I remember when my husband and I were dating. I can remember him coming over in the evenings. Of course, at first he came over every few days or so, but as time went on and we got to that point where we couldn't stand to be away from each other, it was pretty much every evening. I can remember peeking out of the blinds every few minutes to see if he was driving up yet, and being so excited to see him. I can remember trying to make sure I looked good, but didn't look like I was trying too hard to look good. So vividly in my mind I can remember opening the front door of my little apartment and seeing him standing there in his work jeans and plain white T-shirt, and absolutely wanting to attack him. But, I didn't. I always tried to play it cool and not look like I had been standing by the window like a little kid for the last hour.
That was about 13 years ago, and I had never even told him about that until this weekend. He just looked at me and grinned and said, "I never knew that." As much as I hate to admit it, I think I was way more enamored with him in the beginning than he was me. After having shut my heart behind thick walls for years before he and I met in order to protect myself, somehow I found myself completely and unabashedly falling for this man who I never in a million years would have pictured myself with. He wasn't perfect, but at that point in my life I had figured out no one is. I just saw something in him. I saw his heart, and I saw things in him I know he didn't even see in himself. Things I still don't know if he sees in himself, because that's just the kind of person he is. I just knew - I knew from very early on he was the person I was supposed to be with.
I can tell you the exact moment I fell in love with him. We were just lying on my couch watching TV, I was all wrapped up in his arms, and all of the sudden I thought: "I could absolutely stay right here for the rest of my life." The thought immediately scared me, but that feeling has never ever gone away. Every time we're lying in bed and he wraps his arms around me I feel exactly the same way I did on my little futon in my little apartment in 2005.
Only, now, it doesn't scare me at all. Now it has become the most normal feeling in the world to me. What scares me now are the nights that go by where I'm not in his arms. What causes me to freak out a little bit is how familiar it has all become, and how easily we can go days at a time without being with each other and it doesn't feel like the end of the world like it used to. What scares me is the fact that over the past several years it is easier and easier for me to fall asleep without his arms around me.
I suppose that is the natural progression of things. Everyone told us it would happen, but somehow I thought it would never happen to US! I thought we had something so incredibly different from everyone else, and so special. I just knew in my heart there would never be a time where we would get to the point of taking each other for granted and not falling asleep completely wrapped up in each other's arms. Life gets in the way, though.
It happens so slowly, and so subtly that you have no idea it is even happening. All the other parts of life start to take over and become the things on the forefront of your mind. That person you fell so madly in love with becomes just an everyday fixture in your life, and you know them so incredibly well that there is no more mystery.
Instead of checking the window and being excited for my husband to come home from work everyday, or seeking him out as the very first thing when I get home to kiss him, I don't even look for him anymore. I completely take for granted that every single day he'll arrive home after work and I'll eventually see him when he comes inside. I can't tell you when I finally quit going straight to him when I came home and kissing him, because it happened gradually over the years. And, it makes me really sad.
This weekend we went away for an early anniversary celebration. We spent an entire weekend in a cabin by the lake. There were no big elaborate plans, no fun excursions... just 2 days of being with only each other and very few distractions. It was absolutely the best thing we could have done for our relationship. We didn't even get on our phones very often. On the ride up we didn't turn the radio on, and for the first evening we didn't even watch TV. We talked to each other, if you can imagine that! And, the most amazing thing happened. I started to remember. I started to remember what made me fall in love with this man in the first place, and partially it was just that I absolutely adore being with him. At one point we were lying on the couch on opposite ends with our legs tangled up, watching television. He fell asleep. I lay there for quite a while just watching him, watching his chest move up and down with each breath, and I felt so bad for having ever taken him for granted. I remembered how much I love him, and how much he means to to me. I felt bad for all the times I've taken my own expectations about what a relationship should be and projected them onto him. I felt bad for all the times my fears about life or my anxiety about what might happen to us have caused me to criticize the way he loves me.
The fact of the matter is, as much as I believed in my heart we had lost something throughout the years, what has actually happened is we have gained something. I know he doesn't try as hard as he used to to "woo" me, but that's because he doesn't feel like he has to anymore. He is so secure in our relationship that he just takes for granted it will always be there. So do I. And, just maybe, that's a good place to be.
As long as you carve out a few days every now and then to remember what it was that made you fall in love in the first place.