I overheard this conversation between two clerks at the pet supply store, both young women about 18 or 19 years old:

“What do you think your boyfriend is going to get you for your birthday?”

“Probably a promise ring. Or maybe a Wii.”  The first girl started squealing, but the second one interrupted her, saying “I hope it’s a Wii.”

As it should be, young pet supply girl. I wholeheartedly approve. No need to hurry.

The way we pick partners seems random, but apparently our bodies have a system. I have always thought that meeting Mr. or Ms. Right is just a matter of being ready to get serious. With some restrictions, like a good kiss, the right person could be one of many people; the important thing is that both parties are ready to be paired off. I am forty years old, and have met many, many men, but I still remember the first time I ever saw my husband. He was sitting on a bar stool at the restaurant where I worked, in the middle of fifteen other guys doing exactly the same. It was a view I saw day-in, day-out. But something about the way he sat, the way he held himself, so composed, made such an impression that the scene is indelibly burned into my memory.

It was a full year before we got around to kissing, and I actually dated a few other people while I was waiting. But after our second date, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. It took him a little longer. My father-in-law once told us, “The first ten years are the hardest.” And it’s true; we still disagree, but any real strife has long since been worked out.

Being married is a choice I make every day. I choose to be kind to my husband, to stay up as late as he does, to nag him to eat vegetables. I choose to make the daily effort that living with another adult requires, to compromise in furnishings and what color the living room should be painted. I choose to occasionally let him sleep in, just as he does for me.

Before anyone starts gagging or rolling their eyes, I want to make it clear that my husband is not perfect. He is frequently irritating. And stubborn. Plus, he’s a man, with all the baggage that comes with manliness. But I may have a few quirks that he tolerates, too. At the end of the day, there’s still that kiss.