What is Bliss? Is it knowing you’ve finally met The One, the person who completes you, as Jerry Maguire so eloquently said in the movie of the same title? Is it rarely disagreeing and finishing each other’s sentences? Is it finding that one person on whom you know you can land when things get scary or uncertain? Is it knowing you’ve married your best friend, the one who makes you laugh and smile and love life?
I don’t think so.
Bliss is waking up next to the person who kicked you all night, forced you to scrunch your legs up into the fetal position just so you can fit on the damned bed and you realize that despite the bruises, you still love him and would choose no one else with whom to share your bed.
Bliss is knowing he saw you move your bowels while you pushed your son or daughter out of your hey-nanu-nanu and he can still look in your eyes, call you beautiful, and appreciate the miracle of life that emerged from your ravaged body.
Bliss is when you can scream at each other, get red faced, slamming the door as you leave the house because you need a chance to cool down, and you know when you come back, he’ll be there just as apologetic as you. And you never once doubted the stability of your relationship, no matter how mad you got.
Bliss is when he eats so much garlic that his morning breath is garlicky, and even though you can’t stand garlic, you’ll kiss him good bye before you leave for work anyway.
Bliss is when he doesn’t like to read, but he’ll say something about a blog post of yours, just to prove to you he does pay attention sometimes.
Marriage is hard. I’ve learned from my own marriage that it takes work and committment, biting my tongue when I’m about to say something mean-spirited because of something stupid like when I’m aggravated that he forgot to replace the roll of toilet paper and I’ve gotten stuck in a compromising position. Just because I’m comfortable enough with him to say whatever flies out of my mouth doesn’t mean I should, which takes putting his feelings before my own. It also means forgiving him for not biting his tongue when he probably should have just because I have six books and three knitting projects scattered over the house and haven’t gone through the mail in three days. Okay, a week.
When I think of my future, he’s in it. I don’t even notice that anymore. It just is. I do think of him as completing me. He’s The One. I finish his sentences, which really gets on his nerves sometimes. He makes me laugh, and I’m not embarrassed when I snort in front of him. He is my best friend, the one to hold me when the world gets scary. I’m the one he calls when one of his bosses treats him like crap and he needsd a reality check before saying something that could get him in trouble. I’m the one he calls when he’s worried about his new position coming through before the bills are due. He looks to me for reassurances when he’s wading through uncertain waters, be it for helping him through a surgery or helping him train to pass the police fitness test to be considered for a new job, and maybe something more lucrative so we’re no longer scraping by so thinly.
We are each other’s bridge over the river rapids, and each passing day is a nail driven into that bridge, strengthening it, each month and year another plank, another section across the mighty river of life over which we pass. Some days, there are storms the likes of which few have seen, when we are scared ourselves, but we always end up finding each other to cling to, hanging on as a team instead of trying to power through the wind and rain alone. Some days, the view from the bridge is spectacular, splashed with reds and oranges of the glorious sunset and we can see down the bridge as far as our eyes will let us. The way is clear, and though we know we’ll stumble and fall a few hundred planks away, there’s no doubt the other will be there to help the fallen one regain balance and march on.
Somehow, against all the odds, across three states and through the crackle of a tenuous phone line connection, we found each other (a story I may tell later this week). I believe I was meant for him, and he for me. I believe that with every fiber in my body I am exactly where I’m supposed to be: in his arms, smelling his garlicky morning breath and kicking his legs back, fighting for just a little more room on my side of the bed.
Happy Anniversary, Love. What an eight years it’s been!