My spouse in a single word

Describe your spouse in one word.

That’s the question that the moderator asked when I went to pre-marriage counseling here in the Philippines. Huan and I sat in a small conference room with 10 other couples, and we went around the room, each of us answering this simple question. Many had answers like trustworthy, loyal, kind, understanding, and thoughtful. It’s not to say Huan isn’t any of those things, but when it came to my answer, it wasn’t from the standardized choices:

Strong. 

The moderator asked, “Oh, okay – so what do you mean by strong, aside from the obvious physical?”

My immediate reply was, “Yeah! He can carry things.”

She laughed it off, and moved onto the next person, which is good because for those of you who have heard me get dramatic, I can take a while.

Long story short: Huan is a body-builder turned power-lifter, and he’s pretty strong. Growing up, I think I was pretty strong for someone my size, so having someone who is guaranteed to out-lift me makes me really happy. I’ve always been happy with the people who surrounded me, but being with Huan brought me confidence I’ve never felt before. He embodies the word strong beyond his personal record of a 535-lb deadlift.

He can carry things.

I like the fact that Huan is capable of carrying things. Not just my luggage or me, but things beyond sight. I grew up Catholic and have grown in one of the most supportive groups you can ever have. However, there are some things that can’t be shared with all people, no matter how kind they are to you. Being nice really isn’t the same as loving someone, and someone who loves will work hard to truly care for you. There are many things that I struggle with, but whether my struggles are large or small, he is willing to help me carry my burden. He helped me through two and a half years of college: encouraging me to study, helping me organize myself while organizing club events, even helping me fix my schedule to balance school and work. He had no obligation to, since it was never his responsibility, but he helped me with carrying what I needed, just to make sure that I could make it through. However, he also helps me when I have emergencies of any sort.

The other day, my contact lens was bothering me. I’m not sure if it was just too dry, or it maybe a piece of lint got stuck under the lens and I couldn’t get it out. Regardless, I was worried I would have an eye infection, and I don’t want to spend money on a trip to the doctor if I can avoid it (I’d much rather spend my money on food). I was in Quezon City at the time, but Huan took a 1-hour trip during rush hour just to make sure that I got my glasses and made my commute home safely.

Holding onto strength

Strength is a word that I will always associate with Huan. It’s something that I’ve associated with him even before we started dating. When giving advice on dating, I always remind people that the bigger word in boyfriend is the word friend. Without that, he’s nothing but a boy. He was strong enough to be a friend to me and was strong to stay by my side through my struggles. Remembering Huan’s strength is what helped me when we lived miles and miles away from each other, and it’s what makes me excited for what is to come.

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