While ours has not been a perfect marriage (if, that is, such a theoretical concept could actually manifest itself with a pair of imperfect human beings), my wife and I have cultivated a much stronger relationship as we approach the midpoint of our third decade in marriage. As I watched my wife sleeping early this Mother's Day morning, I started to think of some of her quirks that people in a struggling marriage might identify in a negative fashion.
I am a loud snorer. When I say "loud," I mean industrial-level noise, probably somewhere in the high 90s in terms of decibels. My wife not only tolerates my snoring, but her gentleness in rolling me over to another side can be documented by the fact that I never remember being moved.
So I take her word on that one.
My wife also makes a few sleeping sounds, but I find her quiet snoring to be a calming, rhythmic sound that helps me fall asleep, like crickets chirping or raindrops on the roof. She is always the first one to sleep, and the sound she makes as she breathes helps me relax as I toss and turn from after effects of the evening coffee I gulped during night classes.
Another quirk I enjoy that others might find irritating is the morning paper my wife reads. It is not the fact that she reads the paper, mind you, but rather that she shares the paper with me: "Oh, look - they started demolishing Southwyck Mall" or "Uh oh - there was a robbery nearby last night." To my wife, the newspaper is an interactive and social event, not a solitary act.
As a person who is a slave to his routines, I am leery of changing my plans on short notice. My wife, on the other hand, is quite spontaneous by nature, and likes to pull me away from my work to walk the dogs, drive to the ice cream parlor, or go to the theater watch a movie. While I put on the curmudgeonly face and grumble sometimes about these last-minute whims, I enjoy all of the time I spend with her, and she is always a good enough sport to give me six minutes or so to finish a paragraph or answer a few emails before we leave.
So on this Mother's Day, I want to say that I love my wife, but most of all I love the person that she is. Perhaps it is a testimony to our marriage that we have learned not only to tolerate but to embrace each other's idiosyncrasies.