Marriage is a partnership. It is a bond. It is a source of love and a commitment to someone you often can't stand to be in the same room with. Let's face it, marriage is not what the movies or television portrays it to be, but I'm great with that. If it were all roses and kisses, we would never appreciate the well ... roses and kisses.
When I first met my husband Dave, I spent months trying to find something wrong with him. I know this sounds terrible, but I just couldn't imagine being lucky enough to find someone like him at that point in my life.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a scary cat lady living between boxes and old food containers stacked up to the ceiling of a home I haven't stepped outside of in five years. But I am also not a 25-year-old model working on my Ph.D. in nuclear physics. I'm full of both flawed and fantastic.
When I met Dave, I was a working, middle-aged widow with five children — including two sets of twins — and they were all teenagers. In many respects, I feel the cat lady would have been more attractive to this man who was a successful veterinarian, with no children and a quiet life.
For the months leading up to our wedding, my sideways glances became fewer, as I realized he wasn't perfect either. In fact, it was a relief. He too, was both blemished and brilliant.
We have been together almost ten years and have three adorable grandchildren who call Dave "Papa." I now see why he says he got the better end of the deal. However, I still feel he deserves a medal for the nights we spent waiting up for kids and listening to the drama that goes along with adolescent tragedies.
We've only had a couple fights — one was over the dead head of an elk being hung in the living room. I won that one — no dead heads in the house. And another about whether or not the dogs should sleep in our bed. He won that one — they sleep on big pillows on the floor. In other words, our "fights" are really nothing more than goofy disagreements that allow us to banter and eventually make up. We refuse to let any issue become something that would injure what we've got. We both know that nothing is more important than us.
Being older and wiser has taught me some very important things about marriage, love and commitment. I know how incredibly rewarding it is to diligently work and nurture that relationship. I love having someone to laugh with. I love the fact that I want to go home after work and that if I get the chance, I leave work early. I love that our future is something we look forward to and talk about over dinner. I love that I love introducing him to others and he feels the same about me. I love knowing that I could lose my job, my house and every material thing I have and know I would still feel blessed because I still had him.
He's not perfect and neither am I. And I'm so grateful for that. Our marriage isn't without faults but it's loving, quirky, funny and full. And most important, it includes the energies and devotion of both of us. Two flawed, but fortunate, human beings who are bound together in a well-worn but wonderful bond and are thankful for that.
There is no greener grass than that right under my feet, but only if I water it and he mows it.
Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins, and a grandmother of two. She is a cookbook author and novelist. Her website is at talesofthedinnerbelle.com.