A year ago, my favorite morning ritual was to sit on my porch, drink coffee, and wave to the sad university students strolling to 8:30 classes. Then, I got married. I moved far away from my porch and surrendered coffee for green tea. One dawn, as I lay under the covers, I realized: I need a new routine. Then, I rolled over, snuggled into my husband’s warm hug, and found it.
It’s great: the alarm chirps, I roll towards Steve, and Steve hugs me. We lie together for a half hour, chatting and dozing and just passing time. He kisses my forehead. I stroke his hair. We talk of crazy dreams and plans for the day and, invariably, check the clock. We get up. He showers. I boil water. By the time we sit down for breakfast, I want to shout, “Did you ever think married life would be so good?!”
And it is good. So good, in fact, that I’ll tell anyone about my bliss. I’ve told: my hairdresser about my husband’s good looks; my pottery teacher about his kindness; my dentist about his smile. No doubt, I’ve boggled many. When I introduce him to acquaintances, I call him, “My gorgeous Steve” and watch their eyes roll. I’m not deterred, however. I know Steve is wonderful; why shouldn’t everyone else?
What’s more, Steve and I share our faith. We pray together, hold hands during Mass, and talk, a lot, about Scriptural passages we don’t understand, Church doctrine we don’t like, the existence of Satan, and what Jesus would really think about the TV show Charmed. It might not be initially apparent but our marriage is centered on Christ. Jesus is the reason we’re alive, the reason we met, and the reason we vowed our lives to one another. The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls marriage a “partnership of the whole of life”?an eternal vocation as vital as holy orders. When Steve and I walked down the aisle we walked towards this: a life of ministry designed just for us.
Not surprisingly, this ministry gives us focus. It demands we overlook flaws in favor of long-term progress. Therefore, I care for Steve despite his ability to procrastinate and Steve loves me despite my stubbornness. It’s an incredible bedrock: we can fight and fume and, yet, know that our marriage will not crumble because the trash didn’t make it to the curb. Indeed, it’s true liberation. I love my husband not for his goals or achievements but because he exists. Likewise, I am loved because I exist. I find the irony shocking: despite my bond, I have never been so free.
Or so comfortable. Before I married, I didn’t expect the transition from girlfriend to wife to be easy. But it was. And I changed. One year ago, I awoke to the thrill of caffeine and fresh air and thought my life was good. Now, I awake to a true jolt: unconditional love and a timeless friend. It’s a switch worthy of staying in bed.