I’m excited to write this post today in celebration of my 4-year wedding anniversary. As I reflect on our time together, I think back to the beginning of our relationship when my husband and I were just getting to know one another. From the very beginning, one of the main pillars of our relationship has been our communication. This was especially important because we were living in different cities and only saw each other on weekends. I remember we would spend hours talking about everything and nothing at all. During the week, when we were apart, we would talk on the phone. On weekends, we talked in person. One time when I was travelling for work, we were on the phone for 6 consecutive hours!
Among the many conversations we had during the first year of our relationship, one in particular cemented our love for one another. Just a few weeks after we began dating, my husband asked me a seemingly simple question, but one that let me know he was the one. The question was “what qualities do you look for in a guy?” Having ended a long-term relationship right before meeting my now husband, I was pretty clear on the things I didn’t want in a partner. And I knew that regardless of other traits, there were three qualities that were non-negotiable must-haves in the person I was to marry:
- First and foremost, he would have to be respectful of and sensitive to cultural differences and traditions. Because of my multicultural upbringing and how I navigate through different cultures on a daily basis (between Chinese culture with my parents, Latino culture with friends and “American” culture everywhere else), the person with whom I choose to spend my life and raise children would need to be open-minded, culturally sensitive, and accepting.
- Secondly, he would have to value family as one of his top priorities. Not just his wife and children, but also his parents, and his wife’s family. As my parents always taught me about Chinese culture, once two people marry, the two families become one. The person I marry would have to, at the very least, respect my parents enough to care for them as he would care for his own parents.
- The third non-negotiable quality my man would have to have, is ambition in life. Not greed or selfishness, but instead, a non-conforming attitude that will push him to strive to be the best he can every day for himself and his loved ones.
And with that, I answered his question about the qualities that I look for in a partner. I could tell that as I was describing each quality, he was mentally checking them off an imaginary list in his head and growing quite confident about himself. The ensuing conversation was, then, all about how he had all these three qualities. How clever of him! But even without his explanations, as I learned more about him and got to know him better, it was clear to me that he had all three of those qualities I was looking for. Add that realization to the fact that I was already madly in love with him, and I knew he was the one. That, plus he danced very well 🙂
Fast forward to a year and a half into the relationship. We were already engaged for a few months and I was trying to break the news to my dad, over the phone. I knew it was going to be a difficult conversation since “strong communication” are not necessarily the words you would use to describe my relation with my dad, at least at that point in our lives. My dad was doing his best to remain calm, but kept firing questions at me – Who is this guy? What makes you think you want to marry him? At the time, my parents lived 8 hours away and had met Renzo only a handful of times. I remember giving my dad a long list of qualities and reasons why I thought this guy was worthy of spending the rest of my life with. I was frustrated. Nervous, at best. Finally, it dawned on me. “Dad,” I said, “he’s just like you.” There was silence on the phone. I don’t remember exactly what we said after that, but the conversation ended soon after.
I kept repeating the conversation in my head for a few days after talking with my dad. It was true, I was going to marry someone who was very much like my dad. The qualities that were so important to me, were the same qualities that I have always admired in my dad and have heard my mom brag about often (maybe not the first one, but certainly the last two!). I felt good about my decision to marry Renzo.
Four years of married life later, and I have more qualities I can add to the list of reasons why I love my husband than anyone would probably care to read in a blog post. So, as you are reading this, we are heading off to the beach to celebrate! Thank you for reading!