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On Marriage

alec vanderboom

There's a thread on dealing with the frustration of washing your husband's balled up socks on Danielle Bean's website today. Most of the wives have posted inspiring ideas of dealing with domestic strife with sacrifice, forgiveness, and other heroic virtues. I'm just a baby Catholic, so my virtues of meekness and obedience are in the barely budding stages of development.

The thing that keeps our domestic engine running is the deep friendship that I have with my husband, Jon. When we met on a snowy night in January 2000, we started this fascinating conversation which hasn't stopped in seven years. At our first coffee date, he poured out his entire life story over a Venti cup of Breakfast Blend. I left the date feeling comfortable and "heard."

Then I realized that Jon wore bicycle clip tennis shoes (the kind that snap directly onto bike petals). His shoes made this annoying clumping sound on the sidewalk payment as we walked out of Starbucks together. Saying goodbye to Jon over the distracting noise, I thought "This guy is way too green for me!" Those shoes placed Jon firmly into the "friends only" category for a few more weeks.

Even so, our interesting talks kept me wanting to hang out more with this unusual fellow. The "dating deal breakers" of Jon's tattoos, rambling aimlessness in a career path, and service in the Army Reserves, eventually, seemed to matter a lot less than his incredibly kind heart.

Now, after even more time, I've come around. Jon is the one with a steady paycheck, while I'm the one whose career is aimless. His army medic training comes in handy every day as a father of three. As for the tattoo? How can I not laugh over a biology major's decision to tattoo a salamander to his arm because it is one of the key indicator species of environmental health in his beloved Adirondack State Park?

Meanwhile, the fascinating conversation keeps rolling along-- art, religion, philosophy, biology, world history, along with the added observations of "Today Maria rolled over!" and "Is organic milk worth the price?"

When I'm petty and refuse to talk to my husband over stupid disagreements- the thing that tends to correct my attitude isn't heroic virtue, it's the feeling of being lonely. Remember how you felt in third grade when you fought with your best friend during class and then discovered that there was no one to play with at recess? It's like that feeling, multiplied by a thousand. The emptiness of losing my best friend, and some days what feels like my only friend, turns me fairly quickly around.

That is how we survive the entanglements that lovers, who are roommates and not sleeping well because they keep having babies, occasionally fall into.

And Oprah, I can easily answer the "Why Did I Get Married" Question. I got married for love. Pure, simple, & profound, love.