After 22 years of living with the same person, you get to know a lot about them. Some revelations are nuggets of pure gold, like learning how they love. Others, the little anomalies and quirks you never, ever thought possible coming from another human being? Not so much.
But the beauty and richness of having squatted in this thing called life with just one other person-- for so very long --is that, despite all your yammerings about being independent and keeping your identity, you realize that your lives blend so completely that you cannot breathe easily when they're not around.
You lose your sense of up and down, of light and dark. Without them, independent you feels uneasy and incomplete.
After 22 years, your two lives have no chance but to meld into one. For so long, you trot along in the same way, day in and out, that you carve a worn, familiar path under your four feet. You move as one.
Yet after all that time, it's important to still pay attention and look long and hard enough at your mate to see all the unique, individual things in them that they have brought to the party. Don't overlook the person in deference to the couple. Their hostess gift is a billion tiny contributions that lead up to this one big thing, these 22 years. Honor them by remembering that thank you note. Mine, to my groom, is getting pretty lengthy now that we've been party mates for lo these many years.
Here are 22 things I've noticed, and hopefully, learned from him:
1. Love should not have conditions, but it does. Don't let that stop you from loving deeply.
2. Don't think, just do it. Don't doubt yourself.
3. Eat the best part first. You might be too full if you leave it for last.
4. Dogs and kids deserve patience, love and attention.
5. Remember your mistakes as wisdom for tomorrow, not condemnation.
6. A good friendship requires work. Do the work.
7. If you're going to do it, do it all the way. Don't hold back.
8. Love God.
9. Be the best at everything you try, not because of your talent but because of your dedication.
10. Extra cream and extra, extra sugar.
11. Be 100% yourself. Always.
12. Give unselfishly.
13. If it makes someone happy, do it.
14. Sometimes people won't like you. Their loss.
15. Don't judge the 99% by the 1% .
16. Happiness doesn't have to be champagne on a yacht. It can be hot chocolate at home.
17. And extra marshmallows and whipped cream never hurt anybody.
18. Don't look at the price tag if it will make them happy.
19. Be who you were meant to be.
20. A place for everything, and everything in its place.
21. Be generous without hesitation.
22. Love deeply. It's all about the love.
Gratitude can't even touch how I feel about my groom of 22 years. Try devotion, of the deepest kind. He has been my cheerleader and protector, warrior and friend.
I cannot imagine a life without him, and yet would lay mine down for his. Forever grateful to the Father of all things for choosing us to be who we were meant to be, who we were then (young and lovely!)And who we are today—greys and lumps and bumps and all.
Two spoons, perfectly matched, snuggled neatly and tightly together in a drawer, united by both commonality and diversity. Two lives, refined by heavenly intervention. Two souls, in perfect love with each other.