There are a lot of things to look for in a person you might spend the rest of your life with.
There’s the basics like:
Are you happy every time you see them?
Do they make you laugh?
Do you feel safe in their presence?
Do they treat you with respect and kindness?
But then there’s little nuanced things that can easily be overshadowed by the big feelings like:
Do they clean up after themselves?
Do they have ambition and goals?
Do they want you to be your best self?
And last night, I was reminded of another one of these “little” things that makes someone a great partner.
After a long day of getting things done around the house and running kids here and there, I was finally on the way home for the night. With my eldest in tow after ice skating class, what should have been a short, easy drive home turned bad in an instant.
I thought it was a pothole. But now I’m not sure. Maybe it was ice, or a piece of wood in the road. It’s hard to say because it was dark and I didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, even after we hit it.
And because I can’t do anything halfway, my girl and I ended up on the side of the road with not just a flat tire, but TWO flat tires. Both driver side tires completely devoid of any air.
I was able to safely pull off onto a side street and, shaken up, immediately called my husband. He had taken over gymnastics pickup and had the other three kids at home, making dinner.
He wanted to give me a break.
But in that moment, I wished I’d just done my usual gym and dinner routine. I cursed the universe for adding one more stressor on my plate when the week had already pushed me to the edge. And I felt angry at myself for not being more careful, for not seeing whatever it was in time, for damaging my husband’s beloved car.
It was no surprise to me that he was upset about it, too. He was managing three kids while making dinner, neither of which is in his repertoire of regular tasks. He’d worked a long day, after his his long commute each way. He was ready to be home for the night as well. And this, this was one more inconvenience he had to deal with.
Yet, after I called for roadside assistance and found out it would be over an hour for them to arrive, my husband didn’t even hesitate. He put his share of the kids in our other car and came to rescue me. Because that’s the kind of person he is.
This wasn’t a case of him being better equipped for dealing with a car emergency, or me, being the mommy, being better suited to manage the kids at home.
It’s a case of him being calm under pressure and me crumbling in stressful situations, not dealing with strangers well and crying about everything.
He came to my rescue, not because he’s the man and I’m the weakly woman (I will gladly change a tire, when it isn’t dark, 30 degrees outside, and I have enough tires to actually make the car drive-able), but because he knows me.
After all this time together, we’ve more than learned each others strengths and weaknesses. I know how he’s going to react to things before he does, sometimes, and he knows what kinds of things are likely to set me off.
We’ve spent the past 16 years rescuing each other from so many different situations, because we both know that we have our own, individual strengths and weaknesses
And last night, he was willing to take on the inconvenience of dealing with our busted car in order to save me from the stress of it all.
Because while things are not always hearts and rainbows around here, I know I picked a person that will always have my back.
That even when tension is running high between us, he will never let me fall. And I have no doubt he would go to the edge of the world and back to save me if needed. And I will always do the same for him.
Last night showed me just how lucky I really am to have a partner in this life who will always rescue me when I’m in trouble, and that is no small thing.
This article originally appeared on Beyond Mommying.