We had an extremely rough Father's Day.
My husband and I don't fight much at all; most of our disagreements are settled quickly and respectfully. We're both good at introducing humor to diffuse bad feelings. I'm very fortunate.
But sometimes we really fall down. Who doesn't?
Unfortunately we did just that two nights ago and it took a long, long time to find our way to a place where we could unpack the hurt we were both feeling and look at it all clearly. We did, and we were able to reconcile completely. He turned out to be a little bit out of line, and I turned out to be a lot out of line in the way I dealt with his little bit of out of line-ness, and we walked out of the day having been torn down a fair bit but rebuilt even better.
And my God, I thought. The man I married is so good.
Everyone goes into marriage having made some decisions, consciously or otherwise, about what is most important in a partner and in a partnership. When I met my husband-to-be I had the luxury of coming off a couple of really shitty relationships having done deep soul-digging and psychological repair work of my own, and had decided that what was most important to me in a long-term partner (foundationally, underlying a handful of other "musts" like a wicked and unabashedly dorky sense of humor) was a steady character, a willingness and ability to deeply commit, and a fundamental understanding of and appreciation for the necessity of respect.
I met him, within two years I married him, and I got all of that.
"A steady character" sounds right out of the pages of an advice pamphlet for early 20th century young women looking to marry well, but marriage is not always a smooth sail on the U.S.S. Happy Times. It's a long sea voyage, sometimes quiet, sometimes stormy, best undertaken in a sound vessel with strong and even hands on deck. It's a voyage on the Golden Hind, or, if you want to have a bit more fun, the Queen Anne's Revenge.
I expect to have a son in a few months and the idea of raising a son, boy into man, is a little daunting. I shouldn't worry. He will grow up with a father who, though terribly imperfect as we all are, is a good man. A man who deeply respects women, who lives out his values of loyalty and commitment, and who is, against what seems like all odds in this age of moral ambiguity, selfishness and the expectation of instant gratification, a true gentleman.
I re-learned that about my husband yesterday. And, lo, it made me realize that I want to be a better wife. Old-fashioned, again? Sure. But by the time we're completely grey I suspect we'll have set up a tidy little mutual appreciation society. We'll cross the country with a small Airstream trailer and a Corgi named Frodo Baggins, thoroughly comfortable and doting. There will be knitting.
I think we have a decent shot at that future, of walking through a long life hand in hand, in no small part because he has, frankly, chosen to be better than he really has to be.
Which means that, for me, for the demands of my heart and soul, I chose wisely.
Just like Indiana Jones.