my husband and i are coming up on our 19th wedding anniversary – and a total of 22 years since we met. i barely know how that is possible – especially as i realize that this is more time than i ever lived at home with my parents and has resulted in a house and a 15 year old daughter. stormy? oh yeah. many parts of it. getting married at 33 (back in those days!) brought two very independent adults to the marriage – territorial and needing a lot of work on compromise. the partnership, however, was there from the beginning. as was the friendship. the understanding of that partnership and the deepening of it – through lives and deaths and major illnesses and odd hours sitting together in our quiet Spring garden and anxiety and short-term illnesses that seemed harder than the big stuff – is mind-boggling and yet also sits in place like an anchor. don’t get me wrong. we fight. i’m exceptionally loud. ‘battlin’ is one of my nicknames. he’s cool like ice when backed against a wall and quiet. no less intense. but we each know that the bottom line is that the other (ok…i’ll speak me to him) … that he is such a mensch. in a world of slick stylish flash-in-the-pans, i found a kind caring partner who has my back and knows, i believe, that i have his. sometimes he kids me that i could have/should have found a flashier guy with a more well-to-do lifestyle. and tho i love the new stuff – ohhh…shiney new stuff and lots of deals – i also have very good instincts that i make myself listen to. and those instincts tell me that this person – this man – this partner – is the best deal i ever made.