My children are the most amazing blessing ever and I do have my first marriage to thank for them. That said, number one was a really bad experience. I didn't have a partnership. I didn't even know what that was supposed to look like, or feel like.
I looked up the definition of Marriage, and Marry and I didn't really feel like they accurately represented what marriage means to me.
Marriage: Two units who equally balance and benefit from one another combining to make a single unit. Where the combined unit is stronger than the sum of it's parts.
Biblical, marriage is often referred to as equally yoked meaning, both parties understand they must work in unison to advance. One cannot constantly pull while the other constantly rests.
I wasn't sure I would ever get married again. Even when I met Mr. Bates.
From the very beginning everything was so different. Many times, despite 13 years of marriage, I felt like I had no experience being in a relationship. I wasn't used to letting go and relying on someone else. That was really hard to do.
I didn't know how to trust. Trust that I was safe. Safe to be vulnerable and open. Most of the time I just had no idea how to let him in.
He says he's thankful the bar was set so low. I disagree completely. I set the bar very high. Once jaded I was more cautious, not less.
Slowly, I fell in love.
Meet my Mr. Gary Bates
I don't believe in love at first sight. There is definitely attraction at first sight, then love can follow. Love comes from a place inside of me, and extends to a place inside of him. It is him as a whole that I love. His values and philosphy.
The little things really are the great big things.
My Gary always walks between me and the road. Always. His mother taught him to be a gentleman. My boys asked why a man is supposed to walk on the outside.... I told them it's because women-folk tend to wander off into the street. They thought it was dang funny, and will never forget.
He honors me by always picking up the check. To some that might sound very anti-feminine, but I am old-fashioned. I think a man should take care of his woman, and that the woman should take care of her man. Both roles occur in different ways, but are equally as beneficial. Just Friends take turns picking up the tab.
Gary has financial goals and is disciplined with money. This is HUGE. I love this about him in ways he will never understand. I don't need him to financially provide for me and he doesn't need me to provide for him. He isn't looking to me to keep us on track with our goals. I have complete confidence in him.
We laugh together. Everyday. When we are together it's nearly constant. We both say completely inappropriate things all the time. And I do mean all the time... and we love it. We have so much fun together.
I don't think we have ever done "dinner and a movie" date night. Mr. Bates knows what's happening in the community and plans ahead. When we travel, he takes me to unique places. We do a lot together outdoors. I tend to be reclusive. I shy away from social occasions. Gary has done the most amazing job helping me grow socially. And I don't think he even knows he's done it.
He takes care of himself. This man puts me to shame. He might miss one day a month at the gym. His dedication is just amazing. I've always believed that, once married, a man and women have an obligation to each other to maintain their appearance, and health. I always want Gary to feel proud to introduce me as his wife. I want him to feel he is envied-- whether he is or not. I am so proud to be with him. He is healthy and has amazing physical endurance. I love this about him.
And um. Other physical stuff. OMG. That's all.
Mr Bates makes his bed everyday. He's very proud of the fact that he knows how to make hospital corners when he tucks in the sheet. This mentality flows into the rest of his home and how he behaves at mine. He picks up after himself. Even when he's not home and not expecting me-- a place for everything and everything in it's place.
(Holy Crap. I actually found a cartoon picture of a man making a hospital corner.)
He buys fresh flowers when I'm coming over and stocks the kitchen with my favorite foods. THEN he also cooks for me. I don't hide that fact that I really don't enjoy cooking. I can do it, and I will, but I LOVE that he enjoys it.
I could continue to go on, but what really matters is that my Gary makes me feel loved. In his words and actions I can feel his love for me. I truly feel blissful. When I think about marrying him I have no second thoughts. I have no anxiety --which is incredible because I always feel anxious about
I finally understand what the big deal is all about when it comes to relationships. I imagine that might be difficult to understand. The first time I got married I was very young. I hadn't had a long term adult relationship before jumping blindly into marriage. I didn't know what it could be like. I didn't know what was missing until Gary filled it.
And so I picked up my heart. I didn't give it to him, because... well... I sort of need it to be whole. To be the kinds of person he wants to be with I need to be whole. Instead of giving him my heart, I give him the whole of me.
He is my help-meet.
I love Gary Bates.