Friday, April 09, 2004

His and Hers VI  

His and Hers is a question or discussion topic relating to marriage that I post every Tuesday or Wednesday (though I forgot to do that this week). On Friday, my wife and I each write our thoughts on the topic. I invite other bloggers to do the same with their spouses as an exercise in celebrating marriage. This week's question is:

What trait first attracted you to your spouse? How do you feel about that trait now?

Mrs. Happy's response

Hugs, hugs, hugs! Hands down, no doubt about it, Curt's hugs are the most wonderfully endearing trait that he possesses. When he and I were "just friends," he would hug me at the end of every get together, whether it was at church or after a long night of card-playing or movie-watching. I remember one Sunday morning that I was feeling particularly lonely and insecure, standing on the outskirts of a group of friends, and as Curt was talking to some of them, he simply reached out his arm and pressed me to his side in a gesture of absolute unconditional love and acceptance. He has a rather small frame, but that hug would just envelop me and assure me that all was right with the world, especially his adoration of me.

Now that we're married, Curt has a much broader repertoire of ways to show his love and devotion every day, but the hugs are no less important. In fact, functionally the hugs have become more varied to adapt to different situations. There's the hug for greeting me at home after a long day, the hug for support when I've had a terrible day, the needy hug when he's had a terrible day, the hug after an argument that says "I'm not upset anymore," and the sleepy hug that ushers us into bedtime, just to name a few. In addition to absolute unconditional love and acceptance, the hugs are now gestures of a sweet familiarity, a solid protection, a tender intimacy, and a warm comfort. And as sure as he is nearby, they are always available. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go make sure I've spoken accurately.

Curt's response

I had a unique relationship with my wife in college. She was young, cute, and sweet, and I had no romantic interest in her. At that point in my life, I would customarily obsess over the romantic possibilities of a relationship with any woman who had even one of those characteristics. I think God must have put a damper on those feelings where she was concerned so that I could get to know her without an agenda, as a person rather than as a possible wife. So it took me a while to see her as a long-term possibility. One of the things that first attracted me to her personality was her compassion and her recognition of humanity in others.

For several years before we married, my wife and I ate lunch together regularly, at least when our class schedules allowed it. One day, she didn't show up for lunch. I waited twenty minutes and saw no sign of her. I then left our regular meeting place to see if she had gone to any of our three regular eating spots. Not finding her anywhere, I returned to the meeting place one last time only to find it completely unpopulated. I figured that she had found something better to do and didn't get a chance to tell me ahead of time. I've had plenty of experience with being blown off by friends who don't realize that I have feelings underneath my well-composed exterior. By the time I entered college, I had resigned myself to the fact that my personal emotions and attachments mattered very little to other people. I didn't think that she would leave me high and dry like that, but I had grown accustomed to disappointment.

I left our meeting place to find a spot where I could eat alone. About a minute later, I heard someone call my name from a distance. I turned around, and there was my wonderful friend running toward me with all her might. She apologized profusely and told me that she had gotten hung up after class with a professor. She said she felt horrible and was worried about how I would feel when she took so long showing up.

That's a small thing, I guess, but her concern about my feelings touched me deeply and endeared her to me forever.

I still love that about her. She's always acutely aware of what others are feeling. She's the only person in the world who can consistently discern what I'm feeling. That's a rare trait in a friend, and it's even better in a wife.