Positive Marriage Challenge, Day 1. I was challenged by a friend to post for 7 days about marriage and as I am not usually one to turn down a challenge, I accept. However, as I am also not usually one to go with the flow when I think the flow contains a elemental flaw, I am also changing the name of this challenge to “Positive Relationship Challenge.” Because marriage isn’t the end all be all of relationships. For so many, it’s not even in the cards (by choice.) Facebook (where this challenge seems to have originated) is so full of complaint and celebration hand-in-hand that it’s hard to get a grasp on anyone’s actual reality. Of course marriage (or any relationship) is not all sunshine and roses. And, hopefully, it’s also not all name-calling and hostility. But this particular challenge asks us to look at the bright side — exclusively. And so, with the caveat that this won’t be a complete picture of my marriage, I’m embarking on it.

So, Positive Marriage Relationship Challenge, Day 1. Hugs. One of the first things I loved about my wife was the way she hugs. On the day we met — at a conference, where I had just read aloud some of the most personal writing I’ve ever done — she hugged me. And it was – no joke – the best hug I’ve ever received. I later learned that she was actually taught how to hug. As part of a training for her line of work, she learned about how to give a good hug. And she is, obviously, a very quick study. I remember on that day feeling seen and heard and protected and appreciated and respected — all because of a hug. And to this day, she remains the best hugger I know — and I know some good huggers. She taught me to be a better hugger. To hug in a way that gives energy instead of steals it. To this day, 13 years and one month later, I still seek out her hugs above anyone else’s. After a long day, returning home after a trip, after a particularly trying bedtime routine with The Who, or just because — it’s good to have her arms around me.

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