One of the hardest to accept facts of our relationship was that I had not only found someone who loves me, but someone who genuinely likes me. That might sound surprising given that we have been married and have been living together for years, but think about it for a moment. Someone who sleeps in the same bed with you every night, wakes up with you every morning, knows all your dirty laundry and still likes you.
It is different with family. We don’t choose the parents we are born to or pick our siblings out of a line up. They are just there, for better or for worse. We don’t have to like them, they are family and we are expected to love them. It is very different with the mate we decide to build a life with.
I could always relate to the reasons the best of all husbands’ mother thought I was a good catch. She was impressed by the European car, the solid job and the academic title. All very solid reasons why I should score high in the future son-in-law competition. Once I had passed the deciding question: “Are you a democrat?” I knew I had her endorsement. On my family side, my sister told me after she had met Jeff, that if I let him get away, it would be my own fault if died alone. She still isn’t sure how I snagged such a sweetheart of a husband.
I used to think that what I had accomplished would attract my man and for the longest time I was puzzled that I did not have a line of applicants out my front door. Perhaps my doubt that anyone could ever like me had something to do with it? It was easy to list all I had done or owned, but it never quite seemed to be part of me.
Even after we had started to go out, dated and moved in with each other, I had the sneaking suspicion that my dear hubby was in it for the stuff. Not that I would have ever admitted that to him or myself. What other reasons could there be that an attractive, smart and talented guy, who everyone wanted to talk to, wanted to hang out with me? And he wants to live with me, marry me, spend the rest of his live with me? Seriously.
So for a while I worried about what would happen when the stuff disappeared, if I lost my job or had to move. What would happen then? Here I was, finally with everything I ever wanted, and it felt like it was about to run through my fingers like so much sand. Much of the time, I kept all this to myself. Talking about it seemed like asking for trouble, like causing the inevitable to happen even sooner.
Though I had enough common sense left to watch how the two of us were doing. I wondered why I loved and liked Jeff. Yes, his looks made me notice him at first, but I notice a lot of guys. What made me want to get to know him better was his dedication to his family, his faithfulness to his friends and the sheer kindness of his heart. No stuff involved at all. Could he possibly see something like this in me?
When I was off work for several weeks last year, following surgery, he looked after me and worried whether the house was still neat enough now that I wasn’t helping with the chores. He slept with me in the downstairs bedroom since I couldn’t come up the stairs. It was crowded and uncomfortable, yet he was there.
So for the time being, I have adopted a new working theory. Jeff likes me for who I am. Hard as it is to accept, but the facts force me to this conclusion. Or to quote Sherlock Holmes, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”
This article was first published at Frontiers LA.