Simply put, my husband is the most amazing man I've ever known.
Tomorrow (Saturday) is our 6-year anniversary, and it's left me contemplating how important it is to marry right.
Ben and I met on a church retreat during the first week of high school. While we've had our fair share of problems - including a breakup that lasted our entire junior year - for the last 13 years we've been there for each other. Sometimes Ben was there for me when I didn't even deserve it.
This is likely why all my books have a strong romance thread, because that was my high school experience. We were engaged at 17, married at 20, and pregnant with our daughter at 23. The marriage and the pregnancy didn't seem to bother anybody, but the "engaged at 17" part freaked out a number of people.
After six years of happy, healthy marriage, strangers are always like, "Oh, that's so romantic to have gotten engaged so young!" At the time, however, hardly anybody viewed it that way.
Here are 3 reasons why I think Ben and I work:
I'm able to be more myself with him than with anybody else.
The guy totally gets me. He knows what I need, what drives me crazy, what will make me laugh. He knows my weaknesses and flaws, but never uses them against me. And all that adds up to me being able to relax around him 100% of the time. I'm not exactly sure when that happened, but boy am I glad it did.
We value the same things
My marriage would be riddled with problems if Ben and I didn't both believe in God. And I don't mean just believing that there is a god, but believing He cares for us and desires a relationship with every single person on the planet. I've heard non-believers talk about how stupid it is when Christians won't date non-Christians. Ben and I have never been a model couple as far as praying or studying the Bible together goes, but I can't imagine the kind of strain it would put on our marriage if I said to Ben, "I feel like God is leading me to do such-and-such," and he gave me a look like I had two heads. Rather than his normal response, which is, "Then let's do it."
We have grace for each other
We're human. And when one of us is having a particularly "human" kind of day, the other typically responds with an attitude of, "What can I do to help?" Sometimes we have simultaneous bad days. That's no fun. But we somehow have arrived at a place where we realize that it's not personal. By which I mean, I don't squeeze the toothpaste from the middle of the tube to make Ben upset. It just happens. And when he hangs up towels crooked and unfolded, it's not because he's trying to infuriate me. It's because he forgets sometimes.
I don't have any great formulas for knowing if your boyfriend is "the guy" (Cosmo magazine probably does...) but I know that it's worth it to wait for the relationship God intended for you. And that there's no "right" time for that guy to come along. People told Ben and I that we were too young. And people had given up hope on my Uncle, who was in his 50s when he married for the first time. But God has a different perspective on relationships and time than we do. Trust Him.