The Man I Didn't Even Know I Needed

Yesterday my friend Tayler over at Our Fairy Tale wrote a post about the phrases, "settled in marriage" and "married up/down" and why you should never use them. Whether you're talking about your own marriage or someone else, these are things that you should never say.

Read her post to find out more about that mindset and why it's not ok.

I spent all day yesterday thinking about Tayler's post and the things that I might need to change so that, even though I don't think I ever say those words, I never give off a vibe that I "settled" for Joe in any way, shape or form. Because I definitely didn't! Sure, Joe wasn't my "dream guy" according to the list of qualities, talents, etc. I'd been compiling for as long as I can remember, but he truly is the perfect man for me.

Being married to Joe, I've learned a lot about myself and I've realized that there are things I never considered putting on my "perfect man" list that I needed in a husband and didn't even know. I think that it could have been a disaster if I'd gotten a man who fit that perfect profile I was envisioning because some of the things I listed weren't a good match for my personality or really didn't matter in the long run.

I've learned that...

I needed a man who didn't like to cook. As many times as I joke that I wish Joe would cook a meal for me that involves more than three steps (ie poptarts, chips and salsa, spaghettios), it's probably better that I am the only one in the kitchen every night. I had Joe make French Toast once and it resulted a huge argument between us about whether or not you put cinnamon and nutmeg in the egg/milk mixture that you dip the bread in. We even took it to Facebook to find out whose recipe was the most popular. After that night, Joe vowed never to cook for me again.

I needed a man who didn't live for sports (or really even like them). I dated a few guys who let basketball/soccer/baseball/football games run their life. If a game was on, they were watching it and you couldn't bug them for anything or expect them to go anywhere that didn't have a TV playing the game. Joe couldn't care less about sports and it's kind of nice. Politics are his sports, so I do have to deal with something similar every four years, but that I can handle, even if it means planning our days at Disneyland around the debates.

I needed a man who was patient and not quick to fight with me. Joe deals with a lot being married to me. I can be very impatient, grumpy and emotional when I'm stressed, hormonal or hungry. Grumpy Wife is my alter ego (properly named by Joe) and when she comes to visit, nobody's happy. I'm so lucky to have a man who refuses to argue when I try to pick a fight and who will laugh or try to calm me down instead. He's not quick to anger, and on the rare occasion that he does get upset with me, I know that I've really crossed the line. Sometimes I hate that he is happy and optimistic when I'm in the mood to wallow and have a pity party, but it's good for me.

I needed a man who was frugal and not afraid to tell me no when I want to spend money. My parents taught me a lot of good things about money, but I didn't put them into practice like I should have. Being married to Joe, I've learned a lot about saving, paying off debt with gazelle intensity, and smart spending. He always encourages me to wait before I purchase anything and we are usually able to find the things we want on clearance or a really good sale. Being accountable to someone else for my spending habits has made me more responsible and I think twice about whether or not I really need or want something before I buy it.

I needed a man who knows how to work hard but also how to relax and be lazy. Anyone who knows me knows that I love to be busy and I have a hard time slowing down. You'll rarely find me sitting around doing nothing, I always find a project to work on. Joe can easily spend 12 hours a day mowing lawns, landscaping or working on house projects, but also knows when to sit and do nothing but relax and enjoy life. He's slowly (and I mean slowly) teaching me to do the same. I'm learning to take time to recuperate from the hectic schedule of life, and enjoy doing nothing together.

I needed a man who is a talker, but also knows how to listen. I'm a talker, but so is Joe. He can actually out talk me a lot of the time, and anyone who knows me well knows that is no small feat. Being married to Joe has taught me how to listen not only because he likes to talk about things, but because he's a great example of listening. Just last week, I was having a freak out about moving and house stuff and after having little success calming me down, he let me spend five minutes angrily yelling about my stress and how he needed to make it better. He had a funny smirk on his face the whole time and never agreed to any of my demands, but he listened. After I was done, he said, "Do you feel better? Are you going to be happy now?"

Joe is good for me and I am glad that I married who I did. Never once have I looked at him and thought that I married down or settled. In some areas, I definitely married up, but in a good way because he encourages me to be a better person every single day. He's not afraid to call me out when I'm not doing everything I could but he's also great at pointing out the things I am doing well. I married one amazing man!

What qualities does your husband have that you weren't necessarily searching for but that you really needed and appreciate?

Your "ideal spouse" list might be missing some important qualities.