(Some of you have asked to see my wedding dress. I'd love to share it, but I'm keeping it a secret from Carolina Man! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want a picture.)
In the past, the term "partner" was one I used only because I hated referring to a significant other as "boyfriend." Saying "partner" sounded less sophomoric, more serious and committed. And sometimes it kind of confused people who were used to hearing the word only to describe gay and lesbian couples. I sort of liked that. It felt like I was being ultra-politically correct by using it.
But in reality, I had no freaking idea what I was talking about. I threw around the term "partner" mostly because I wanted to be treated like an adult and I liked the way it sounded, not because it was a true reflection of that relationship.
Partnership is teamwork. It's unity and commonality. It is a locked-arm-in-arm way of moving forward into the unknown of the future. And it's also wrapped up in the mundane tasks of daily life, like unloading the dishwasher even if it isn't your turn. Or picking up the dog's poop again. It's learning to love someone's family as your own.
Carolina Man is my partner in the truest sense of the word. Yesterday after my mom left to go visit my uncle, he held me as I cried, feeling overwhelmed not only by her departure, but by how my life has changed over the past year. Change for the good is still change, and it can sting in the most unexpected ways. As difficult as it is to feel those things, I know I can do so safely in his arms. No matter how I'm feeling, or what triggered my emotions, he is reassuring and affirming. Those moments are what deepen and solidify the trust we are continually building.
The best compliments Carolina Man and I have received as a couple are the ones that reflect our striving to act as a team in all that we do, whether that's in how we have conversations with each other or how we train our dog Lucy. My mom said the other day that she knew we would be great parents because we will raise our children with intentionality. I believe she is absolutely right about that.
Carolina Man and I still have so much to learn about each other. But with each hurdle we encounter, we do so with honesty, respect, and love for one another.