I have a girlfriend whom is going through a rough spot in her relationship. Though not married, their partnership is registered, which is the equivalent of a marriage in every aspect with an exception to children. My friend and her "husband" have no children, so they are as good as married. And it has been really bothering me, the troubles they are experiencing. I don't know how she is dealing with it all, and I can't seem to get beyond his disrespectful treatment of her. However, she loves him and is willing to do whatever it takes to make the relationship work. It has been making me really dissect my own relationship with my husband...how we have changed over the years since we first met, what my marriage and our relationship means, how we treat each other. And it has made me realize what a wonderful man I married, how much respect he shows me every day of my life, how much he cares and gives and loves. It's not just in how he treats me, but also what a great father he is to my children. And I won't say that there aren't times that he drives me crazy or irritates me to bits, but that doesn't matter, because the basis of our relationship is good, our commitment to each other goes deep, and we respect one another. Erwin may not be happy with how I look, he may get frustrated by my "irrational" outbursts, and he may think I don't take enough pride in my home, but he isn't in this for a wife that has a tv star body, someone like Mrs. Cleaver that cooks and cleans like her life depends on it..he is in it because we share a deep love for each other, he respects my values and thinks that I have enough to offer him in the sense of intelligence, humor, goodness, mothering, and the gift of care. We can laugh together, play jokes on each other, and talk well into the night about things that may or may not matter. I treasure him for his deep love of history and how easily he can bring something from the distant past to life for me today, for his broad knowledge of geography and other cultures, for his simple acceptance of my burned meals and wrinkled shirts. Together we share the same values, believing that unneccessary spending is ridiculous, that a home doesn't need to be a showhouse, that our family relationships have a deep impact on us, and that the best education we can give our children is in the form of travel. Our parenting styles are very different, but our goals are the same...to raise our children to make it on their own, give them a good basis for achieving this, and giving them love in the form of hugs and kisses, clean clothes and full bellies, days out playing as a family, but no top brand clothing, no allowance for doing what they are expected to do as a family member, no gifts eevry time we walk into a store. We share a love of nature and spend the most of our time together enjoying the outdoors, we share a love of travel adn spend the most of our money exploring new places, we share a love of computers and spend free moments enjoying this passion, we share a love for gardening and spend hours and hours making our yard the perfect place to complement our home. We don't believe in living a life beyond our means, but love when we have a little left over to do something special. We are compatible.

I remember back to the beginning of our relationship when I told Erwin a secret that I was scared would turn him away from me, when I wanted this man more than anything in the world, but I knew that this was something that could impact our relationship and something he deserved to know about me...when I told him with tears running down my face, he just pulled me close and told me it was okay, that he loved me for who I am, and that I had no reason to feel any shame. And as he rubbed my arm with tenderness, he asked me if I was okay. That is the man that is my husband. Those are the kinds of things we forget living everyday life with a person, the day in-day out stress of life coming between us. Those are the things I remember as I think about the possibility of our life taking a new direction, of us no longer being together. Erwin is someone I don't want to have to be without. He gives me so much every day of my life. Each morning as he kisses me goodbye and says his ritual I love you and I jokingly ask if he's sure, I know that those aren't words that he takes lightly. I know that as ritual as it may be, he truly does love me. There is noone I would rather have as my partner in life and love, and I am just grateful that my friend's problems have reminded me how good I have it....and how I need to nurture it and keep it alive. It's easy to step away and let daily life overtake our respect for one another, to let worries about children come between the fun we share as a couple, to allow finances to cast a dark shadow over our smiling faces...but when it really comes down to it, nothing matters except respecting each other, individually, as a couple, and as a member of our family. And I have earned the respect of a great man. I hope I give it back in that same devoted manner. Thanks for loving and respecting me, Er...all of me...

No comments: