Barbie World + [married life]

Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same. [Emily Brontë]

I am very unromantically late on this post, but in honor of our newlywed Valentine's Day, here it is...

Kyle and I are different in many, many ways. We appreciate the differences in each other, but they are most certainly there. I'm short, he's tall. I'm spend much of my time off in fantasy land, he is grounded in stone-cold pragmatism. I cheer for the Steelers, he cheers for the Cowboys. I avoid confrontation like the plague, he... well, if he doesn't seek it out actively, he certainly doesn't shy away from it. I like Celtic and folk music, he likes R & B. I'm readin' and writin,' he's 'rithmetic. (It also sounds like I'm a weirdo and he's a normal guy...)

But a few things draw us closer together and make married life very harmonious. A shared love of dogs and spicy food. A mutually, shall we say, relaxed approach to housekeeping. And most of all, a recognition that no matter what differences skim the surface, we're made of the same stuff underneath.

It was our 9-month wedding anniversary yesterday (ha!) If our marriage was a pregnancy, we'd be full term. It feels simultaneously like we've been married for a long while, and as if time has flown by. I might have written about this in an earlier post, and I'm sure I'll repeat it again on May 14, 2012... but I've always heard the first year of marriage is the hardest, and with three months left to go, I still don't have the foggiest idea why. It's fun!

There are bumps and scrapes and big huffy sighs along the way, no doubt. Marriage is not perfect, just as single life isn't perfect, just as parenthood isn't perfect, just as home ownership isn't perfect -- just as life isn't perfect. But these past nine months have honestly been the very best of my decidedly imperfect life. I've always been a happy person, but the happiness has at least doubled, and quite possibly grown exponentially, by having Kyle to share it with.

I think about marriage and relationships all the time, because I find them so fascinating. I believe most people would agree that life is worth living because of love -- for our spouses, our families, our dogs, our friends.

So what makes people click? What draws them together, and then sticks them there for life? Putting aside all the other trappings of weddings and marriages -- the solemn vow, the marriage certificate, the honeymoon, the rings, the thrill of using the word "husband" (should I be over that yet? Because I'm not) -- I think it is much, much more the everyday interactions that keep love alive.

It's little jokes and surprise shoulder rubs. It's knowing when to share your plate of nachos, and being secure enough in your love to pull them away when you want all the rest for yourself. It's forgiving the other person for hoarding the nachos. It's bargaining about who will take the dogs out and feed them, and bartering with promises of laundry and dishes. It is absolutely mundane stuff that feels like fun because... well, I don't really know why.

Because he makes me laugh all the time. Because we are nothing if not fair, and all our "hard work" evens out in the end. Because, as Colin Firth would say to Bridget Jones, we like each other, just the way we are.

This used to draw a big, fat eye-roll from me, but I think I now understand what people mean when they use the word "soulmate." It isn't someone who is 100% like you. It's not someone who you get along with 100% of the time.

It's someone who is made of the same stuff underneath, who understands you better than you sometimes understand yourself, who tugs on your heart and settles into that mysterious thing called a soul so comfortably and completely, it seems unbelievable that they were ever missing.

So as a last teensy surprise, happy, happy belated Valentine's Day, Mr. Stevenson. It wouldn't really be a wish from me if it came on time, would it?