Scary stories from a lovely place
Happy birthday husband number 1. That’s my name for Stephen, my skinny, architect husband. Not because he is the first of multiple husbands, rather it’s a loose quote from Kill Bill that has always stuck with me. Oh and because he is the number 1 husband in the world. If I may indulge in a very self-reflexive blog post for today I am going to praise him to the skies. But I’m a bit annoyed at him right now. Is it okay to tell someone you’re annoyed at them and explain why on their birthday? It doesn’t feel right. I’ll leave it until tomorrow. Or, in the face of his many good qualities I’ll forget the thing he did this morning that annoyed me.
Stephen and I got together ultra-fast. We met in Feb 2008. We started going out in very late April 2008. We were engaged in October 2008. And married in March 2009. And pregnant in September 2009. But it doesn’t feel like the man who I am about to have a baby with I have only known for 2 years and a few months. It feels like we’ve always lived together, always known each other, always predicted each other’s bad jokes. Maybe that’s because Stephen has a quality of making everyone feel comfortable in his presence. That was one of the things I first liked about him. Before I like-liked anything about him, I liked and really respected him as a person. The wild attraction and love grew from there. And isn’t that the way it should be?
Stephen and I often get asked about how we got together. When I answer the inevitable ‘what made you like him’ I always feel that my response isn’t profound enough. The answer is because I respect him, I love his hair, he is unceasingly nice, he helps anyone, he is wise in all his dealings, he serves faithfully and stoically, he used to always follow me home to make sure I got to my house safely. All this made it pretty impossible to say no to him.
Stephen is not the kind of guy I thought I would end up with. A part of me always thought I should marry a ministry boy, like a preacher man or one of these popular, youth leadery types. But over the years I waned on that ideal, and saw that it wasn’t even what God’s word encouraged me to look for in a guy. Soon before I came to South Africa I settled on marrying a guy who I was good friends with, respected, who looked after me. As someone once said “look for a man who listens to and cares for difficult people. If he does that for someone others would ignore, how much more will he do it for you, his wife?” The ministry boy/preacher man/youth leadery guy faded into insignificance next to advice like that.
Stephen is quiet and softly spoken, but he can rant and rave about the imperialism of the British and swear like any good Irish man. His quietness leads people to think he is shy or introverted, but he’s not. He’s far more a people person than I am. I could happily stay indoors and knit all day except Stephen would think I was being a snob. He drives me to be better.
These are just some of the reasons I love him. And he’s hot. And protective. And useful for fixing things. Sometimes I still can’t believe how well we are suited. It feels like chance or providence that we work so well together. And now I have forgotten what I was annoyed about earlier.