My husband and I celebrated our 10th anniversary on June 2, 2011. As a joint gift to each other, we traveled to London and Paris sans kids for the 11 days leading up to our anniversary. Ten feels special and worthy of congratulations. Being married in double digits isn't easy, and it would be a Big Fat Lie to say that every day of those 10 years has been filled with the same level of optimism and passion as we felt on our honeymoon. Some downright awful things have happened. We've dealt with family stress. We've bickered a lot and occasionally fought. But we've also laughed so hard we hiccoughed with exhaustion and cried happy tears at the sight of each other holding our three newborn children. Through it all, I remain convinced that falling in love with and marrying my best friend was the smartest decision I ever made.
In the spirit of starting out our second decade of marriage on a blissful note, I'm going to name 10 things I love about my husband. No need to look away, siblings, these are all PG rated.
- The man knows his way with a map. He may not have been an Eagle Scout (like my stepsister's husband), but his years of Scouting and general sense of exploration make him a natural leader wherever we go. I've never wondered "how do we get from... the Marais to the Eiffel Tower or from our campsite to the hiking trail or the mall to our parking space" because he always knows. I, on the other hand, routinely get off of elevators at familiar places and walk in the wrong direction.
- The man can talk about anything. I'm not saying he's a Genius, and he has only beaten me at Scrabble twice in our entire marriage + courtship (15 years!), but he reads enough periodicals and nonfiction books (and half-listens to all my movies and pop-culture chatter) to talk about almost anything. He's not an expert, but he can hold his own -- and charm his way -- through a conversation with new people.
- He complements me. Notice the "e." He's not a big complimenter, but he does pick up the Ying to my Yang. I'm observant of people but not places (hence my nonexistent sense of direction), and I read fiction and remember birthdays and know random, obscure details about everyone I've ever met. He reads historical tomes and knows how to tie knots and remembers the differences between architectural styles and can take a bicycle apart and put it together again. I can list every movie Denzel Washington has ever made, and he can list all of the Senators. We make a kick-ass team at Trivial Pursuit.
- He's funny. Even when I protest too much and occasionally shush him, I can't deny that he's a funny, funny man, and he's always good for a laugh.
- He doesn't take himself too seriously. I've met more ridiculously Arrogant men with over-sized Egos than I care to acknowledge, and while I wouldn't call my husband humble, he's self-confident without being a Big Jerk (to others at least; he can, I admit, be slightly condescending when talking to me!).
- He calls me on my Crazy. It's not always pleasant, but he knows when to humor me and when to confront me if I'm being irrational or oversensitive or generally a mad woman. He could just ignore me, but he cares enough to let me know (sometimes gently, sometimes not-so-gently), that I need to take a look at how I'm acting, and I'm thankful for the checks and balances.
- He's handy. No, he's not going to single-handedly rewire our house, but he can assemble furniture; fix electronics and appliances; and act the role of family IT consultant without too much fuss. He doesn't panic when there's a storm and the lights go out -- he just gets our emergency bag and doles out the flashlights.
- He appreciates my "gifts." Hmmm, those quote marks look kind of naughty, but I mean my accomplishments, my talents, my work -- whether with our children or professionally. When I had my first review in the Washington Post earlier this Spring, he ran out and bought a bunch, so we could save the clip, even though it's available online. When I told him a few weeks ago that I want to write a YA novel, he didn't laugh and say "Suuuuure." He said "Do it!"
- He gets me. We're different (what partners aren't), but he understands me and takes care of me and knows when I need a cuddle or a kind word or am grieving for my mother or fed up with the housekeeping or frustrated with the kids. I know I'm the most important person in his life, and that he's devoted to our marriage.
- He loves musicals. "The Simpsons." "Battlestar Galactica." "Lost." U2. Bruce Springsteen. Arcade Fire. Stevie Wonder. HBO documentaries. Classical music "hits." Art museums. Mumford and Sons... etc. etc. etc. He forgives me my continued commitment to "Grey's Anatomy" and Harry Potter fanfiction, and I forgive his need to watch "How It's Made" and "MythBusters" incessantly, because we can share in so many pop-culture loves together. It seems trivial, I know, but seeing as we have faith and politics in sync, our cultural interests needed to gel as well. Thank God.
Picture: From our afternoon tea at the Langham Hotel's Palm Court.