So if you had been following me on Facebook you would know that in advance of my recent 40th birthday my husband did the following things:
brought me home a whoopee pie and stuck some candles in it,bought me a dozen red roses,and then deep purple lilies,wrote our vows on the bathroom mirror,packed me a snack for a long day and cut my cheese in the shape of hearts,decorated a coffee cup to say “Cup of Love”, bought me jewelry, and several varieties of chocolate.
For my birthday he got me a t-shirt with my tattoo on it (the one I don’t have on my body). It reads Muirnin 15. Muirnin is Gaelic for “Beloved” and is written on his wedding ring. 15 represents the percent of couples (if you believe in fuzzy math) who are raising a child with a disability and remain married.
His siblings think he’s under the thumb.
The women in my life think he’s amaaaaaaazing.
And the men probably think he’s a show off.
I’m here to tell you that he’s a lot of wonderful things, but he’s not a romantic. Ok, that list of stuff…sure, it’s pretty darn romantic. The thing is, all of it takes great effort for him. With each sappy, romantic thing on that list, Garreth chose me.
Between these grand gestures, there’s a wilderness of unexpressed affection. Garreth is not a particularly demonstrative nor communicative person. These are all of the real spaces where our marriage is lived out. Together we are joyful, hurt, sad, intimate, lonely, fun, healthy, kinda crazy, and a whole lot of other things.
Garreth chooses me in those moments I’ve spent money and instead of panicing he says, “You look beautiful. Give me a fashion show.” (Seriously, I’m a bargain basement shopper so the panic is hardly necessary). He chose me when he drove to the airport to dust the snow off my car. He chooses me when he does dinner alone with the boys because I just have to write. He chooses me every sunday morning when he has “awake snug” with me; those moments in bed where he brings me coffee and we just wake up slowly together.
In my loneliest moments, I choose Garreth because he is a man of integrity who is gentle, kind, and generous to everyone. I’ll take that over flowers and chocolates any day (but don’t tell him that b/c I kinda love that list too). He deserves for me to believe the best of him without assigning negative intentions to his inaction.
We’re not together because “divorce isn’t an option” nor are we together because our marriage is easygoing and full of romance. Garreth and I remain in that 15% because we continue to take the necessary risks to fall forward and support each other even when the 85% is pounding at the door.