When people talk about marriage, there's a lot of talk about love. Maybe some "soul mates" stuff, or at least "she brings out the best in me." Someone to raise a family with, perhaps (though I think the joys of two incomes and no children should probably not be understated). What rarely gets discussed are things like, when you need to go to the airport at oh-dark-thirty, having one person in the world who pretty much has to take you.
My wife got to cash in on that this morning as we awoke before 3:00 am to get her there by 3:30. Considering that she's chaperoning a dozen or so high school students as well as a wet-behind-the-ears teacher for a week, I'd still say I got the better end of this deal. I could at least go home and go back to bed until our youngest woke me up way too early demanding food.
But there really is something wonderful about that part of the relationship. One person who, when you're asking them a big favor, it doesn't feel to either of you like you're asking them a big favor. You're just doing whatever they need done, and you know that they would do the same for you.
I'm talking about something that, in a way, by its very nature, you can take for granted. But, of course, you can't really take it for granted, can you? I'm in my mid-40s, and for the last decade or so I've watched a certain number of people I know, including very close friends, divorce. Some of them married early, while others married late. None of them involved infidelity, they just had relationships that used to work and didn't anymore.
And the flip side is that it's really damned hard to date in your 40s. I can't even imagine. It was hard enough in my 20s, a minor miracle that we found each other and neither one of us screwed it up before it reached critical mass.
It's a reminder of what a precious thing it is to find someone that you can imagine yourself growing old with, someone for whom you could take many 3:00 am trips to the airport if that's what they need. It's not something you think of when you're dating or proposing or making your vows, but it's as much love as any feeling you have along the way. It's love as a verb--a humble, workaday verb.