• Tina

A Bib Overall Wearing Prince

A wise and wonderful woman once told me, “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince.” She shared this bit of wisdom with me when she gifted me a blown glass Christmas ornament in the shape of a frog prince. This scenario played out when I was in my early twenties and had suffered a devastating breakup. This frog prince has hung on my Christmas tree every year since. When I unwrap this lovely, old-fashioned ornament, it makes me think of Laura Lee, her sense of humor, and her wisdom. It helps that finally, after what felt like an eternity of nothing but frogs, my little bib overall-wearing prince has been found.

Nineteen years ago today, we said, “I do.” What I assumed would be just a good time, a harmless but short-lived fling with a twenty-one-year-old bib-wearing fence builder, has turned into nineteen years. We have shared nineteen years of ups and downs, wins and losses, friendship and love. It’s been quite a ride, but I have enjoyed my chosen partner. Nineteen years later, he continues to make me smile, laugh out loud, and often shake my head. He makes life light and interesting, that’s for sure.

I believe we get along so well because we are polar opposites in almost every aspect. He saves, I spend. He is conservative and restrained; I am impulsive and reckless. He is a pessimist; I am eternally optimistic. He makes adult decisions; I don’t. He thinks of the world in black and white; my world is made up of various shades of grey. He is methodical; I am creative—these opposites made for a very interesting first year of marriage. People often say the first year is the toughest. In our experience, this was very true. I was thirty years old, used to living alone, used to spending as I wished, used to coming and going as I pleased. He never lived on his own, was tight as the hinges of hell, wasn’t used to answering to anyone, and we both had the “it’s my way or the highway” approach to problem-solving.

In all aspects, we are opposites; several personality traits are very similar, almost too similar. We are both terribly stubborn. I have met my match when it comes to being stubborn and holding out for my own way. We both have slow-burning fuses but when we ignite, look out. Our battles, although few and far between, are epic. He is intelligent and quick with the comebacks and a very worthy opponent. I appreciate that he stands up to me. We are both perfectionists but in different areas…thank goodness. We both tend to be a little Type A. We also both have an inappropriate sense of humor. We find the same things funny and will laugh about words, scenarios, or sayings for weeks at a time. We both share a responsibility to make the world a better place. We also share many of the same views on life, love, family, and business. I feel like we are a unique blend, but we work.

When Eric and I first became engaged, one of my ex-fiances was visiting for the weekend. He had remained close with my family long after our breakup. I told Eric an old friend was in town and wanted to introduce them. I may have failed to share that this man was on ex. When I introduced them, my ex stood, shook Eric’s hand heartily, laughed, and asked Eric what his secret was?” He declared he had tried to land me for years, but I would never settle down. He told Eric he, “deserved a medal for accomplishing the impossible.” Eric took it all in stride. What would have made anyone else angry, feel threatened, or insecure, Eric laughed it off and wore it as a badge of honor. He continues to bring up this situation nineteen years later. I often feel my comedic husband needs fresher material.

We both accept the other has a colorful past, and that’s okay. There is no room in our relationship for jealousy. Every once in a very long while, one of us may experience a tinge of jealousy, but it never lasts long, and the issue is nipped in the bud quickly. I believe this is part of the secret to a happy, healthy relationship. We accept each other for who we are and don’t want to change the other person.

When we first got married, I tried to get Eric to put a little more effort into his appearance. In a fit of frustration over his stubbornness for wearing bib overalls everywhere, I told him he “doesn’t have to walk around looking like he just stepped off a drilling rig all the time!” This was before I realized the more I fussed about something, the more he would dig in his heels and do the exact opposite of what I wanted. It took years, but I finally resigned to the fact that bibs are simply his thing. If he’s okay with it, I need to be. Although, he does have “dress bibs” and new t-shirts to wear when we go out. We eventually learned the other one could not be strong-armed, guilted, or bullied into compliance. We’ve learned to handle each other without really handling each other --if that makes sense.

The past nineteen years have been an experience in patience, consideration, love, communication, and friendship. A lot has happened in the last nineteen years. We lost Eric’s dad, and a year later, we lost my dad. We’ve had three major moves. We’ve lived through two major remodels. We’ve struggled with infertility. We survived a stint with international adoption. We’ve been blessed with private adoption and an amazing daughter. We’ve had a failed adoption and survived the unimaginable. We’ve made it through family issues, lost jobs, and now running a business together. We work together twenty-four/seven, and at the end of the day, we still like each other. It’s been quite the ride.

I’ve written before that I believe the secret to a successful, happy marriage is that one must like their partner. My husband is my best friend. He’s the one I go to when I need help figuring out an issue, need to vent, need to laugh, or need to feel grounded. He’s the first one I call with good news. He’s the first one I seek out when there is bad news. Although he wears bib overalls, he’s my prince. I am forever grateful I kissed all the frogs and finally found my little bald, bib overall wearing wonder buns—cheers to nineteen down and nineteen more.

On this anniversary of the beginning of a wonderful life, I wish you friendship, love, happiness, and strength. As always, stay safe, be smart, appreciate the frogs and, more importantly, your prince/princess, and keep washing your hands.

Also, in honor of our 19th anniversary, we are offering 19% off sitewide (excluding the weekly half-off special) using the promo code 19YearsOfBliss. This offer is good through July 20th.

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