When you make a decision to spend the rest of your life with someone you’re actually making a choice for them. You make a declaration to yourself that says, “This is the person. This is the one for me.” You look around your own little world, you find the person that makes your toes tingle, belly quiver, and heart flutter. You make the conscious choice to be with that person, and that person only. You say, “I choose you!”
But it’s what follows that really matters.
Have you ever been in that weird state between sleep and wakefulness? It’s that spell of time right before you drift off, but you’re still not quite there yet. You’re not asleep, yet not really awake. It’s like an in-between time. Well, in my in-between time my husband came to my rescue.
My eyes had fluttered shut, I’m sure. The room was darkened, but not completely without light. The glimmer of illumination shown from the television, the nearly muted sound of a familiar movie in the background. This was how my husband had always slept. With the TV on, turned down a bit, but still offering a kind of white noise and glimmer of light to the bedtime experience. It was in this dimness and dull roar that my heavy eyes flew open in surprised fear.
I jumped up from my pillow suddenly, sitting straight up in our bed, heart racing, a soft shriek of surprise escaping from me.
“What’s the matter?” My husband asked quickly.
I could hear the fog sticking to his words, saw the dullness in his somehow steady gaze, and knew by his posture, albeit at the ready, that he too had almost been asleep.
“It’s a spider,” I exclaimed. “On my window shade!”
I’d like to mention, at this point, that I’m not afraid of spiders. I’m just not. Having been raised by a mother who picked up bugs to place them outside rather than squashing them, a mother who brought me up with unusual pets like rats and snakes, I had no terror of slimy, slithering, or skittering things. Having been a woman who had picked up nonpoisonous spiders in my hand, and surprised my spouse by showing him a black widow I had captured, I wasn’t prone to hysterics over a loose arachnoid. But… I also didn’t want anything crawling around over my bed while I slept, spider or otherwise. So when I had spotted a spider crawling up the window shade right next to my pillow, I had come awake immediately to capture this furry foe.
“Where did you see it?!” He asked excitedly.
At this point, I should mention something about my husband. While I might not fear spiders, the opposite could be said of him. He’s more aptly described as having a terror of spiders. Like, if you want to hear a [40-year-old], over six feet tall man scream like a little girl, then present him with a spider of any kind. He even checks his shoes every single time before putting them on, lest a spider be in the toe.
So I was a bit taken off guard when he leapt to my aid. I watched sleepily as my husband crouched on my side of the bed, listening and looking as I detailed my spider sighting. As we both sat there, still half asleep, and I recounted the blurry bug crawling across my window blind, I believe we both knew it was likely a trick of my eyes induced by a dream state approaching. We both were sleepy, we both were previously comfortable under the covers, and we both pretty much knew there wasn’t a spider afoot. Yet my husband, the one who was deathly fearful of spiders, had jumped out of bed, rather than rolling over in slumber, and had come to my side. He looked high and low to put my mind at ease, and as I watched him searching for my imaginary, eight-legged arachnid I smiled.
This guy really loves me, I thought.
And I’ve learned over the years that’s what choosing someone is all about. It’s all about love in action. It’s about not just saying the words, “I love you,” but showing it in the most ridiculous ways. Because life is ridiculous. It’s full of surprise accidents, unexpected illnesses, rude awakenings, and bombshells of all sorts. When you say, “I choose you,” you’re really saying that you’re in it together, 100 percent, through good times and bad, ups and downs, and all of the above. It’s saying that even when it’s scary, I’m with you. It’s saying that even when the situation sucks, I’ll stick by your side. It’s saying I choose it all, every part, because together we’ll conquer this thing called life. It’s saying I choose to make it through this world with you. Let’s do this!
So when I saw my spouse on all fours, looking under the bed for what we both knew to be a nonexistent, sleep-induced sighting, he still knelt down to search. He did it so I could rest. He did it despite the hour, despite the absurdity. He did it because he loved me. He did it because we had chosen one another. And sometimes most of the time choosing someone meant you chose to go through everything together. Even the stuff that personally scared you to bits.
In life and love, you find that person. You find them, and you choose them! But then it’s what happens after that choice that matters the most.