1. When people talk about their partners and spouses (future and current) they usually want them to know that it’s forever, no matter what. I want you to know that I don’t care about forever. I want you for as long as I’m meant to have you. I will love you every moment I’m able to because I’ll never pretend I have forever to do so.
2. You won’t always come first, but that doesn’t mean you’re not the most important person in my life. Real love isn’t about dropping everything in pursuit of one another, it’s about wanting to pay the bills and keep food on the table and save for the future and maintain your sanity so you can be wholly yourself. You don’t deserve less than that.
3. There’s really only one thing that matters, and it’s that every day we make the conscious choice to love each other. You teach me how to love you and I will teach you how to love me. That’s not a one-conversation-and-done kind of thing. That’s a conscious, daily effort. It’s tiny and it’s huge. It’s talking and showing and teaching through even the simplest daily tasks. The choice, of course, is being aware enough to allow yourself to be told and shown and taught.
4. I have no expectations. Even just promising to love somebody unconditionally is an expectation – you’re saying you only want their love if it doesn’t hinge on anything. That’s an extreme example, but you get the point. Unattached love is the most sincere kind. The rest is pushing someone into an idea of what you need.
5. I don’t want to be your entire life. I want to hang out with my friends. I want alone time. I want to go on trips and start projects and take long walks without having to report where I am. I want the same for you. I want us to maintain our lives outside one another; a successful merging of them isn’t infiltrating each moment, it’s coexisting as one. (People are quick to confuse attachment for codependence.)
6. A wardrobe full of shoes I don’t wear is real. Just like the existence of people I may or may not like, but I still talk to them.
7. I will not always look the way I look now. I will not always be taut and young and soft and pretty – and neither will you. I want to have kids and eat good food. I want someone who won’t look at me after my third delivery when I’m plump and swollen and say, “You’re so skinny, what are you talking about?” I want someone who will say, “You’re plump and swollen and who gives a shit? Your body does more than just look good. It holds the person I love.”
8. Communication is sexy. Talking things out isn’t just what it takes to be healthy, it’s how you fall in love with someone completely. It’s how you keep growing parallel to one another through the years. It’s verbal and it’s not. It’s sexual and physical and hinted and directly stated. Everything in life is one grand communicative gesture, and the goal is to get to the point of responding to the things that go unsaid.
9. You don’t have to like every part of me to still love who I am. (You also don’t have to change any given part of me to make me more of who you’d prefer.) There’s an art to accepting that which is true on the surface to become closer to that which is true at the core. Habits and mannerisms and interests change, but the essence of somebody does not. The people who have the most profound relationships are the ones who connect at that level, and then start to realize that everything else is malleable. The people who have the most profound relationships that last realize nobody can change a person but themselves.
10. I really hope we can do dumb stuff like lay in bed for an entire Sunday and order in and ignore everybody else.
11. We don’t go to bed, walk out, leave for a trip or go home angry. You don’t know when someone won’t wake up or be able to walk back in or come back from a trip or return to make amends over something stupid. Do not forget the impermanence of all this. It keeps you present and centered and just a little more rational. (It places what matters into a very different context.)
12. Thank you. Thank you for letting me spend a day with you. For sharing your life with me. For holding my hand. For listening to the crappy parts even when they aren’t as fun as the happy ones are. For knowing me and still wanting me. For being honest when you don’t. For helping me in whatever ways you were meant to. For letting me help you in return.
13. Once in a while, you’re going to get written about in an anonymous, vaguely passive aggressive way. (Sorry.) Also, you’re going to be written about in general. (Not sorry.)
14. You can tell whether or not somebody loves you by two things: the way they glance at you when you’re talking and they think you’re distracted by your own thoughts and the way they touch you in a non-sexual way. Never underestimate the tiny gestures. Never over-estimate your ability to convince somebody that you love them when you don’t. Never rely solely on stating that you love me, it’s meaningless until you wouldn’t need to say it for me to still know.
15. The most intimate thing I could possibly do is read you my favorite passages from my favorite book, or my favorite poet’s faded words from torn pages I have stored (That’s it.)
16. Even the smallest parts of you are magic to me. The way you brush your hair and sigh in your sleep, the way you smell immediately after a shower and the ways your forehead scrunches when you’re thinking really hard about an answer. The wildest thing about love is how little it changes from your kindergarten crush. I hope I’m always a little nervous, even though there’s nobody I’m more comfortable with. I hope the things I love most are always how you laugh at me and when you do things that make me believe you see magic in my little things too.