Husbands: reminding your wife why she married you is never a bad idea.
Wives: reminding yourselves why you married your husband is also never a bad idea.
He didn’t mean to, but Ryan said something to me the other day that made me remember why I wanted to get all up on that in the first place.
We were getting ready for bed and I was complaining about having LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” looping around in my brain for the last few days. (I’ve included a helpful link in case you desire to have six minutes of party rocking followed by several days of pure torture.) I even quoted him my favorite line: “In the club, party rock/Lookin’ for your girl? She on my jock.” I don’t know if you’ve seen this dude, but it’s pretty hard to believe that if we were all in the club and Ryan couldn’t find me that I’d be on this guy’s jock instead of off taking a pee or something.
Everyone knows that one remedy for Song in the Head Disease is to replace it with an equally catchy, hopefully less annoying song. Ryan offered to do this for me to, as he put it, “clean my mental landscape.”
And that was it. That was the moment. Ryan offering to clean my mental landscape suddenly made me remember why I fell in love with him, agreed to commit myself to him for life even though he’d probably leave dirty socks all around the house and dutch house me (which is like a dutch oven, except much harder to escape) twice a week for the rest of my life. It wasn’t what he said. It was the way he said it. This man offered to clean my mental landscape.
For those of you who don’t know our story, or need a reminder, here it is. While on staff with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in San Francisco, I made an out-of-character decision to join some friends on a last-minute trip to the YWAM base at Pismo Beach, where Ryan was on staff. We stayed at one of the staff houses – the one Ryan happened to live in. When I first laid eyes on him, I says to myself, “Oh! Hot guy on the couch.” We had some chats. I made tasteless jokes while throwing him Red Vines. I felt a brief twinge of regret when we left the next morning, knowing instinctively we could be good friends if we didn’t live so far away (San Francisco to Pismo Beach is about a 4 hour drive, but it feels much longer on a missionary’s salary).
He revealed to me (much later) that he had developed a quick appreciation for my backside. That, along with my unsavory jokes, motivated him to hit up one of our mutual friends for help finding my MySpace profile (the Facebook of the mid-2000’s). He wrote me this short, epic email where he used the word “hell” (as in “what the hell”), told me he thought I had a good personality, and that we should be friends. The email ended with an apology for using “hell” in case I was offended by his “use of fire and brimstone.”
For a language nerd like me (I actually laugh while reading the dictionary – cause it’s funny…?), referring to a such a dainty swear word as “fire and brimstone” is like eating a brownie sundae, but with my brain cells instead of the normal way. Ryan’s email was like the refrigerator to my magnet. The clean shirt to my baby spit-up. In the next few weeks, more emailing happened, online chatting happened, phone conversations happened. I found out he had a birthday approaching and sawed the head off a G.I. Joe action figure and sent it to him, the little severed head rolling around in a bubble mailer. He loved it, and we started dating.
Because I still had another 1.5 years in San Francisco, we weren’t able to see each other much. One weekend in January of 2006, I rented a PT Cruiser, drove down to Pismo, and returned to San Francisco with an engagement ring.
Five months after I left San Francisco, in March of 2007, we got married on Pismo Beach, close to the spot where we kissed for the first time. I know! We are so adorable! Probably even more adorable than puppies. Or those disgusting memes where zebras nuzzle kittens with a quote about world peace or racial harmony or whatever.
Fortified by lots of time getting to know each other and some good premarital counseling, we had a strong start. But you know…people forget where the hamper is located. Other people get pregnant and yell at their husbands for leaving a single mac and cheese noodle on the counter. Then, these people become parents.
If I had to pinpoint the time when I most needed a reminder of why I married Ryan, it would be during our first year of parenting. One night during B.T.’s first year, my husband achieved ten solid hours of sleep. I know this because I was keeping count as I repeatedly dragged my ass out of bed to feed baby B.T. during the night. After his sleep-fest, Ryan went ahead and took the entire bag of coffee to work with him, leaving me with zero source of caffeine and no vehicle (besides my trusty legs, of course) to drive to the supermarket or coffee shop. It was the first (but not only!) time I wept over coffee that year.
That incident is the most extreme example of how life was that year, but just tone it down a bit and you have a pretty good picture of what it was like. Parenting seems to be full of extremes: deep joy paired with abject misery. “I love you so much we made this amazing baby together” right along with “I cannot believe you are just laying there asleep right now while this baby is screaming again what is the matter with you.”
Ryan’s unique way with words is not just a quirky part of his personality. It’s actually a bit of a big deal. It’s one of things I like about him. And isn’t it so important not just to love our spouses, but also to remember what we like about them, what drew us to them in the first place? Fake rhetorical question! The answer is YES! Yes, it is. Because Ryan’s personality, who he is, is what gets me past all those small irritations – forgetting to buy milk, throwing dirty clothes directly next to the hamper, or leaving bread crumbs on the counter every single time he makes a sandwich – to get me to remember why I married him in the first place.
If marriage is all about forgiveness, I’m going to propose that it’s much, much easier to forgive someone if there is genuine like to go with all that love.
And I must inform you that since Baby Ham’s birth, Ryan has slept zero ten hour nights and has not once drained our home of its caffeine supply. He’s the coolest!
Solid husband, solid father, and once told me a snake almost decapitated his leg. BAM, America. I win.