It’s mid-afternoon and for the moment, the house is relatively quiet. It is nap time; the dogs are caught in a lazy embrace on the couch and the buzz from the TV drones faintly in the background. I lean back in our chestnut-brown recliner, my left foot methodically keeping time against the speckled carpet. Gazing out the window at the dishwater gray clouds, I momentarily close and rub my eyes. While the weekend is not yet over, it has been busy: Our house bustling with friends from out-of-town, rich smells wafting out of the kitchen, and plenty of good conversation filled with laughter. I am tired, but in a good way. I think back to an earlier conversation we had this weekend. It was late at night, after the kids went to bed. The couple staying with us, along with my wife and I, are sitting around the table enjoying each others’ company. The topic of married life came up. The husband spoke about how a good marriage is not “50%-50%”. Rather, its “100%-100%” with each spouse giving his or her all. He continued on, sharing how strong marriages are built from each person trying to be the best husband or wife that they can be.
I came away from that conversation reflecting on my relationship with my wife. I love her dearly and share that with her daily, but don’t always do a good job practically living those words out. Instead of loving her unconditionally, I can take a “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” attitude. I have been, and still am, partial to selfishness and complacency.
In short, I can be an asshole.
The beautiful thing about her, my wife doesn’t expect perfection. She makes mistakes too. In my last session with my counselor, Nate, I made the comment, “she’s not perfect, but she’s perfect for me.” I believe those words wholeheartedly. I can’t imagine doing life without her. My life, and the lives of our children are immeasurably sweeter and richer with her joyful presence.
As I nonchalantly rock in my chair, I steal a glance at her curled up on the couch with one of our dogs. God, she looks so beautiful and peaceful sitting there. How did I get so lucky that this woman picked me? That she saw something beyond mere physical attraction and said, “Yep, that’s the one I want, for now and forever, for better and for worse.”
Its thoughts like that that push me to want to be a better husband, father, and man. I think back to our conversation earlier that weekend with our friends and smile.
She is a gift, and one that I want to never tire of unwrapping.