My boyfriend, my partner, my lover, brings me joy every day.
Moments of joy are what keep our love alive, strong, and enduring.
It’s not about how much money either of us makes.
It’s not about how often we have sex.
And it’s not about how he looks.
As Allan Downs says in his book, The Velvet Rage: ‘Love is about noticing joy in the presence of another person.’
The first joy
I can’t show you a picture of the one thing he does that brings me the most joy. And it’s not what you think, you dirty fucker!
Christiaan’s laugh is infectious and often. We can be quietly sitting together at home, and without warning he starts laughing.
Quizzically I look at him. ‘What are you laughing about?’
‘Do you remember that episode of Family Guy when Peter…’
Raw, honest, spontaneous, and genuine.
The second joy
Most mornings he’s up before me. When I come downstairs there’s always a glass of water on the counter for me.
Of course, I can pour my own water, but it’s the fact he’s thinking of me. It’s one of his rituals, and whether he knows it or not, I notice.
The third joy
The bed. He makes the bed most mornings. The odd time we both leave it a mess. But I feel it’s somehow ‘his thing.’ And it’s cute.
This morning I walked into the bedroom after a shower to open the window. I saw the bed and it brought me a moment of joy and the inspiration for this post.
The fourth joy
Look at the size of those shoes! Size 13s!
Now, why are his shoes there, and not in the front hall closet or on a shoe mat by the door?
‘Because they’re my shoes and don’t tell me what to do!’
He’s right. This used to drive me crazy. Now I see it and accept it as his uniqueness, and that gives me joy.
The fifth and absolutely not final joy
In June 2015 we both got matching tattoos, just before Pride.
Neither of us wants to get married. We both respect the rights of LGBTQ people to get married, but neither of us likes the ‘institution of marriage’ and all the baggage that comes with it. Rings are much too traditional and easy to remove.
Our tattoo reminds me of the joy I experience living with and being in love with Christiaan, every day. When I see it, I smile.
This column first appeared on Medium – reproduced with permission. Darren Stehle is The Queer Coach and publisher of Th-Ink Queerly on Medium. He helps ‘gay men to break out of the status quo that fucks with who they are.’