Earlier today on Facebook, my sister-in-law posted a picture of her husband. He was taking clothes off the clothesline, and she captioned the photo thusly: “To all you young gals out there……this is what a sexy man looks like after 37 years of marriage. To all you gals my age…..you know what I’m talking about!”
Can we get an AMEN?!
I always tried to tell my kids to focus on more than just looks when it comes to a significant other. I know they come into play a little bit as far as initial attraction goes, and that’s inevitable. I suppose if Dave and I were really turned off by each other’s looks, we might not have become a couple. I don’t know – I can’t test that theory because it isn’t the case (wink wink).
What I do know is that we originally had no idea what the other person looked like; this was in the earlier days of the internet when it was a little tougher to get a photo posted online. We had been corresponding for a few months before I ever saw his picture; he snail-mailed me an envelope of photos to scan for him so I could post them on the Say What Club (SWC) photo page, which I maintained at the time.
Because we initially just corresponded via email (privately and through the SWC) we really got to know each other well. We wrote long emails and eventually moved on to IRC chats, which were more real-time than email and better than a phone call since we both had hearing loss.
Although we originally met online 16 years ago this month, September 1997, we didn’t meet in person until the very end of March 1998. We had a lot of time to talk and not be swayed by appearances. I had seen his packet of photos when I scanned them, and I think he probably saw one or two photos of me that were on the SWC site.
When we met in person and he started coming to visit on a regular basis, one of the first things I noticed was how helpful he was around the house. I’d come out of the shower and find him washing the kitchen floor; he did dishes and laundry, cooked and cleaned even in the early days of our relationship. I actually figured it would wear off, that he was just trying to make a good impression on me. As the years went on, I realized it was just the kind of person he was – and ever since, we’ve had this kind of unspoken partnership as far as housework was concerned. If it needed to be done, one of us would do it – we didn’t divvy up chores or make a big deal out of it. There was no resentment, no keeping track of how many times he emptied the dishwasher or that kind of thing.
We do have a couple things that are our exclusive domains – yard work and the garden for Dave, anything to do with money, bills and the checkbook for me.
Back to my first paragraph – seriously, nothing was sexier to me than seeing him pitch in like that from day one. At the end of the day, I’m not falling into bed exhausted, angry and resentful because I did all the work while he sat around or whatever. There was a mutual respect going on (still is) and that does wonders for your love life! I imagine it goes both ways – if I was just lying around while he did all the work, I’m sure he’d be pretty irritated with me at the end of the day.
In the early days, I worked outside the home and Dave was here with the kids, but we’ve been working together from home since 2001. We spend all day, every day together. Even after being together for over 15 years, I still sometimes just stop and marvel at how much I enjoy being with Dave. I love talking to him and just hanging out with him. We talk and joke around all the time; I never run out of things to say to him. It amazes me that we found each other the way we did, especially considering we lived in different states and have a nine year age difference. Originally our hearing loss was the main thing that brought us together. Who knew that we would just completely enjoy each other so much, so consistently, for all these years?!
Me and Dave in our younger days, probably the first year or two after we met
I know I don’t look much like I did 15 years ago when we first met; we’ve both gotten older, put on some weight…time has begun taking its toll. But when you have a strong friendship and respect for each other, all that physical stuff just falls away. That’s what I kept trying to impress on the kids: Looks don’t stick around. Make sure this person is someone you totally love spending time with, talking to; make sure you respect them and they respect you. That supersedes all the superficial looks stuff. What’s sexy is not when your husband grabs your butt as you bend over to empty the dishwasher … it’s when they reach around you to help you empty the dishwasher.
It doesn’t hurt if the guy does laundry, too. Hubba hubba!