15 years of marriage this week. It doesn’t seem like that long and that’s a good thing. I have been married once before and I know what a bad marriage is like. That is why I was so reluctant to try it again.
I get different reactions to us as a couple. Some look at us as an odd couple, opposite in appearance, nature, personality, hobbies. I have agreed to that interpretation as well.
I am quiet, introverted, and romantic. I prefer a long quiet walk in a park to a loud party. I enjoy reading, writing, and the arts. I love almost all types of music. I am very patient with people.
Bill is loud and loves to socialize. He’s a storyteller. He listens to Heavy Metal and Yanni. He loves strategy and politics. He is practical and brutally honest. He is boisterous and unafraid of confrontation. He angers easily towards tools and ignorant people. His son, Stefan, moves out of the way if he sees his eyes turn black. (Thoughts of the Hulk come to my mind.) He will stand up for not only himself but for others. Many people think he is taller than he is by his confident gait. He carries a very intimidating knife for everything from cutting an apple (he says only animals gnaw at that their food) to scratching his back.
My sister who met him first said, “You’ve got to meet Bill he is so funny and looks like Charles Manson.”
Why would I find him interesting?
His best friend, Joe also said, “You have to see Bill’s bedroom. He has comic books on one side, weapons on the other, and a bunch of care bears.”
I wasn’t too excited.
I wasn’t into knives or comic books and I hated care bears. Yet I agreed to meet him and that is when I learned the meaning of that the old saying, “you can’t tell a book by its cover.” You might say he is an oxymoron of himself. Within a couple of years we were married.
At first blush, it can seem we are polar opposites. But opposites attract.
In many ways we represent the paradoxes of life: the good/evil, the yin/yang that exists in this world.
Underneath the obvious differences between us, lies a solid value system of trust and respect that displays itself daily. We have much more in common than what others see on the surface.
Bill talks about my latest projects or successes to neighbors and coworkers frequently. “We hear about you all the time,” they say. I blush. Really? Why would this burly, loud, “manly man” talk about his wife while bartending. But he does.
He also comes home and tells me about all the men who complain about their wives and their marriages.
And then there are those moments where our opposite natures complement each other similar to a teacher who places a quiet student next to a hyperactive one.
When Bill is ready to “ring the sales manager’s neck “at Home Depot, he will call me so I can listen to his ranting. My calmness calms him down. (Thus no appearance by the Hulk)
Likewise, when I am prone to a bad mood swing, he is there to poke and tease me into laughing because again out of character, Bill is always in a good mood.
I can’t say Bill has ever bought me a $75 dollar bouquet of roses on Valentine’s Day or even remembered to wish me a happy birthday (without reminding him). But I do remember the time he presented me with a single rose, or on a 95 degree day, after working for 9 hours in the heat, Bill went to the state fairgrounds picking up my favorite fair food to surprise me because I was pregnant and on bed rest; or the sonnet he composed for me, just for the heck of it while on a lake alone in the Boundary Waters.
It isn’t what you do on the designated Hallmark dates that matter but how you treat each other on a daily basis.
Although I haven’t been happier, here is where we switch roles. I am the realist and Bill is the romantic. I believe there isn’t’ any guarantee in life that we will always be together.
Yet, Bill’s answer to this is, “If you divorce me, you can take the house but I’m keeping all the nails.”
Definitely something I need to think about first.