I don't know about any of you, but when I was in high school, I made a list of qualities, skills, and attributes that my future husband absolutely must have before I would even consider marrying him. And, as you might expect, the list was completely and utterly stupid.
Unfortunately, I can't find the list (it was probably thrown away), but I do remember a few things on it, and they reveal that I clearly had no idea what made a good marriage. For example:
- Must play an instrument. Why? I have no idea. As it turns out, Mr. Darling did play the trumpet in high school, but it has never had any impact on our marriage, as I've never even heard him play. Did I want to be lulled to sleep by the melodious and soothing sounds of a trumpet solo? Did I hope that he would herald my arrival each day by playing that trumpet-y song they play when royalty shows up in a movie? Why on earth did the ability to play an instrument translate to marital bliss in my teen-aged mind?
- Must love to read Shakespeare. Um, seriously? The only thing this reveals is that I was kind of pretentious as a high-schooler. Maybe I thought that my husband and I would sit around and quote sonnets to each other. (Shall I compare thee to a summer's day, Mr. Darling? No, I shall not.) Mr. Darling recently mentioned that he's never read Romeo and Juliet, and I didn't freak out or threaten to divorce him, so hopefully that's a sign that I've become somewhat less ridiculous in the last ten years.
- Must love animals. Apparently, liking them a reasonable amount wasn't enough.
Naturally, some of the things that are really important in our marriage didn't make the list at all. Here are things that weren't on the list but should've been:
-Must be slightly compulsive about neatness. I'm just going to come right out and say it - I'm a slob. And if left to my own devices, I would probably live in squalor. So some subconscious part of my brain that is responsible for self-preservation has always, without my knowledge, sought out guys whose need for neatness and cleanliness bordered on an obsession. This part of my brain is obviously trying to avoid me being the subject of a newspaper article with the headline, "Tragic Accident - Blogger dies by smothering under piles of own clothes." Mr. Darling likes things to be very neat, and he gets frustrated when the house is a wreck. So, my love for Mr. D keeps me from living up to my full slovenly potential, and his love for me and for neatness causes him to clean up my messes without too much complaint.
- Must have patience. I am messy. During one particular week of each month, I can be a bit cranky. If Mr. Darling weren't patient with me, we'd both be miserable. But he treats me with more patience and love than I could've hoped for, even though I don't always deserve it.
So what about you? When you were a kid, what did your dream spouse look like? And has your idea of the perfect mate changed significantly since then?