Be with the one who you can re-live a bit of childhood with. Someone who says yes to jumping on the swings, splashing in the puddles, building an epic snow fort, and watching Disney movies. Someone who chases the kids around with a water hose and doesn’t mind them nailing him with water balloons. A man who loves keeping traditions from his own childhood alive.

Be with the one you can adventure with. Someone who loves life and sees beauty in the simple things. Who has a desire to experience unknown places, different cultures, and meet new people. Someone who can be spontaneous and is not afraid to get his hands dirty. Someone who will get up before dawn on vacation and wake you up, too just because he knows how much you love watching the sunrise.

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Be with someone you can try new things with. Skiing, a cooking class, dance lessons, exotic food.

A man not afraid to get out of his comfort zone, not afraid to make a fool of himself. A man who readily laughs at himself.

Be with the one who sees you at your grossest. Someone who cleans up your puke when you don’t make it to the bathroom, cuddles you even when you are hacking up inconceivable gobs of mucus, doesn’t flinch when you fart, grips your hand tightly as you lay in a hospital bed, and takes a front-row seat to witness you lose control of your bowels during childbirth.

Be with the one who is your best friend. Who knows all the secrets (and keeps them). Who is the first person you want to tell your bad news or amazing news or mundane nothings to. Who isn’t afraid to confront you when you are making a mistake. Who knows exactly when you need a hug.

Who loves you, not in spite of, but because of your flaws.

Be with someone who sits with you in the mess. The broken-down car. The depleted finances. The endless house repairs. The dog pooping on the carpet and the aging cat needing insulin injections twice a day. The screaming, up-all-night baby. The fallouts with family members. The alcohol addiction. The scary health diagnosis. The death of a parent. The postpartum depression.

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Be with the one who makes you laugh. Like, stop-making-me-laugh-‘cuz-I-just-peed-a-little laughter. Someone who sings high-pitched songs to your animals and blames his fart on the dog and dances just for you. Someone who tells really bad jokes and laughs at himself, and you can’t help but laugh, too. Someone you have an endless list of inside jokes with.

Be with the one who unlocks your passion.

Your passion for intimacy, your passion for life, and your passion for yourself. Who encourages you to take the leap, sign up for the class, go to the thing, write the book, learn the language, change careers. Whose touch both calms and excites you. Who makes you feel like the hottest woman in any room. Who has eyes only for you.

Be with someone who is kind. Who speaks respectfully to strangers and his parents. Who is mesmerized when holding a baby. Who loans tools to a neighbor. Who defends the helpless. Who helps push someone’s car that is stuck in the snow. Who helps a friend move their furniture. Who gives cash and a cold Gatorade to a family on the corner of the street asking for money in the 94-degree heat.

Be with the one who shows up. In all his manly, comforting, funny, sweet, adventurous glory.

And for all the times he shows up for the rest of your life, thank him.

Don’t for a second take for granted that you get to be with the one.

Melissa Neeb

I'm a Minnesota native and lover of nature, WW2 memoirs, rescue dogs, photography, and thrifting. My husband and two teenagers are the great loves of my life. I am passionate about advocating for addiction recovery, writing about parenting, life, faith, and everything in between.