Most of us get married somewhere in our twenty's when we don't have enough experience to pick a career let alone a lifetime companion. We aren't even fully formed ourselves. In my twenty's I didn't know a thing about love. My parents adored each other and I assumed that's all it took. You fell in love, got married and the happily ever after thing just happened. Somehow your heart would simply pick out the right person.
Obviously, that's not true. So how in the world did I manage at twenty to pick the perfect man for me? I can look back and know it wasn't a decision based on logic. I'm impulsive and Al's idea of acting on impulse is having less than two days to prepare. In high school I dreaded sitting through history. He loved it. I don't carry cash because I can't hold on to it. Al panics when our checking account slips below his comfort zone. (It's a good thing I kept the checkbook during the lean years when a good month meant I had enough money left to buy milk and bread the week before pay day.) I'm an optimist, always sure everything will turn out perfectly. Al plans for the worst. We don't watch the same TV shows and we're not even the same religion. Yet somehow we compliment each other and it works.
We've been married forever, or at least longer than we were single, and every day with him is better than yesterday. Best of all, he makes me feel loved and wanted and even at times beautiful. Trust me, that's a challenge. I have a heartless mirror that shows me every every extra pound and wrinkle. Not that we haven't had our problems. You can't be that different and expect not to argue, sometimes at the top of our lungs. Actually I'm the only one who yells. Al just walks away until he calms down. I used to resent it, wanting to fight it out and then kiss and make up. Now I appreciate the control it takes to walk away when you're that angry, rather than lash out and hurt someone with words or actions that no amount of kissing can erase.
In the beginning love meant physical attraction, wanting to spend time together and having fun, now it means being terrified of having to live even one day without him. My mother once told me the most important thing in a marriage was respect. She said love comes and goes, but if you have respect you'll always have something to build on. She's a smart woman.