Last month, my husband and I celebrated the 26th anniversary of the day we met. By celebrate I mean we completely forgot about it.
Since we've known each other 26 years, I've known him for longer than I haven't.
It didn't take long after we met for us to decide that our relationship was going to go beyond the first few dates.
Partly it had to do with him needing me to feed his dog when he was going to business school at night, but that's another story.
There were a few bumps in the road to happily ever after, but after 26 years I'm confident that we've got something solid. At this point, we're pretty happy together... even when we're not.
There are, however, reasons why this marriage shouldn't work -- and yet it does.
- We don't have a lot in common. Shared values and goals, yes. Shared interests and passions, not so much. I'm so impressed by couples that together tend a garden, or refinish furniture, cook gourmet meals or go geocaching. We're not hobbyists. Mostly what we do in our free time together when we're at home is hang out, doing things on our own and circling back to each other every so often for a quick chat or a kiss. Also, we nap and watch TV.
- He's not my type. I know what you're thinking -- how can he not be my type if we've been together for 26 years? Well, he just isn't. My hot list includes men like Antonio Banderas, George Clooney, Idris Elba, Taye Diggs. My (very handsome) husband is fair skinned and freckled. He was once fair-haired, though now he's more of a distinguished grey (sorry, honey). But just because he's not my type doesn't mean I don't find him very attractive. I do.
- He wears his shoes in the house. This is not about germs -- I don't care if people wear shoes in my house. I will never ask you to take off your shoes, unless they're really muddy, if you come to visit. But it took me a long time to understand this: when my husband gets dressed in the morning, he always puts on his shoes, even if he's not going anywhere. And even after all these years, when he walks out of the bedroom on a weekend morning with his shoes on, I ask him, "Where are you going?" I prefer to be bare or sock-footed.
- He's a football fanatic. Having grown up with a father who not only watched football every possible moment but also bet on the games and reacted not so well when his team lost (what is a point spread, anyway?), I never thought I'd marry a man who, like my father, can become a little, um, excited about the games when his teams are playing. Especially if they're not playing well. Along the way, though, something funny has happened -- I now find the sound of football on television oddly comforting. Go figure.
- I read a lot of books. My husband reads, but not like I do. And the great thing is, I can read while he's watching all those football games. But it still surprises me that I married someone who doesn't love to read the way I do.
- He loves war movies. My husband could watch "The Shawshank Redemption" (which is always on television, somewhere) or "Saving Private Ryan" every night before we go to sleep, which- for me - is a not-so-great way to drift off to dreamland. I don't like war movies at all. Luckily he's far less discriminating about what he'll see and let's me choose when we go out to the movies. And he buys me popcorn, too.
- He's a saver. I'm a spender. If it were up to him we'd still have the ugly blue sofa and orange naugahyde easy chair and footrest that he had when I met him. It's a good balance -- though I think he still misses that chair.
- I'm not the least bit athletic or outdoorsy. I know that deep down -- or maybe not so deep down -- my husband wishes I would be more active, hike and jump and run and play with him. It's not going to happen.
- He was raised in Wisconsin, where bratwurst is considered a basic food group. I had never had a bratwurst until I met him -- I was raised in New York, the land of frankfurters.
One of the reasons our marriage has lasted?
We stay together because we decide, every day, to love each other.
Even on those days when we truly can't stand to be in the same room. Even on those days when the Green Bay Packers are playing and my husband morphs into Loud Screaming Fan Man, eating his brats while I hide in my bedroom with a book. Even when I come to bed and he's watching Tom Hanks lead a band of misfit soldiers in search of a last surviving son. Even when the UPS man delivers me packages containing shoes I certainly don't need.
Previously published on Empty House Full Mind