Recently someone expressed concern to me that a close friend might be settling for the wrong guy because she doesn’t want to leave her small town (which ultimately means her choices are limited when it comes to men). I don’t really know this person and her choices are really none of my business but I mulled this over for a bit because it made me wonder if people think this about my relationship- that my husband and I, who grew up, met and married in a very small town (at a very young age), have settled for each other. The truth is some people may think this but I know that I certainly don’t feel that way and after some time I came to the conclusion that the exact opposite is true for me. I didn’t settle for a guy because of this place, I settled for this place for the right guy.
I spent quite a few years wistfully thinking about building a life in a different place. I was drawn to new adventures, bigger opportunities, different cultures and the pace of a more urban life. It was no small thing, this spirit of wanderlust. I felt bored and trapped and sometimes wondered if I’d made the wrong choice. I’m not betraying any trust by sharing this, R knows I felt this way. In fact, my ability to be open and express these feelings to him was vital to my discovery that this wasn’t a deal breaker for us. For some it might be and I’m certainly not saying that my conclusions and choices are what everyone should do but for me, it was absolutely the right decision. The thought of staying in this small town was discouraging but the thought of moving forward without R was incomprehensible. It turns out that location is not a deal breaker, at least not for me.
In addition to where we choose to live R and I have a lot of other differences; so many that more than a few people have commented that we are the epitome of “opposites attract” and one person even seemed puzzled about what draws us together (not in an insulting tone, he was more curious than anything). It comes down to the simple truth that that none of our superficial differences matter. Finding someone who has the same taste in movies, likes to travel or loves science as much as I do would be easy. Not so easy to find are mutual respect, integrity, acceptance, compassion and partnership. He is really and truly my best friend- I can say anything, be anything, change anything or discover anything about myself and he will still not only love me but accept and cherish me just as I am. A marriage with someone who embodies all of this and more is not something I could ever walk away from and certainly not a choice I would make simply because our house doesn’t rest in the perfect place.
Today we hung this on our bedroom wall and will wake up to it for the first time tomorrow, on our 18th wedding anniversary.
And our story really and truly is my absolute favorite. We’ve certainly had our ups and downs and there have been times I didn’t know if we would make it. But we did and we came through stronger, happier and more in love than I could ever have imagined or hoped. After all these years the best part of my day is when he walks in the door. No one else can make my heart race, make me laugh or drive me crazy quite like he can. I wake up each and every day and go to sleep each and every night thankful that he is the one by my side, regardless of where we are lying.