Before I met my husband, I was in a relationship with someone else. The relationship with the other guy was on again, off again, and lasted for many years. I often felt confused about other guy’s intentions, his level of commitment. So when things were finally, irrevocably over with him, I decided I would not invest more than a year in a new relationship unless a proposal was forthcoming.
I met my husband’s backside first. He was bent over, wrestling a washing machine into a rental house that I was going to share with a friend. I thought it was a pretty good backside, but I was more impressed with the fact that he was moving a heavy appliance for a girl who was just a friend. All of my prior experience with young men had led me to believe that most of them were too lazy to heft large objects for others.
I went to college with my friend, and over the years, she’d mentioned my husband’s name. She got engaged a lot. When her latest engagement would meet its inevitable conclusion, she would say, “It’s alright. I’ll just go home and marry Brian Super Husband.” I thought nothing of this Super Husband person until I was in close proximity to the back of his legs.
My attraction was instantaneous. He was tall and good looking, and when he smiled, his feelings went into his eyes. I think he was attracted to me as well, because he asked me out within the first couple of days.
As we got to know one another, a couple of things became apparent. First, he wasn’t going to marry my friend; she was engaged to someone at the time. Second, Super Husband and I were two very different people. This message became clear on my first visit to his parent’s house just a couple of weeks after we started dating.
The neighbor called asking for help with a cow. I was from the city and had no idea what sort of help a cow would need. I watched from the safety of the truck as he and the neighbor chased a pregnant cow with the tractor. When they finally caught her, they attached this crane to her hind end and turned a crank. As they toiled over the crank, a calf emerged feet first, eventually spilling out onto the ground covered in this gray goo. Since the cow wasn’t breathing, Super Husband did mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. He had kissed me with that mouth.
As much as this incident shocked me, it also let me know that this was a man who would took care of his shit. He wasn’t much for words, but his actions would always speak for him. I loved him even then.
Three months into the relationship, he said he loved me, too. We spent all of our free time together, and got along very well, but there were obstacles, things I was concerned about. He smelled all of his food before he ate. I thought that was weird. He was Catholic. He drank sometimes. I was Baptist, and no one in my family drank. He used the words damn and hell in some of his sentences. He said, “Where are you at?” and I considered this ending of sentences with prepositions a greater crime than his occasional swearing. He was precise and mathematical; I was a big picture, find your bliss kind of girl. He was a mechanic; I was a musician. He was calm; I was dramatic. He was about actions, and I was about words.
He wasn’t like any man I’d ever known. He’d ask questions. When did you last check the air in your tires? Have you got your purse? Do you want to take your little brother and sister to the movies? How is your money holding out? He listened to me rattle on about my workday, sympathizing with my plights and rejoicing in my victories. He said, “Take your time.” I love that phrase. Take your time. I loved it then and I love it now.
We couldn’t have been more opposite, and yet we fit. However, when we were nearing the eleven month mark, I couldn’t smell a proposal in the air. My self-imposed one year relationship investment followed me around like a ghost. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop, for him to say he wasn’t ready for a commitment. I lived in dread of the day when I would have to break it off.
I went to a wedding in El Paso with my parents the weekend after Thanksgiving. All the way there and all the way back, I thought about how I would live without him. A couple of hours before my parents delivered me to the door of my apartment, I told them about my time limit, and that I would have to break up with him if the relationship didn’t progress. Of course, they said they would support me no matter what I decided. I cried. I cried for about two hours while my parents sat in the front in awkward silence. When we pulled up to my apartment, I still had tears in my eyes. I remember blowing my nose right as we rounded the corner that lead to my front door.
Super Husband was standing at the door to my apartment, waiting. He had part of the newspaper in his hand. After we went into the apartment and greeted one another, he said, “I noticed these rings are on sale. Would you like one for your birthday?”
I looked at the sale flyer. “These are engagement rings,” I said.
“Yes, they are.” He looked so nervous, I couldn’t help but laugh. I ended his misery and said yes pretty quickly. I don’t remember what we did after that, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t involve talking. I wasn’t one bit disappointed at the non-traditional proposal. And even though he wanted to check out the rings that were on sale, I knew that he would never, ever be stingy with the things that counted; his faithfulness, his love, his trustworthiness.
I have never regretted my decision to live my life as Super Husband’s wife. When I was a young girl, I didn’t picture myself with a country boy who could melt me with one look and then fix my dishwasher. But God sent me the man I needed, in His own time. And for that, I will always be grateful.