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Jane Paffenbarger Butler – author – with the man she captured in her giant blanket

Somehow at the age of nineteen, I spotted a guy who would stay with me for the next 40 years and counting. To be fair, he spotted me and I ran the other way, and it was only because several acquaintances pointed out his obvious interest and implored me to take him seriously, that I finally noticed him as a potential partner for life. He’s been nothing but steadfast, nothing but kind, and nothing but improved with age. Thank you friends who did that.

He knew not how to plumb a bathroom when I met him. He was not a loving parent or sole breadwinner. But since then he has become all these things and more. And in addition he’s propped me up through thick and thin, he’s counseled me on what I have not known and he has encouraged me and been my advocate when I didn’t know I needed it.

His winning attributes in the beginning were that he was funny and he was kind. He made me laugh and then taught me how to do it, and now, all these years later we are still laughing together.

Believe me, I had no idea what I was doing back then, but my gut reaction to this man has served me well through the years. He hasn’t changed much really. The kind, shy, funny, smart, encouraging guy I met at nineteen is still there, it’s just that all of that has morphed and matured and come along in an even better form right up to today.

This month, in Psychology Today online I tell the story of my young husband who takes me to his Aunt Maureen’s at Christmas where I discover that everyone refers to his Uncle Dave as Meathead, thus beginning my education in humor. Take a look at “Introduction to Meathead Therapy” on the Healthy Connections blog post by Maryann Karinch.