in 2011, and am very grateful you’ve popped in to read this blog now and again.