Here to Stay

J is a man of commitment. It’s one of his defining qualities. He finishes things he starts. He never breaks promises. He takes care of things that are his in ways that ensure longevity. He doesn’t give up on things he values. He’s willing to put in a lot of time and effort for them. He doesn’t bail out when things get difficult or inconvenient. And I knew this from the beginning with J. 

commitment (1)

I wrote about this in December on the anniversary of when it happened, so you can check out more detail in the pieces that start with ‘When We Met…’ if you’d like, but in case you don’t want to scroll way back, he showed up to our first date in a snow storm. And he cleared the snow and ice from my windows for me. Almost like it was an automatic response. 

He’s never been the kind of man that’s looking for a new, flashy anything. He’d rather have something he could take care of and work on and customize to his own specifications.
He has a 2001 model car that he still drives, that he’s never even considered selling. When it hiccups (because it’s almost a twenty year old car), he works on it and fixes it. Sometimes it’s time consuming and frustrating. He’s still never said, ‘I’m just going to get rid of this car.’
His first reaction to anything broken has never been, ‘Let’s chuck it and get a new one,’ or, ‘I’m tired of this…I quit.’ It’s always, ‘Let me see if I can fix it.’ And he almost always can. Because he’s so committed. 

J has been working at his current employer for twenty years.

Twenty years.
He started in an entry level position in late 1998, and now, he’s the head of research and development.
He didn’t get a bonus or a watch or even a restaurant gift card on his anniversary date.
I doubt anyone, including the owner of the company, who is J’s only superior now, even mentioned it.
So I’m mentioning it here.

I don’t think we celebrate commitment enough. It’s either so expected it’s completely taken for granted (like I’m sure it was at J’s work), or written off as stupid or cowardly or maybe even lazy…’settling’…staying with the same car, the same job, the same partner…for any real significant amount of time. I’ve heard these kinds of comments, not necessarily about J, but about someone’s commitment…I’ve even made them before. I admit it.

They just don’t want to look for something new…something more…somewhere else. They’re ‘comfortable.’’
‘They’re afraid to move on. That’s why they’re staying.’
‘Why would someone stick WITH that for so long? *It’s not worth it.*’

It’s interesting how I formerly assumed ‘comfortable’ meant ‘no work required,’ when it actually requires a LOT of work; probably more than looking around for a replacement (job…place to live…partner) does.
When a person could easily move on to something (or someone) new, something widely perceived as ‘better,’ something that requires less time and work, I think commitment gets looked at sometimes like a chump’s move.
But I don’t think it is.

When I write romances, I write committed ones. Ones where no one cheats and no one gives up and leaves. I certainly don’t think everyone should stick with a relationship that’s unhealthy or unfulfilling for the sake of commitment, but I write committed love stories to acknowledge and honor J’s amazing commitment. I hope he knows how much I appreciate it. I don’t take his commitment for granted.
*I* appreciate it. Out loud. Even if no one else does. 

commitment

When J and I got married, we only had one person each stand up for us, and they were close relatives. So we didn’t have a ‘wedding party’ dance at our reception, because we didn’t have much of a wedding party. Instead, we did an ‘all married couples’ dance. J had two sets of aunts and uncles, and I had one, who had been married for over 50 years, dance to the song we chose at our wedding reception. Only the wife of one of those couples is still with us now nearly fourteen years later, but that is one of the fondest memories of our wedding for me. That dance. Seeing all that commitment. Our photographer managed to get all of them dancing to this song, and I’ll tell you…that’s my favorite page of my wedding album that doesn’t include J in a tuxedo. The one that showcases these three couples that made it through all of that life together, and you know what? All three of those couples were still totally in love at our reception. You can see it in their eyes and smiles in those photographs. So today’s love song is Our Love is Here to Stay, performed by Nat King Cole here. It’s another George and Ira Gershwin song. Those fellas sure could write love songs.

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