Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Why I Said "Yes" to a Boy Who's Never Read Harry Potter

All single girls have a 'husband checklist'. You know, the things we dream of our husbands being like when we finally find 'the one'. Hopefully we include things like 'worthy priesthood holder' and 'loves his mom'. But, more often than not, these lists also include less than noble attributes. 'Rich' or 'Smokin hot' seem to be common themes among lists that I've seen. As I've cycled through lists I've noticed that some of my ideas were great, while others were a bit shallow or simply unimportant.
Anyone who knows me is well aware of my Harry Potter fanaticism. For a long time it was one of the only things I was passionate about. When people find out that Matt has neither read nor seen Harry Potter, their reactions seem to have a common theme. "She still talks to you?" and "How is this working?" are popular choices, and stunned silence is also not uncommon. A couple years ago I might've been asking these questions myself.
Since then, (fortunately) I have grown up a bit. I've always known what was actually important, but maybe I haven't gotten married before now because I didn't put my money where my mouth is.
There are an infinite number of reasons that I am desperately in love with Matthew Burbidge. Many of them are too difficult to put into words. Of the ones I can verbalize, here are just a few:

We met in a singles ward.
Alright now, I know what you're thinking. Shell, you're from Provo. You grew up in Provo, you went to high school in Provo, you go to college in Provo, and everybody and their dog marries someone from their singles ward. You're saying you like that you're love story is completely unoriginal?
Let me explain.
As a teenager, whenever I pictured getting married, I always imagined it would be accompanied by a fantastic love story. Some examples:
  • We triumphed over the "friend-zone" after 6 years of wizarding school and a horcrux-hunting adventure together.
  • Each of our names was selected at the reaping and we were the first duo to achieve victory in the Hunger Games where we ultimately fell in love.
  • I rescued him from being frozen in Carbonite, and the only competition for my love turned out to be my long-lost twin brother.
Alright, Maybe that last one is a little strange for even my taste, but you get the general idea. Two lovers overcoming lengthy obstacles while the audience cheers for us to get together already! (If you are a Gale fan, we'll have to agree to disagree.) 
And then there was Matt. In the unlikeliest of likely places I found what I was looking for. I found my perfect fit, my missing piece. And yes, it is cliché, and I love him anyway. I met him in the most unexciting way and it's still better than a dream come true. And that means everything in the world to me. 
To quote playradioplay, "Even fairytale characters would be jealous".


He has a plan.
Studies show that when people don't have a marker to follow, they can't walk in a straight line. The picture below shows the travel patterns of people told to walk in straight lines. The blue lines were on cloudy days, and the yellow line was on a sunny day. In other words, if you don't find and stick to a mark to guide you, you will go, essentially, nowhere.
There are few things more unattractive to me than hearing a boy respond "I don't know" to questions like, "What do you want to do in your life?" or "What are some things you want to accomplish?" They just leave me thinking, seriously? You have no goals whatsoever? Now, there is nothing wrong with things like being an open major your first few semesters of college, or not being sure where you want to go to grad school. But when boys are wandering around aimlessly hoping their chosen path will leap out in front of them, that is a major red flag.
One of the things I love most about Matt is that he not only has answers to these questions, but his answers are very well thought out. He knows who is is and is proud of it. He knows what he has accomplished and how it can help him progress even further. He has a good idea about where he wants to go and he knows what it will take to get there. Will his goals change along the way? Maybe. Will the requirements to get there change? Almost certainly. But he has picked a focus point, and he is following it. So maybe the line he walks will put him in a place that he hadn't always anticipated, but at least he walks a straight one.

He was prepared for me.
In December, I was having a hard time being optimistic about life. When faced with hard decisions in the past year, I felt for certain I made the ones Heavenly Father wanted me to. So why didn't I have what I thought those decisions would bring me? I wasn't sure how to proceed but I decided there was only one way: with faith. I had a constant prayer in my heart that I would would find what I was looking for. I acknowledged, however, that I was terrible at figuring out what that was and just asked God to put me on the path that would lead to what was best for me.
It felt like eternities were passing but, in hindsight, I realize that I have never had a prayer answered so quickly for something so important. I remember the first time I saw him. I remember the first time he spoke to me. I knew early on that he was important.
He was everything I needed even though I didn't know beforehand what that was. It just felt right. We just fit. I feel like his life prepared him in many ways that will specifically help me and our future family. Our relationship is not perfect by any means, and we have our disagreements, but with Matt I just feel complete.

With him, I come first.
Let's get nerdy for a second. In most object-oriented programming languages (I know some of you have already fallen asleep but just stick with me), objects containing multiple parts are indexed starting with the number zero. So, if I were to create a list, for example myList = [apple, orange, banana], apple would be in 'zero'eth position and orange would be first.
This is similar to Matt's priorities. Obviously I want very much for him to think that I am important. I want him to worry about my needs and care about my feelings. But there is someone even more important than me. And that is the Lord. Matt is the biggest sweetheart and he tries very hard to make sure I have what I need. Even when we don't agree on something, he is all about finding a mutually agreeable solution instead of getting upset or defensive. He genuinely wants me to be happy more than he wants him to be happy. That, to me, is true love. But he still knows that his dedication to the Lord and His will is even more important. Which, when you think about it, makes our relationship even better because, as I mentioned earlier, Heavenly Father knows much better than I do what is best for me. So, just like in programming, I get to come first and the Lord can still come before me.

Obviously this list could go on for days. He is honest. He is loyal. He is intelligent. He is responsible. He validates me. He loves learning. He has awesome parents. He plays the drums and I actually enjoy it. He sings to me. He accepts compliments. He wears Chums. He gives time to things that are important. He idolizes the way Elder Scott loves his wife. He is great with kids. He is a nerd. He doesn't get tired of me. He is the only person who's ever played with my hair in a way that I like. One of things I love is that I'm always discovering new things to love!
And maybe it's a good thing he hasn't read Harry Potter. That just means I get to re-experience what it was like to read it for the first time through him. And maybe he'll like it. Maybe he won't. None of his exceptional qualities will be enhanced or diminished either way. I love you Matthew, just the way you are.