The occupational hazards of living with someone for years are many. Among them is the ability to know that they will wear the same shirt and trousers together at least sixty percent of the time, always listen to a certain kind of music, tell a certain kind of joke, read a particular author with great enjoyment, and another for edification. They will almost always eat the same foods, drive the same way, enjoy the same people, and want to do the same things for relaxation. They become, predictable, comfortable, and taken for granted. Like an old sweater, shoes, or a favourite pair of pajamas. The occupational hazard of predictability and taking someone for granted is one of the most dangerous hazards a couple can fall into. All of the advice givers for marriage will tell you that. They will list a long list of reasons why and then tell you how to avoid doing it. All that is fine and good, but it doesn’t always apply to every couple.
For instance, I like it that you remember that I like Dr. Pepper in a glass without ice and that I tend to want to sleep on the right hand side of the bed. You know I hate it when the cupboard doors are left open and I always need the closet doors shut at night. I like it that you know I will love certain movies, and hate others, that I am crazy about musicals and I don’t care for mystery novels. You know that I am equally divided between the colours red and yellow, but that anything in hunter green will please me. You remember that I am a collector of small boxes and anything with a fox on it. I like it that you know what art I find wonderful, and that I would want to see a certain exhibit without question when it come around. I like it that you know I want Onion Rings with my burger if possible, not fries, and that I am particular about what goes on my burger.
You know what music I like, most of the time, and that we can dance, listen, and sing along to the same favourite songs thrills me. I love the old sweat shirts you wear and the jeans you just can’t part with, along with your Greek fisherman’s hat. I like it that you tell me about your computer knowledge even thought you know I don’t understand half of what you are trying to tell me. It makes me happy when you see something on the internet, or in a book, or magazine, or newspaper that you know will interest me and take the time to make sure I see it. I am always pleased when you remember my interests in literature and try to understand as I prose on and on about things that you have absolutely no interest in, yet you go out of your way to understand.
I like the way I never know if your are going to start dancing or singing at any given moment, and yet, you are sensitive to my need to do the same thing. I like the way we love to go to the same places on holiday, yet never get bored because we both like to discover new and interesting things. We even go see things that would bore the other, and take turns doing it, so we both get to see what we want and still give a gift of understanding to the other. I know you will always find our way around in a strange city, and you know that if I drive, we rarely get lost. I love the way you read so intently, and you tolerate the fact that my mind wanders and sometimes I don’t hear you.
There are any multitude of mundane things you do for me. I know you will always pick up empty glasses and do the dishes if I don’t get to them first. Not because you are making a comment on my housekeeping, but because you don’t mind helping out. I like the way you help make the beds, and help me move the living room furniture around for the third time when you thought it was fine the way it was in the first place. I love the way you will go with me to the grocery even though you hate to, and then end up buying all kinds of things I would never have thought to get. I know that if we go into a computer, hardware, electronics, or bookstore, you will spend a minimum of thirty minutes just looking around and not buy a thing, except what you went in to buy.
I know all these things about you and you know all these things about me, but does that mean we have fallen into the hazard of taking one another for granted? Are we too predictable? Maybe, sometimes.
There are the times, however, when we surprise one another with something new about ourselves. Try something new as a couple, like dancing. Discover a new talent, thought process, idea, ability, desire to learn something different. We are often amazed at how alike we are and how very different. We have been together a very long time, and I still feel that there is so much I will never know about you. Not because you hide it, but because you haven’t discovered it yourself yet. I feel that there is so much more to me than you know as well, and in time we will make these discoveries together.
You make me feel alive, passionate, funny, and intelligent. I know you are the most honest of men, you have integrity, and intelligence beyond my comprehension, and that you will do anything you must to protect your family from hurt, want, or need. You are a dedicated husband, father, friend, son, and brother. You love those who love you with an intensity that you don’t comprehend. And you are loved in the same manner. Everyone looks up to you, admires you, and tries to emulate you. I know that in your career there are few who have the abilities you possess and that you can be or do anything you wish. I know that you are loyal, determined, and strong willed and that you are a natural leader. I know that your colleagues are amazed at your comprehension and knowledge of the work at hand and in the future.
You are, in short, funny, loving, passionate, intelligent, gentle, romantic, determined, honest, caring, devoted, strong willed, and the man that I have loved for fourty-one years. Do we have the occupational hazard of predictability? Maybe, sometimes. However, I am blessed to have you in my life and that you know me so well. I can only hope you feel the same way.