When we were in college and dating, I used to try to drag Ben out with me to Barnes & Nobles every weekend. A Saturday afternoon spent wiling away in a cafe, surrounded by books and the smell of freshly brewed espresso and baked goods was my kind of heaven. I envisioned us studying over our steaming lattes, exchanging bites of blueberry scones, and pointing out places we’d like to visit in exotic travel books.
Ben doesn’t really like coffee. Or scones. And the few times I managed to convince to come with me, he got jittery after sitting for a whole fifteen minutes and wandered off to look at the books about tools.
My husband and I don’t have a lot in common.
I love to read. I can’t keep enough books on hand, I go through them so fast. Ben has read like a total of twenty books in his life.
I love anything by the water. Ben doesn’t really do water.
I love a good salad and honestly could do without red meat most days. Ben would eat steak everyday if he could.
I love baking. Ben prefers grilling.
I don’t really care that much for TV. Ben enjoys vegging out with some awful shows about men making moonshine or deep-sea fishing or something equally boring before bed.
I love little cutesy cafes and romantic restaurants. Ben prefers joints of the greasier kind.
It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that my husband would never swoon over the thought of getting away to a quaint bed and breakfast with me or look forward to an afternoon of antique shopping. For a long time I pined over the thought of those those couples that do everything together–work together, live together, work out together, have all the same hobbies together.
When we do have free time, or when we graciously allow each other free time, we run like the wind in opposite directions. Ben to do something manly like his woodworking (seriously, my husband is amazingly talented at this–just wait until you see the office he is building me!!) or mowing the lawn 1,000 times a week. As for me? I race to the computer to write or hole up with a coffee and a good book. Not even close to similar interests, whatsoever.
As little as a few months ago, I will admit that this kind of bothered me. Shouldn’t we, like, want to spend time together? I wondered if there was something wrong with us that are interests are so different.
But I guess that’s what marriage is about, isn’t it?
Learning to let each other grow.
Supporting each other–even when you don’t always understand each other.
Understanding that we need our space to breathe and be ourselves, especially in the wake of raising little people together.
There are times when I will try to imagine us as empty-nesters and how we will spend our days. There was once a time I might have imagined us drinking coffee and reading the newspaper together before planning our next adventure to travel around the world.
Now, I know better.
I know that more than likely, we will head out in different directions. Ben will lock himself away in his workshop and I will cozy up in front of my computer to whip up my latest literary masterpiece (because by then, I’ll be a full-time writer, don’tyaknow). We will spend our days in totally different ways.
But at the end of the day…
I will ask my husband what he built and how the sanding went and what tool he needs next.
And my husband will ask me how my day was and if I heard from my editor and tell me how proud he is of me.
We still won’t exactly understand what it is that the other does all day.
But we won’t need to.
Because I can relax in the knowledge that there there will always be one thing that will hold us together through it all…
Our mutual love…