|You know, my husband isn't perfect (I know I'm no picnic to live with either, but that's a column for another time). He does things on occasion that drive me absolutely up the wall. We bicker sometimes.|
|Still, I am so very glad we found each other, and that we are married and have spent the last decade raising our family and building a life together.|
|Because let me tell you, I am really, really glad I don't have to be "out there."|
|You know, dating.|
|I went home to Michigan this past weekend. It was my high school alma mater's homecoming, and I spent a couple of days visiting with my girlfriends, both of whom I've known since elementary school.|
|They're both 39 -- one will turn 40 on Nov. 3, the other on Nov. 10.||One has never been married, and the other and her husband of 20 years are in the process of divorcing (it'll be final in December).|
|They both seem content for the most part, but watching some of what they had to deal with made me realize how lucky I am to have my husband.|
|One of them has been seeing the same guy (on and off, but mostly on) for just over a year. They maintain their own residences, and the guy ... and I think her too, for that matter ... are hesitant to "put a label on" their relationship.||She never refers to him as her boyfriend. He is "the guy I'm seeing."|
|I get the idea that they're exclusive, but she has never said so in those exact words.|
|None of us have ever met the guy. Apparently, he has some phobia about getting too deeply entrenched in my friend's life, lest anyone get the idea that they're headed toward ... I don't know. Something permanent.|
|Over the course of Friday evening, my friend and this guy exchanged over 100 text messages. He was curious about what she was doing.|
|Perhaps I'm reading too much into the whole thing, but I can't remember anyone who wasn't my boyfriend or husband being that concerned with where I was or what I was doing.|
|My friend says she enjoys having her own home, her own bank accounts and her own car. She has a dog, so that's her one big responsibility.|
|Other than that, she answers to no one.|
I believe she really does like the way things are in her life. I admit sometimes I envy her, because she can go and do whatever she wants to whenever she feels like it.
However, I don't think I could just be in a relationship that had no definition. It would drive me insane.
My other friend got married in July of 1989 ... four months before her 19th birthday.
Her husband was a nice enough guy. He was in the Navy, and he was introduced to her by her sister's boyfriend.
|They knew each other for only a couple of months before they got married.|
My friend spent the next decade traveling wherever the Navy sent her husband. In those years she gave birth to two sons, who are now 12 and 15 years old.
Eventually, my friend's husband was discharged from the military. They brought their young sons back to the town where my friend grew up, and spent several years in quietude.
Just over a year ago, my friend and her husband realized their marriage wasn't working. Like everything in their marriage had been, the break-up was low-key and amiable.
So now my friend has been thrown headfirst into the deep end of the dating pool ... a place she hasn't been in a long, long time.
|She has reconnected with a guy who was a year ahead of us in high school ... and who she was in love with pretty much the entire time we were in school.|
She's always sending me texts or Facebook messages, telling me what this guy said to her and asking me what I think it means.
Again, sometimes I get pangs of jealousy over this friend's current romantic situation.
|The beginnings of relationships are really awesome ... all kind of electricity and newness going on.|
Let's face it ... my husband and I have been together for 11 years. There aren't a whole lot of surprises anymore.
But you know what? That's OK.
I am glad my friends are happy with their relationships. I am glad they are having fun.
But for me, what they're going through seems like a lot of work.
Not that a marriage isn't always a work in progress and doesn't take effort, but I think you know what I mean.
I'm glad I'm with a man with whom I don't have to text message all night long, because if I'm out, chances are he's there, too. I'm glad I don't have to decipher what the things he says mean, because I know him well enough that I don't have to wonder.
Marriage isn't for everyone, but if this weekend taught me anything, it's that it is definitely for me.
Jamie Barrand is the editor of the Banner Graphic. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.