Twenty years ago today, after asking me out at Lion’s Club Park after a long day of making rope with the Boy Scouts, I went on a date with a tall, quiet, curly-haired boy. It was my first date ever and we had lunch, saw While You Were Sleeping at the theater, and walked around the park. Twenty years ago, people! While our lives have grown and evolved and changed and become broader and deeper and more connected and added four other lives to the planet (only one of which got that curly hair!), our original teenager-connection of respect, affection, friendship, security, complementary strengths, and sense of home-place in each other’s company, has never changed. I’m so glad that what started out as sort of a chance and unexpected pairing, became something so steadfast and strong.
I was thinking about what to post today and about our complementary strengths and I realized that I wanted to finally share our Heart Art assignment from the Sacred Pregnancy course I took while I was pregnant with Tanner. I didn’t end up posting about it right away because it felt private, but I did save a draft post about it to share someday. In this exercise, the couple paints a heart together and then fills in the heart with things they love about the other person.
When I told my husband about the exercise he said he didn’t want to do it. He is usually game to do anything I want to do and to support any project I care about, but this time he said, “you know how I am. If I’m at work and they do a team-building thing where everyone has to go write something nice about everyone else, that is my idea of hell. I’d rather do anything else than have to write things about someone else. Not everyone is into or likes this kind of stuff. I am not the kind of person who likes to do these kinds of things.” He then went on to say, “but if I can just tell you why I love you, I would say…” and then he listed off all my good qualities and made me cry and cry.
I decided I should honor his truth in that this is not his kind of exercise and that I would do the Heart Art activity by myself. But, then we were walking together as we do every night and he brought it up again, saying that it is writing that is not his strength, but that he really wanted to tell me all these things and it was beautiful and affirming to hear and I cried and we stood in our driveway hugging and kissing and crying together.
I’d painted the heart and added my side of the words after our first conversation and when I went back inside, I added his words to the other side. One of the best things about our relationship is how our skills/strengths complement each other and this exercise was another example of how that works.
(Unfortunately, instead of watching While You Were Sleeping, reminiscing, and having a twenty-year-date, I have to go give a final exam!)