Somehow, we got chatting. He was gruff, but a nice fellow. It was plain to see he had seen his share of tough times, some self inflicted and some not, but I found him endearing.
After mentioning he had six daughters who he didn't hear from very much, and that those daughters had three different mothers but that he was single after all that, he left me with one piece of advice.
He stated very matter-of-faculty;
"Trust me, do not get married."
I chuckled a little and said his advice has come a bit late. He nodded knowingly and said;
"Ahhh, a newlywed huh?"
I smiled and informed him we have been married ten years now and have two beautiful sons. He commented on my age and then told me that ten years is something he never managed. He then asked me what was our secret.
I found that weirdly uncomfortable. Being asked by someone so much older than me for marriage advice. I actually don't know what I said at all. But I have found myself thinking about this exchange since.
I am incredibly happily married, and I am more aware than ever that that is a rare thing. Our relationship is very real. We have our 'off' days, and our days when one of us is doing a lot more than the other because the other hasn't got much to give that day.
We fight. Not crazy screaming matches, but we certainly don't always see eye to eye, and that's ok. I can recall about six weeks ago we argued over math. Like actual math, which neither of us are particularly good at. It's funny to me now because it's so ridiculous, but I also know it wasn't about math really, it was about one of us not feeling listened to and the other not feeling understood. And that is why it's ok that we fight sometimes, because we are able to sort things through and get to the bottom of it without it being scarring. In fact, we seem to end up stronger somehow.
My main 'secret' is that Anthony is my best friend in every way possible. He is my favourite person to spend time with and he truly loves me, the me who is daggy and in my pj's at three in the afternoon. He loves the real me. How can you not be happy with that!
I feel as though I have marriage the way it was intended to be - a joy, a support, a challenge a very small percent of the time, and a safe place to grow. Perhaps that's why my bus buddy couldn't give his recommendation to matrimony, he hasn't yet found what I feel so lucky to have.