The man I thought I’d marry, and the man I actually did

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Once upon a time, I had an idea in mind of the perfect guy for me.  He would of course be kind, smart, funny, etc., but he would also fluent in at least one other language, preferably French.   He would have a reverence for Shakespeare and poetry.   He would choose sensitive art-house movies with subtitles over action-filled movies with explosions.  And — this part was crucial — he would be fully conversant with the works of Jane Austen.

That is not the man I married.

My husband knows programming languages, not French.  He’s not allergic to Shakespeare or poetry, but he doesn’t exactly seek them out either.  Give him the power to pick a movie, and it’ll be one where a rogue cop tries to stop a maniac from hacking military databases and blowing up the world.  And no, he is not even partially conversant with the works of Jane Austen, though he has watched  a few of the movies with me.

But as I get ready to celebrate thirteen years of being married to this guy, I can only look back at my original list and smile.  It’s evident now that I had wanted to marry a male version of myself.  But knowing what I know now about what makes a marriage work, I thank the Lord that I didn’t.  I don’t need to be married to myself.  I need to be married to someone who complements me: with an “e,” not an “i” (though he compliments me too, which is also nice).

My world has grown thanks to him.  It’s better than it was before.  His logical, engineering-mind is the perfect foil to my at-times-anxious-and-angsty one.  He has skills I don’t, like an awareness of spatial relations and the ability to fit everything in a suitcase or a dishwasher.  He has introduced me to the amazing wonderfulness of home-roasted coffee, without which my mornings would be significantly less tasty.  And without his encouragement and his firm belief that writing is one of my charisms, my books and this blog might never have happened.

And he makes sacrifices for me, like watching my new favorite show (“Poldark”) with me, even though his own new favorite show (“Battle Bots”) airs at exactly the same time.   That is love.

So as we prepare to celebrate our wedding anniversary, I look back at all the things I thought were so important in a mate.  The core ones — kindness, intelligence, sense of humor, etc. — those endured.  The ones that didn’t matter fell by the wayside, and new qualities took their place.  Sometimes, as much as we think we know, love knows better.

I guess that is another way of saying God knows better.

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