I met Alistair when I was 18. We fought all the time and broke up when he went overseas, but we just couldn’t leave each other alone. Over the years we’ve survived more crap than most people do in a lifetime, but I never doubted I wanted to marry him.
Here’s how I knew:
- Biceps: Al was wearing this fitted 3rd Base T-shirt the first time we met and I thought, “Wow! My tutor is hot.”
- Adoration: Marry a man who loves you a tiny bit more than you love him. People are horrified when I say this, but women are more prone to the romanticism of uncertainty. It’s exciting. (Why do you think Carrie kept going back to Big?) In the long run however, you’ll always wonder if he loves you as much you love him. Marry a man who adores you and you’re far more likely to be happy.
- XXX: Skills are essential if you plan on sleeping with this person for 40+ years.
- Manners: Al insisted on opening the car door for me on our first date (still does).
- Brains: Marry a man who’s potentially more intelligent than you. This is far more important than biceps. People call my husband “The Walking Encyclopaedia”. I voraciously consume and re-appropriate information. He’s knowledgeable, I’m smart. We complement each other and we never get bored.
- Eyes: I’ve got a weakness for blue eyes. After his biceps it was the next thing I noticed. Some women love puppy-dog brown or sea-green irises. You’ll be staring into them for years so make sure they melt you.
- Kindness: Silly bravado and Neanderthal male bonding rituals aside, the guy who gets groceries for an elderly neighbour is a keeper.
- Proximity: Occasional separations are good for a relationship, everybody needs space, but more than five days and I start to feel like Lyra separated from her daemon in His Dark Materials. I physically ache. A cousin and her husband (now divorced) spent months apart in different cities, quite content, even though it wasn’t completely necessary. Why bother being married if you live separate lives?
- Humour: It’s such a cliché, but life can be rough – share it with someone you find amusing. My husband makes me giggle like Marge Simpson.
Everything I just said aside, a wise friend once told me that you can’t really define love – it just is. He was right.