| My eighteenth wedding anniversary is rapidly approaching, and it got me thinking about how my wife and I have made it this far on our long and winding journey of wedded bliss. I'm not saying that we haven't hit a few bumps in the road, had a few minor fender benders, or had to pull each other out of massive potholes once in a while. We have experienced some tough times over the years, but we've always managed to come through unscathed, still in love, and more determined than ever to make our marriage last. A good marriage certainly takes a lot of work. My dad once said to me,
"Son, marriage is like a job. It is also probably the hardest job you will ever have in your life. The one difference between a job and a marriage is that with marriage, you never get to retire."
It is said that marriages last because couples truly love each other. I've often wondered about the concept of love, and what it really means to love someone. From William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet to the nuptials of Prince William and Kate Middleton, we have all been fascinated by love.
Throughout history, poets, novelists, playwrights, and songwriters have penned touching words, meaningful prose, and created magnificent music dealing with love, that have touched our hearts and souls. People often talk about love as a feeling in the pit of our stomach’s resembling the fluttering of thousands of butterflies. Love has also been described as not being able to live without someone. I have even heard that it is a friendship which over time goes from glowing embers to a roaring fire. After eighteen years of marriage, I think I may have caught a glimpse of what real love is. It has to do with hot water.
If your household is anything like mine, then the available amount of hot water to take a long and relaxing bath or a revitalizing shower is always limited. Add a few teenagers, and you'll find yourself taking showers at four in the morning, enduring cold, arctic like baths, or visiting your local gym to shower in a steamy room full of naked, middle-aged men.
A few days ago my wife came home from a twelve-hour shift as a nurse in a local hospital. She was tired, her feet were aching, and I could see her need for a long and relaxing, hot shower. My wife is known for remaining for extended periods of time beneath cascades of water hot enough to boil spaghetti. This often drains our hot water heater of even the last remaining ounces of precious warm water.
I had recently come inside after working in the yard, was covered in dirt and grass clippings, and needed a hot and cleansing shower. When my wife asked if I was getting a shower, I told a little white lie. I said that I had some more work to do, and would get one later. I also told her to take as long a shower as she wanted. I sat down with, "War and Peace", a book I'd always wanted to read, and patiently waited for my wife to finish her shower.
As I finished chapter fifteen, I heard the water shut off, and soon my wife emerged from the bathroom in a terry cloth robe with a radiant smile, and a fresh and scrubbed look. She said she was sorry it took so long, gave me a quick kiss on the cheek, and headed to the bedroom for a much-needed nap. I headed for the bathroom with the hope that there might be just enough warm water to rinse off a thick layer of dirt and grime.
As the first icy droplets of water reached my head and shoulders, I stifled a scream so as not to alarm my wife in the nearby bedroom. I frantically began scrubbing my skin with soap to not only clean myself, but possibly to generate some life-giving heat. I have always wondered how cold water from a shower head is so unbelievably frigid. Maybe it's not even water. It felt like that liquid they use to cryogenically freeze people's heads to some ridiculous, negative temperature before storing them in the hope of future defrosting and the subsequent curing of disease, afflictions or old age.
The water in my shower was so cold, I wouldn't have been surprised to hear tentative scratching on the shower curtain, and then opened it to face a massive polar bear looking for relief from global warming. It wouldn't have been a problem. I have a large shower, and he could have relaxed on the iceberg that was floating in the back corner. Finishing my shower, I reached for a towel, and heard a gentle knock at the bathroom door. My wife asked if I was alright, and if she had left me enough hot water. In a slightly high-pitched voice brought on by debilitating cold, I managed to answer,
"I had plenty, sweetheart. Now please go back to sleep and get some rest." I think I may have finally caught a small, but precious glimpse of what love is.