This morning my best friend went into my kitchen and made me my favorite coffee, prepared it just how I like it, brought it to my bedroom and put it on my nightstand as I was struggling to make the transition from asleep to awake. (It was a hard transition. I had a cranky toddler crawling all over me.) I was then told how much I was loved and asked if there was anything else that could be done for me.
If there was ever a best way to wake up, this is it. Well, minus the cranky toddler. And my best friend? He’s also my husband.
The Husband is a great guy. And I really can’t say I’ve done anything to deserve a man as wonderful as he is. I can’t. But what I can do is look back on our life together so far and find out why we have this bliss.
We were college sweethearts, which is an upgrade from the rebound couple we originally were. Born out of a yearning to forget old flames, our relationship started on a shaky foundation that was soon shored up by an inability to be apart. It was my first college romance, and I struck gold.
We made some mistakes along the way. Some were apparent even in the moment; others, only the growth of wisdom over time made clear. We were immature and still growing up, and we said things or did things (or didn’t do things) that were maybe unhealthy or just stupid.
But we never ever gave up. The hardest times were when we were separated by distance or responsibilities. He was in a difficult engineering program, which required more and completely different methods of study than my “easy” biology major. He worked long hours off campus. Later, he took a seven-month internship more than 200 miles away. I shrunk into my wild, early-twenties emotions, the worst of which, to my credit, I was able to hide…er, I mean, shield him from.
When he asked me to marry him almost two years after we first met, I was so shocked I accidentally plopped my elbows into my dinner in an effort to bury my surprised face in my hands. I was completely caught off guard, even if I had already known he was “the One.” Apparently I also forgot to actually say “Yes,” leading The (now) Husband to lose a few pounds of sweat. He explained why he didn’t wait any longer to ask me: after he had recently moved away for his internship, he couldn’t imagine his life without me. Why wait?
We got married a year and a half later (too long of an engagement by far, but that is a story for another day). We lived together during most of that time, and that was when his method of being awesome really began to take off.
And this is the secret: He always puts me first.
As a real-time example, as I finished typing the last sentence, he came into the room that I’m writing in. He mentioned that I had already fixed something that had broken, and I replied, “Yeah, but I need the pliers with the wire-cutters on them. I couldn’t find them. I have some long ends on the wires.”
“You need the pliers? I’ll get them for you!” he beamed, as he picked up a level I had used on the job.
“Oops, I forgot to put that away,” I admitted. I really would have done it, but I forgot it was there.
“No problem! I’ll put it away when I get the pliers,” he said with a smile.
Do you see what I’m saying? I haven’t done anything out of the ordinary to “earn” this. He’s always just done this. I didn’t wash the dishes for an embarrassingly long time when I lived alone: he would wash them all when he visited without me asking and without comment or complaint. I didn’t even think to cook dinner: “What can I cook for you?” I mentioned that I wanted some shelves above my desk to hold all my books and stuff. I didn’t even ask him. But he had a full set of shelves up before the end of the weekend. I mentioned a couple of times over the years that it would be nice to have a guitar again. And even though it was on my heart, I never said much about it because it was really quite frivolous. Then one day he came home and tentatively put a brand new guitar in my hands and waited to see if it would be well-received.
Ladies, I’m not a crier. I didn’t cry when he asked me to marry him, I didn’t cry at our wedding, I didn’t cry when any of our three kids were born. But I cried like a baby when he gave me this guitar I wanted but never specifically told him about. I’m not a “gifts” person; I don’t like buying them and I don’t like the weirdness of getting them. But I’ve never felt so loved as when I did in that moment. It felt like that act of love kind of summed up our relationship: we go forward in faith and love and in a quiet trust that we each other’s best interests at the forefront.
I’m not sure how many wives can count their husbands as their best friends. And I’m sure there are moms, possibly without a husband by choice or circumstance, whom I have offended by, well, boasting about my awesome husband/best friend combo. To those who don’t know the joy of this bond, all I can say is that I am sorry. But some things demand to be memorialized in writing. We’ve had more than a decade of love and I hope we will get many decades more. I’ll toast my coffee to that.