Serendipity: Perfectly Imperfect Marriage



He doesn’t rush into a room, sweep me off my feet and mesmerize me with endearing proclamations of his love. But neither does he complain when the dining room table is just about ready to collapse under the weight of my papers waiting to be sorted.

Compliments and sentimentality to match mine isn’t his style either, but he’ll buy something at a store that he knows I especially like and proudly tell me what a good deal it was, which he also knows I’ll like.

Even after nearly 47 years of marriage, I’m still learning about some of his preferences and dislikes, minor though they may be, and I appreciate he’s not always predictable. Just when I think he is, he says or does something I never expected, in a good way, and it’s a sweet surprise.

He told me some 10 years ago the worst day of his life was when he and his siblings took their Dad to a nursing home to live. When it happened, I didn’t realize how much he was affected by that necessary decision. I feel badly about being unaware, because likely I could have responded more compassionately. But many men, including the “good ones,” aren’t so good at showing emotion. We both learn from unintentional errors.

We have a continuous humorous exchange, it’s funny now, it wasn’t then, about how, as I was in the throes of labor pains at home with our firstborn, he remarked he needed something to eat. I was hurting too much to consider doing him harm just then, and besides I needed transportation to the hospital, but let’s just say his hunger was not a topic during the birth of our next two children.

I always love him, but I loved him even more when he consoled our children, cried at their weddings, agreed that remodeling our house so my mother could come and live with us was a wise decision, patiently searches through numerous videos of family movies to find the exact ones our grandchildren want to watch, and provides help to friends and neighbors who need someone physically strong to assist, whatever the situation.

He sometimes doesn’t cut much slack for kid or adult behavior, believing strongly in independence, ethics and dependability, but he’s kind, generous, and funny. Some days his humor wins out over it all.

We have similar likes, and we’re both willing to compromise, except when it comes to movie choices. He encourages me to worry less and not analyze every situation to death. He’s realized my lack of directional aptitude is likely not going to improve even with his tutelage. My independence in thinking, behaving or believing has never been jeopardized by his differing views.

Perfection doesn’t describe us, but together we’ve created a beautiful life filled with family, friends and a shared faith and trust. We still disagree, sometimes argue, but never consider calling it quits. When we each said, “I do,” we made a commitment that together we’ve honored. Marriage is never a singular endeavor. We’re hopeful for more time, travel, family and friend celebrations and continued joys of loving and liking each other.

I quit waiting for him to sweep me off my feet, but he’s likely still hopeful about the dining room table.

Sandra Dempsey Post

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