This is part three of a three part series on different aspects of Mike. Today’s installment is on Mike the husband.
I still struggle with the way my wife communicates and receives love. She thrives on touch. I could go an entire day without being touched and it doesn’t bother me. A simple act of holding hands or the soft placement of a hand on a shoulder means a lot to my wife. And yet I have no issue with holding my daughters until they are the ones to end the hug. I turn into Lennie Small. I want to squeeze them and never let go. I didn’t have a husband role model while growing up since my parents divorced when I was very young. I never saw a healthy interaction between a husband and wife. I really never gave much thought to getting married.
I guess I really just planned to be single all my life and party away the years. Oh, the ignorance of youth! I had girlfriends of varying lengths of time and some actually made me think that I could possibly look into checking out the potential for the option of marriage one day. The last girlfriend I had didn’t start out very promising at all. We hated each other from the beginning. We were both very wrapped up in ourselves. She was an actress and I was a musician living the single life. I was up for meeting new people and she was a new person, just not the type that I was interested in dealing with. I knew that I had enough baggage of my own and actors easily have tons more. We hung out in the same circle of friends. As a matter of fact, she went to college with my brother, which was how we met. As most young men do, I noticed how amazingly gorgeous she was.
In spite of the air of drama that always hung around her, I was smitten with her talent. My initial thought was, if I could just date her and not ever have to talk to her or listen to her problems, then there was a chance that things could work out. I was always reminding myself how annoying she could be and how much she disliked me. But again, I need to stress that she was hot!
Our first interaction should serve as enough fodder for the faulty foundation of our relationship. I was at a party that she was hosting. She collected Coca-Cola memorabilia. One such item was a Coke calendar that she had on her kitchen wall. I was hanging out and was admiring the calendar. As I leaned in to get a closer look at the detail, a voice shot towards me from across the otherwise empty kitchen, “Don’t touch that!” I would use more exclamation marks, but I read somewhere that is obnoxious and tacky. I’m fighting the urge really hard, because that is how I heard it. Keep in mind that she was a trained actor who had the projection skills of Banshee from the X-Men. I won’t lie, I did feel the earth move just a little bit with this first interaction.
I snarkily replied, “I’m not going to touch it. I’m just looking!”
“Whatever, just don’t touch it!”
“Good, then don’t!”
From that illustrious first conversation, we set off on our journey. Before coming to hang out with our mutual friends, she would inquire if I was going to be attending. I would show up regardless just to check her out, because, I don’t know if I can express to you how hot this girl was. This sort of thing went on for a few months until the night that changed everything between us.
We were staying up late at a friend’s house watching Down Periscope (“Prepare for dive!” If you love this stupid movie, you just heard that line in your head. If not, then you are most likely shaking your head with your brow wrinkled trying to figure out why I would write this parenthetical sentence.) Everyone left or was turning in for the night and this particular girl, I should make sure to mention that she was absolutely gorgeous, had fallen asleep on a couch in the living room. Somehow we were the only two left in the living room and I was just going to crash on a second couch as it was really late.
I took a blanket and laid it over her and went to my couch to call it a night.
I fell asleep, but was quickly awakened by a creepy feeling like someone was watching me. I slowly opened my eyes to find this girl standing over me with a wide-eyed smile. I jumped up and she started talking about marriage and our future and how I was the perfect guy for her. I ran out of that house and never looked back.
Okay, wait. That’s not true. Let me back up before that last paragraph to when I called it a night.
Doodley-doo, doodley-doo, doodley-doo, doodley-doo . . .
We are backed up a bit now.
Before I could go to sleep, the hot girl came over and started talking with me. At first, I thought she was coming over to smother me with a pillow, but I soon realized that she was there on peaceful terms. That conversation turned into an all night talking session and by morning all the issues between us were cleared up. We never had any kind of verbal agreement, but I think we started dating that night. Eighteen years later and that hot girl is my wife and I still love late night talking sessions with her. We both love telling our story and she always gets the details wrong (hey, it’s my blog!) but the simple truth is that I had realized that my plans had changed that night.
As with parenting, I’m still a work in progress as a husband. I’m happy to say that I am a much different husband than I was the first year or two of our marriage. That change did not come easy, though. I had to learn one very important thing. I could not change her. We both still had that baggage, but it was easier to ignore that it was going to impact our marriage than to deal with it up front. We both learned that we would never be able to change the other.
After three separations & infidelity, the one thing that came to light was that we needed to allow God into our marriage. We each started asking God to change us to make us the best husband and wife for each other. Just as I believe that I am the best parents for my kids, I wanted to be the best husband for my wife. And the only one who would know what that looks like is God. Once we started to pray that God would change us instead of changing the other person, our marriage took off. That’s not to say that things were perfect from then on out.
O’ contraire, mon frere!
We still had bumps along the way. To this day, I would never pretend like we’ve made it. We are a young couple and have learned a lot in our years, but there is a long way to go. No one likes to humble themselves. I still find myself fighting to swallow humble pie whenever it is served. But, it really is an acquired taste. I’ve often thought how much less of a weight issue I would have if I could just cut back on all the humble pie I’ve had to cram down my gullet.
Now, just to clarify, I do understand that humble pie is not an actual pie. Although I would like to suggest that it could easily be replaced by a baked good from a kitchen located anywhere within and up to a mile outside the legal boundaries of the city of Humble, TX. I just felt the need to insert that for your “clari” and “edi” -fication.
I am thankful that I finally learned to correctly prioritize my life, otherwise I don’t think that we could have lasted. Thinking about what it would be like if I took the struggle that Babosh had when Stonewall was born and multiply that by six. Once the kids move out and start families of their own, we will be all we have left. And if all the years are spent with the kids as number one, in the end, all I would have is a stranger who used to be this hot girl that I once sat up with all night and had a great time.