If ever two were one, then surely we.
If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;
If ever wife was happy in a man,
Compare with me, ye women, if ye can.
I prize thy love more than whole mines of gold
Or all the riches that the East doth hold.
My love is such that rivers cannot quench,
Nor ought but love from thee, give recompense.
Thy love is such I can no way repay,
The heavens reward thee manifold, I pray.
Then while we live, in love let's so persevere
That when we live no more, we may live ever.
I discovered this poem in high school. I thought it was especially touching that a woman from the mid-1600s felt such tender affection for her husband. In those days, marriages tended to be entered into out of social and financial necessity--love rarely came into it. Arranged marriages were far more common than love matches, and most unions tended to resemble business partnerships. How blessed the Bradstreets must have been to have enjoyed a love like that--especially in that era, when marriage was often a misery. I told myself the first time I read this poem that I would rather remain single all my life than enter into a marriage where I wouldn't feel about my husband the way Anne Bradsteet felt about hers.
Today is the forth anniversary of the day I married Steve. The longest I'd ever lasted in a relationship before meeting Steve was about 5 months, and the last month of that
one should hardly count! I waited a long time before I found the man I wanted to spend my life with. Heck, that punk, Bill Shaffer, had been teasing me about being an old maid for at least 3 years before I got engaged! And I was okay with that. If there wasn't a man out there that was worth spending my life with, worthy of raising my children with, then I was content with being alone. Not thrilled, because I knew I wanted to have a husband and children to love, but I was content. I even bought a townhouse and settled down to enjoy my spinsterhood. And then Steve came along...
It's been a good four years--the best four years I've ever spent. I'm looking forward to AT LEAST 40 more (keep in mind, we're both already old coots). Sure , there have been a few not-so-good days...the day we assembled the entertainment center comes to mind. (Don't worry, the days when we're not moving or putting together furniture make up for it.) But four years down the road, his smile still lights me up, his hugs are still the best on the planet, and his trust and respect still belong to me. He still tells me he loves me every day, he's still proud to introduce me to his family and friends, he still calls me "Feisty" and "Royalness." He's still too darn cute. (But don't tell him I said that--he has a "Killer" rep to maintain.)
I love the way he curls up with me to watch a Ducks game and puts his hand on my tummy to say hello to the munchkin. I love that he takes his responsibilities so seriously. I love that he still thinks that the conversation he had with my dad (when he asked for my hand in marriage) was the best conversation of his life. I love it when he decides it's "Tinky Time" and coaxes the not-so-smart-but-oh-so-cute cat to snuggle up on his chest. I love that he looks forward to camp as much as I do. I love coming home from the store and discovering that he's vacuumed, or washed the dishes, or ironed all my wrinkly shirts. (Who wouldn't love that?!?) I love that he enjoys Black Adder as much as I do. I love that it doesn't take much to get him to sniff all the Yankee Candles at Cracker Barrel with me. I love how he gets so excited over silly things. I love that he takes frequent breaks from his video games to come give me a smooch and a cuddle. I love that he honestly desires and works to be the best man he can be. I love that we both still think that deciding to get married three weeks after we started dating was a REALLY good idea.
I just love him. And he loves me. It's nice.