Today I am celebrating thirteen years of marriage to Tara.
Thirteen years doesn't seem that long. There are millions of people who celebrate anniversaries tagged with much bigger numbers.
But here's the thing. Tara and I married young, in terms of our generation. I was 23 and she turned 22 the day after our wedding. As I reflect on that fact, I realize that she and I practically grew up together. We became adults together, formed our habits (for good and bad) together, and learned what we were really like together. I have a lot of regrets about the past thirteen years. Things left undone. Not being zealous enough about our marriage. Not being the kind of husband and father I should be. But given the chance, I would never dream of spending my twenties and thirties without this amazing woman God gave to me. We've become intertwined in so many ways I haven't even noticed. What I am doing right this minute is noticing.
Tara is really creative but doesn't think she is.
She has a wonderful eye for and appreciation of color and design. She and I discovered and enjoy together the artistic beauty of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. We visited his Hill House in Helensburgh and the Willow Tearoom in Glasgow. Our eyes are perfectly calibrated together. She knows what I find beautiful and attractive, and I know the same of her. Because if I like it, so does she. If she likes it, so do I. We hardly have to ask. I don't think it is very common for a married couple to never have a disagreement about beauty. But we never do.
Likewise with music. She has exquisite taste. If she likes it, I like it. If I like it, so does she. Our ears are perfectly in tune. We've never had a disagreement about what music to turn on. Or off.
We have probably watched over a thousand movies together. I don't believe we've ever disagreed about the quality of a film. The years of hardly noticing this has made us trust each other's judgment without question. I think this is amazing.
"Growing up" together, Tara and I got to learn to enjoy gourmet food on our journey. Our taste buds are one. Almost never (the "almost" is only on account of green olives: I can't abide them) do we disagree about taste and flavor. We have learned together to love Filet Mignon, medium-rare; goat cheese; carmelized onions; and a thousand other flavors. And we enjoy creating together in the kitchen. Which is what we'll do tonight to celebrate our anniversary, like we do every year.
We learned to love and appreciate great wine together. We rarely drink the "great" stuff on our budget, but we almost never disagree about what we like. No "white for her, red for him" in our marriage. It is red all the way, never mind the dish. Whoever said Zinfandel doesn't go with chicken is a moron. Or a white wine retailer.
Tara is an incredible mother.
She is so kind to our girls. Thoughtful. Enjoys being with them. And they enjoy being with her, most importantly.
Tara is the kind of woman who listens to the Bible on audio as she goes to sleep at night. And teaches the girls the catechism.
She is the most uncanny bargain hunter to ever grace the world. Scores of people can attest to this. She does not find "junk." She finds bona fide "treasures" for mere pennies. I am dressed in Ralph Lauren, Izod, and other wonderful brands. I don't think a single garment cost more $1.97. And you think I am kidding.
Tara is patient with me. Gracious. Kind. Forgiving. Selfless. Encouraging.
We are "one flesh." On the surface, there doesn't seem to be much in common. She is beautiful. I am not. I am an intellectual. She is not. But, what do you know? Thirteen years go by and I can stop and notice that our lives, our tastes, our loves, our hates, our desires, and our passions have become one. I think that's how God designed it to be.
What a delight, what a lovely delight, she has been as my companion. I'm so thankful.
Finally, I would be remiss to not note that she is always, hands-down, the most attractive woman in any room.
But she never knows it.