Today is National Spouse Day, so it seemed fitting to write about the spouse I happen to have. For starters, I don’t actually think I “happen” to have him, I think I was completely, totally, undeservedly blessed with him. Short version: He’s awesome. Long version…well, keep reading.
I met my love one fine day when he delivered a package to my work. In case you are just tuning in, he is a UPS man. The irony of meeting him this way, is that my dad has been a UPS driver for the majority of my life. He has known my husband longer than me, and to say he was thrilled to get him for a son in law would be an understatement. Initial meeting over (full disclosure: he flirted, I had no idea, he left and I didn’t think about him again) and then he sends another driver in to ask if I’m single. Um, who is this guy? After telling this buddy to have whoever Franz is to call me, we arranged for our first date. He picked me up and let me just tell you it was the best first date I have ever been on. For starters, he brought me a present, hello. We went on a double date (something I highly recommend for a first date, no pressure to fill any awkward silence!) with another UPS buddy, and after dinner headed to Starbucks. As we are sitting there, my parents walk in, and I thought my mom was going to try to sink through the floor to avoid us, she was absolutely horrified to “barge in.” My father on the other hand was delighted. He had zero problem shaking the hand of this uncommon gentleman I was with, and accepting the seats said gentleman and his friend pulled up.
That night was the start of something amazing, and I have never regretted saying yes to that UPS man. Ten months after our first date we were engaged, and nine months after that we were married.
An idyllic honeymoon, and a whirlwind of moving, settling in, and starting life…and then suddenly reality set in. That first year of marriage almost broke us. Two imperfect people trying to figure out how to live together is not always pretty.
We both grew up watching our parents struggle, and had each come to the marriage with our own mental list of “things we don’t want to repeat.” But old habits die hard, and figuring out how we wanted to do things differently was rough. On both sides of our families we had the pattern of brokenness leading back a few generations. Abandonment, alcoholism, estrangement, divorce, single mothers. However, I also like to think we have patterns of strength and perseverance. Both my paternal great grandmother, and Franz’s paternal grandmother were single mothers. Franz’s Oma raised two boys in war torn Germany, while my great Grandma packed her and my young Papa up and moved from Arkansas to California to give them a better life. Even looking at our parents marriages, and recognizing the number of times they could have easily walked away, it’s a great thing to see them all still togxether, still doing life, still figuring it all out.
As hard as it was though, I don’t regret anything about that first year. It taught us many things, but one of the best things, was how to fight with purpose. Screaming and yelling gets you nowhere, pointing blame, pointing out when the other person has messed up, doesn’t accomplish much except to build resentment. We came out of that first year with a better sense of who we were together as a team, and how we wanted to maintain that.
Date nights are few and far between these days, four kids and a UPS schedule aren’t always conducive to getting out of the house, but we are finding ways to make that time together happen.A few months ago we completed a building project together, and since then we’ve been kind of addicted to it. He may just be using it as an excuse to buy new tools, but I don’t care. We have spent many hours together in the garage, talking, working together, just being with each other, and it has been awesome.
I would be lying if I said it was all roses and sunshine after that first year of battling it out. We are still human, and sometimes I’m just right and he isn’t (ahem), but we have learned how to turn towards each other and not against each other. Communication is the best thing we have ever invested our time in. True, completely honest, “sharing the ugly” communication. This man knows every inch of my heart, and has proven time and time again that he can be trusted with it. And he cleans. I said he’s awesome right?
This past summer we celebrated ten years of marriage, and I can honestly say it’s been an awesome ten years. We have built a life together that is all ours, and it’s an honor to do life beside him. When he walks in the door at night, it feels like I’m truly home, and I love it. He is kind, he is patient, he works hard, and loves us harder. He gets riled up over the things that matter, but isn’t afraid to apologize when he is wrong. Although, truthfully, he is usually the one who is right. But don’t tell him I said that…