Around year 12 in this 24 year+ marriage, an older woman at a party was talking to someone else about how marriage involved hard work. I butt in, "I don't know what you're talking about. People always talk about the hard work involved and I don't see it...my marriage has been so easy." The woman looked straight at me and said, "You haven't been married long enough!" The next year, my marriage went into a nose dive. Miscommunication, anger, and hurt feelings rampant. We struggled our way out of it. But I remember that conversation all the time and with it, the warning to pay attention and keep working. Not as in drudgework - but with consciousness.
Like everyday, since our car was stolen from in front of our house, (keys grabbed off the dining room table by a thief who hopped in an open window while we were all sleeping...) we park the car in the garage. This entails sliding back a gate on the street, heading into the garage to push the motorized garage door opener, and closing both door and gate again. Every morning when I'm sluggish and still sleepy and heading out, John says, I'll help you - and runs out to open the street gate first, check the traffic, then close the gate and door after I'm gone. Many nights, when I'm returning and he hears the car, he runs out to lend an assist. It's a simple thing, but it's very, very considerate. To me that's what so wonderful about a working partnership - the anticipation and appreciation. And you can never take it for granted. I mean I could do it alone - open the gate, the door, drive the car out, pull over to the side, walk back in, shut the door and the gate...but it's so much sweeter to have the other looking out for you and lending a hand. A tangible representation of I'm here for you.