Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, July 01, 2013

Twelve years: On Being Married to the Right Person

Yesterday was our twelfth anniversary. This was us then, looking like babies:

This is us now, with babies:

Going around the internets a few weeks ago was an article entitled "How I Know My Wife Married the Wrong Person", which, contrary to the sensationalist title, is not a memoir of a marriage gone bad but a  plea to the youngsters to embrace commitment despite not finding one's "soul mate".
And after two years, there’s no hiding behind the dinner-and-a-movie fa├žade of dating life any longer. I can’t buy enough flowers to conceal it. I can’t open enough doors. I can’t say enough “I love you’s.” She knows (and painfully, so do I) that she married the wrong person. 
Allow me to humbly explain (before she reads this). For quite some time now, there has been a myth floating around our idealistic individualistic society. A myth that claims that marriage will only work when you find your “smoking-hot, high-class, filthy rich, love-at-first-sight, sexually compatible, accept-me-as-I-am, Titanic-Notebook-Sweet-Home-Alabama-Twilight-esque, soul mate.”  
...That’s why I know beyond doubt, at least by society’s standards, that Lindsay married the wrong person.  I’ll never be quite as smart as a New York Times Best Seller. I’ll never make a six digit paycheck. I’ll never electrify the bedroom in the way our pornographic media culture broadcasts as the norm. I’ll never understand her quite as well as we both wish I would. I’ll continue to make mistakes. I’ll get angry over silly stuff. I’ll forget to do the dishes. I’ll raise my voice when I shouldn’t. I’ll let pride get the best of me. And I’ll probably think of myself far more often than I should… Oh yeah, and my younger days as a part-time body-builder, part-time male-model, full-time Matthew McConaughey stunt double are over. I retired this January. (Are you drowning in my self-pity yet? I am.)  Look, I’m not an astrophysicist. I’m not a movie star. I’m not a billionaire. I’m just Tyler. And Tyler does not meet the standards of the Real Housewives of Louisville.
To those of us who have known cases, so painful to all involved, of people who actually did marry the wrong person, the twee quality of these paragraphs borders on the offensive. But never mind that. Obviously no one marries the perfect person, because no one is perfect. That's so self-evident that I feel silly typing it.

I also think that it's not "idealistic" or "individualistic" to feel that your spouse actually did marry the right person. I think Darwin married the right person, absolutely. Darwin thinks I married the right person. This is not because we're “smoking-hot, high-class, filthy rich, love-at-first-sight, sexually compatible, accept-me-as-I-am, Titanic-Notebook-Sweet-Home-Alabama-Twilight-esque, soul mate[s].” I don't even know what that means, except that some people watch too many movies. I do know that whenever we're doing something onerous together -- reflooring a house, washing poopy underwear out in the toilet, having a baby, moving with five kids (including a newborn) and two cats -- he looks at me and says, "I wouldn't do this with anyone but you." And I believe that he married the right person, because I wouldn't do it with anyone else but him.

I know I have a lot of shortcomings as a wife, especially in the areas of home organization and management and cleaning. That means that I want to strive hard to be a better wife to him, not that I throw up my hands and sigh, "Oh, my husband married the wrong person." Realizing that one needs to change and improve is several orders of magnitude different from announcing, "I'm the wrong person for this job!" It's the difference between perseverance and despair. (Sometimes realizing that you're the wrong person for the job can be realism, but in the case of marriage, a life-long commitment, it's despair.)

But for anyone who feels the needs to protest, Darwin would be happy to step outside with anyone who would like to tell him that his wife married the wrong person. Pistols at ten paces, but I warn you: he's a crack shot. And I'll be right next to him with the other pistol, because my husband married the right woman.


Catholic Bibliophagist said...

Having also been a woman who married the right man (in the sense you describe), reading this post makes me so very happy! Happy anniversary, guys. And may you have many, many, many more.

Brandon said...

One thing that's struck me every time I've seen you two in person is how easily you divide labor, as if everything just naturally divided into two parts, and volleying different parts of a task to each other were the most natural thing in the world; quite impressive.

Enbrethiliel said...


Happy Anniversary to the most photogenic couple I know! =D

cminor said...

Great pix! And congrats, of course.

Christopher said...

Congratulations to both of you!

Donald R. McClarey said...

Congrats! My bride and I will have 31 years of marriage to celebrate in December. Few Earthly gifts are as precious as a happy marriage.

The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

Happy anniversary! Many, many more.

BurgoFitzgerald said...

Congratulations on your anniversary and many happy returns of the day! You really do have such a beautiful family.

Bernadette said...

I love this post so, so much. Just wanted to say that. :) And I think you two both married the right person too.

Jordana said...

Happy anniversary! You two sure seem to make a just right couple.

Kate said...

I like the original article. I'm glad you two fit so well and naturally though, it's a nice offset to those of us who struggle. :-)

mrsdarwin said...

Thank you all for such kind words!

Bob the Ape said...

Congratulations! and may God continue to bless you!

As the Darwin and Mrs. were wed,
From above Charles looked down and said,
“When the going gets tough,
Fitness won’t be enough;
But have love and you’ll come out ahead.”