My Partner in Crime

by lauren atkinson


I'm the worst at sharing beds. No, I don't mean that sexually (I said we'd get personal, but you're not my OBGYN so don't flatter yourself.) I am terrible at sleeping next to someone else. My whole life I've done this thing where I tap my feet until I pass out. Then once I sleep I roll the blankets into a cocoon or cave (depending on the night) and more than likely, I wake up half outside the sheets. I'm not sure what happens. But that's not all. I also wake up in panic states some nights. I cry in my sleep. Talk. But heaven forbid I remember any of it.

But through all of it, my husband sleeps. Like, corpse-stillness sleeping. The only time he wakes up in the night is when I am talking or crying. It's like an X-man sense. A force. I don't know, but whatever the case my husband is the best at gauging when things aren't right. And even when I'm being unreasonable, he indulges it. He wakes up to my stammering about an intruder climbing the balcony, and flicks on all the lights in the apartment until my sleepy brain is satisfied. (This statement is sincere. My husband doesn't get up out of the manly-caveman Idea of "need. Protect. Wife" no, it's because I'm the scaredy-cat of the relationship. If for some reason I was the brave one, I'd do the same for him.)

My marriage works because we like each other and want the best for EACH OTHER. 

I brag about my husband a lot but there's some things about our marriage that I really do think are pretty rare. Other cultures and religions talk about marriage as being spiritual and two souls combining; a unit. They blame it on gods or outside forces. With my husband, I'd like to think we are separate individuals that figured out we could do things together as equals and partners. We met. Liked each other, were honest about it, did something about it and continued to work on it and continued to like each other. Honest. From the second I met the guy, I knew we could do damage on the world: a force to be reckoned.

Many people before they're married like to dream of the perfect relationship. If they're single, they set expectations that sometimes are never lived up to. They think it's magic: prince charming woos the lady and birds are chirping all around them with fairy dust constantly in the air. With people in relationships, they look to outside influence of how they're supposed to function as a couple. I'm not saying everyone does this, but I will say it happens more often than not. What's so rare, and most beautiful is when those ideals happen organically and when people admit: Marriage takes fucking work even if you're great at being a couple.

A lot of people in marriages enjoy making excuses for their failures or build up their spouse without taking any credit. What I'm going to tell you is this: a marriage or relationship takes two people. The best relationships take two extraordinary individuals that found each other and made shit work. It's not really about being soulmates or finding the puzzle piece that matches yours: It's about finding the person you want to do life with and enjoy doing life with, then making it work. Where one fails, the other doesn't, and it works in reverse. If you start something together, you finish it together. "Partner in crime," because we can totally get in trouble together, but would completely take the fall for one another. 

I read a "love letter" recently that was masked as selfless. The writer said marriage wasn't "for him." And went on to tell a story about how great his wife was and that his marriage wasn't for him, it was for the future and for the other person. It's "for a family." My husband and I don't intend on ever having children, does that mean we married for the wrong reasons? Absolutely not. I also didn't get married to make my husband happy.  Marriage is for me. I would not be the person I am without my husband. As cliche as that sounds, he keeps me sane. I got married because I found my partner in crime and decided I wanted to do my entire life with him by my side. No matter what happens, my husband is my support. 

I'm a whole person without him, sure, but he allows me to be fully me. The weird, emotional, nerdy sides of me. And again, that's not to say we are both easy. We just really somehow know each other. I'd be myself and figure things out, but I wouldn't function the same. Bonnie without Clyde.

I think all marriages work differently. And the good ones don't compare themselves to other people.  

So to get back to my bragging, my husband isn't the one that messes up. Society often likes to paint the picture of the male being the one to do that. No, generally if we fight (which is I think twice in our relationship...) or argue (which happens but our arguments are always silly) the issue is resolved pretty fast. Like, minutes fast. I'm generally the one causing the argument and it's usually about me suddenly becoming emotional about something I never have before and taking it out on my wonderful husband. And guess what, he takes it. Like a fucking pro. And instead of getting mad, he talks it out. He talks me down. He understands when I'm crying out of stress and not about him. (Let's be real, it's always stress and never him.)

Before you make assumptions about relationship dynamics, don't. Men aren't always insensitive: sometimes women are. Men aren't always irrational and self-motivated. Women do that too.

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 Maybe we are just the rare, completely honest types. Maybe we just function so well because we don't take ourselves too seriously. Or maybe it's something bigger. But I do know that he's seen the parts of me no one else has. (Again, not dirty. Serious) Marriage isn't always about selflessness. It's not. It's give AND take: It's a partnership. A badass one: Batman and Robin. Jules and Vincent. Skully and Mulder. (Or whatever the heck badass team you want to put in there.) I know that if I robbed a bank, my husband would be in the getaway car waiting. If I decided I wanted to eat some crazy diet or to only eat doritos for the rest of my life, he'd probably join me.  

I could go on-and-on about my opinions on marriage, but I don't even know if that's why I am writing this post. I think I just wanted to brag about my partner-in-crime. We work together. We belong together. And I don't mean in the weird spiritual-universy-way. We just work. And we work best when we aren't comparing ourselves to other people.

If you want my only relationship advice on how to function as a couple: stop asking me for advice. If you want to work it out then make it happen and find the way for yourselves. What works for us might not work for you. Find your own sappiness and stick to it.