IndieInk Challenge: Week 1

The Indie Ink editors have decided to issue writing challenges to each other every week to stretch our writing abilities. I like the idea. My first challenge was this:

“Best 300 words on how she knew her husband was to be her husband. No more than 300 words.”

To be completely honest, I didn’t have one shining moment, but here’s one that certainly played into it. Also, limiting me to a certain number of words made this much harder!

It was Thanksgiving with his whole family, and he decided it was time for me to be introduced. I had met a few of his siblings and his parents already, but not the cousins, aunts, uncles, or the matriarch. My family is very small, comparatively.

I admit to a certain amount of trepidation. I was head over heels in love with a great guy. I really liked the people in his family that I had already met, and they were very accepting towards me. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t fit in given my capitalistic tendencies and the fact that I’m not terribly artistic, but he said it would be fine.

I walked in to noise, color, and a lot of people. One of the aunts that married in sat me down and asked how much money I made. I managed “Enough!” with a grin, and she accepted it. Another aunt asked innumerable questions about my family. All of the cousins, most about my age, were friendly. Everyone was busy cooking or talking or drinking. I was assigned to get seeds out of pomegranates for a salad. I sat, warmed by the sun, surrounded by people talking and laughing and playing, watching everyone interact, and I felt apart, but not unwelcome.

His immediate family came in a wave of sisters and brothers and parents. His youngest sister jumped into my lap, narrowly missing the bowl of jewel-like seeds. “When are you going to marry my brother?”

I laughed. “We haven’t gotten that far yet!” Less than a year into this relationship, it hadn’t come up.

“We think he should keep you.”

I looked over at the kind, loving man who made me laugh and helped me heal, surrounded by his fascinating family, and thought, “That wouldn’t suck.”

What would you change?

One of the questions that keeps coming up on the many, many forms we have been filling out is, “If you could change anything about your spouse, what would it be?”

This has given rise to many snarky comments, including “…your face!” and “Wait, I have to pick just one?!” When we come down to it, though, neither one of us can think of anything in particular.

We’ve known each other for seven years. While we have been involved for all but five months of that time, we have, more importantly, been friends. There are certainly minor irritants in the relationship, but we have gotten used to them. It would worry me at this point if his irritating habits went away, and, furthermore, they really aren’t irritating at this point. They are part of him. Neither one of us came into this relationship looking for the other person to change in any specific way, and we accepted that the other person would change in ways we could not predict.

When I met Xander, he was training to be an archaeologist. Now he’s a mathematician and a teacher. When he met me I was working for the school district, and since then I’ve settled into a new career in housing that I didn’t even know existed. I have changed in other ways, too, as has he. People we love have died on both sides. Our infertility caused a strain on the relationship and changed how we perceive the world. We have been through job loss, raising a puppy, and working on the house. We came out of each experience with a stronger relationship, appreciating each other more and with a deeper love for each other. We are still friends. Coming home to him is the best part of my day, and, while many things may change, I seriously doubt that this will change.

I understand the question, and I know why they ask it, but all I can come up with is “Nothing”. I love all of who Xander is and I believe that I will continue to do so, even as we change. I know that no one goes into a relationship, a marriage, expecting that it won’t work. I think we are doing pretty well so far, and I’m hoping that we will continue to grow together and appreciate the changes we see in each other.

While many of the questions are repetitive and irritating, it is interesting to talk through them and understand why each of us responds in the same or different ways.