Friday night Dave and I stacked 2 cords of wood. That may not seem like a major event-- and in all actuality, it wasn't-- but it was one of those events that remind me I married the right man.
We were planning a bonfire for Saturday, in honor of what would have been his Dad's 81st birthday. Earlier this week we had a load of firewood delivered.... which I unintentionally had dumped right next to the fire pile... which I realized after they drove away. Between coaching, open houses, and general exhaustion, we couldn't get to this task until Friday around 6. He grabbed a beer (I grabbed my second) and we started moving the pieces that abutted the burn pile. Without speaking, we found a rhythm: he loaded into the wagon, I pulled isolated pieces, one at a time and walked them back and forth until the wagon was full, and then I helped push it up the ramp while he pulled. He put The Pogues on, and we chatted and stacked the evening away. At one of the trips into the house, he asked the kids who was making dinner, and they stepped to that task without question. (My plan to have them each cook dinner one night a week has fallen down, but it's stuck enough for them to continue to gain knowledge and confidence.) We were going to stop when we got the pile a safe distance away, but it was still light, and we were not hurting, and honestly, we were having fun together. We finished up as darkness fell.
There's the age old question of how to choose a life partner: should it be someone who you makes your heart go pitter-pat or someone with whom you enjoy spending time? Obviously, the hope it you get both... but as I've said a few times over the years, even chocolate chip cookies can get boring when you have one for lunch every day. I can honestly say I had some doubts on my wedding day. Was I marrying the right man for me? Would we end up in a loveless marriage, hating each other? When I looked at our bestfriends, I didn't think we had the same relationship they had. But I had to trust that I knew what I was doing, and on we went down the isle and into our life together.
At times, that first year was rough. Blending the needs of two independent adults is harder than it sounds. We never fought, but learning how to compromise without losing yourself in the process takes time. We were committed to making it work; not in an overt way, but it was a fact we didn't question. He knew what I needed, sometimes when I didn't. And he could always make me laugh.
It turns out we didn't have the relationship of our friends. If you had told me that only one of our marriages would last, I never would have imagined it was ours. Looking back, I should have known we'd be ok: not only were we both committed to being happily married in 50 years, but we were also happy spending time together. We didn't have to take our clothes off to have a good time.
Everyone in America knows half of all our marriages end in divorce-- but
that also means half of them make it to death do us part... which brings me back to our wood stacking date Friday night. Working together towards a common cause. Good music. Great conversation. Laughter. And enough love to get us through anything that may come our way. If that isn't the recipe for a successful marriage then I don't know what is. I'll love you 'til the end.