At this very moment, Craig Barton is on a highway somewhere between Atlanta, GA, and Gulf Breeze, FL, driving home a car that he just purchased for his wife. Ya know, the wife that just left a fabulous position with a top company, gave back the company car and has no income at all because God called her to write a book. Yeah, that wife, ME.
He sounds dreamy, doesn’t he? He is. Craig is handsome, brilliant and funny. He’s a fantastic dad and husband. But let’s be clear, this is also the same man I have wanted to punch in the face about 43,678 times during our marriage. I’ve been certain God made a mistake when he brought us together, and I’ve been sure I would leave many times over.
Like many a young and naive woman, I had a vision that when I married my true love, we would like to do all of the same things and want to be together all of the time. Two halves of one whole…we would be soulmates and unable to breathe if we were more than 30 feet away from each other. We would COMPLETE each other.
But not this Romeo and Juliet. Our journey has been unique, hard, beautiful and we are complete opposites.
Romeo, aka Craig, is introverted & quiet; I’m building a business trying to reach thousands of women. He likes to be home; I am screaming to get out of the house every day like I’ve been in jail for years. I want to experience every restaurant in town and he would much rather eat at home (funny given the fact that I don’t cook).
I want to buy a new outfit for any event we attend. Craig is perfectly fine wearing his t-shirt from flight school in the eighties; he says it’s special enough, because, you know, they were “the gunfighters,” and there are only 28 guys in the whole world that have that shirt.
He does not see why anything needs to be replaced if it’s still in full working order. Even a hideous light fixture from the 1970s that fills the living room with stunning lemon-colored light because of its intricate pattern of yellow stained glass. No sir, no need to take down that beauty.
You get my point. We are different. We are two fiercely independent humans who fell madly in love, and it works.
Oddly enough, we both hate structure and this works really well for us. He travels three to four days a week, we have sexy lunchtime dates, we sleep in separate rooms at night (if you heard Craig Barton snore, you too would sleep in another room to save your marriage), we crack each other up and no one “gets me” quite like my husband does. He feels like home to me and, to max out corniness, being in his arms is the safest place on earth. Insert eye roll here.
Our marriage is unconventional and different, but it works.
You’ll never see me write about how to have a perfect marriage because quite frankly, I have no idea how that is done. But I do know how to have a happy marriage with Craig Barton.
We have worked hard to be the couple we are today, and it’s been through intense struggles, fights and a mutual decision that there would never be a divorce. There might be a death, but no divorce.
God knows what we need even before we do. He knew I would need a man who would care for me so intensely that he’d clean up my vomit and diarrhea from my battles with chemo. He’d shower me, wipe me, dress me and still tell me I was beautiful.
Sometimes our perfect partners, jobs or friends don’t come in the form we thought they would.
I don’t know about you, but Craig and I didn’t have that so-called newlywed bliss — our beginning was full of adjustment pains and reluctant compromise and bickering over important decisions such as when not to leave shoes under the kitchen table and whether Starbucks was a need or a want. Let’s be clear, it’s a NEED.
I didn’t really know Craig was this man until several years into our marriage, and I am so glad I didn’t give up before I was able to experience this. I would have missed seeing how beautiful my gift of Craig Barton was.
And sometimes relationships break our hearts. Maybe you’re in a season of promising yourself you will never care or open up to another person again. I get it. I was in a relationship before Craig that a younger me believed would last forever, and when it ended I was in such a state of despair I thought I’d never know love again.
Having your heart broken by a significant other, friend or even family member just sucks. I wish I was there to wrap my arms around you, look in your eyes and tell you, God has something beautiful for you up ahead. He really does.
Maybe not tomorrow, or next year, but rest in Him, let Him heal your heart. When the time is right, God will bring the right people in your life and they will be precious gifts. Sometimes for a season and sometimes for a lifetime, but they will be a blessing either way.
For those of you in relationships that aren’t exactly the Romeo and Juliet you expected, I can’t give you much advice on marriage or great relationships, but I can tell you this: it’s hard, and it’s a lot of work to have great ones. You have to be vulnerable, honest and real. Both of you have to decide you’re all in. But if you’re really lucky, you’ll find the ones who are just right for you and they will be your kind of perfectly imperfect — just like Craig Barton is mine.