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Sailing to Manti

By Emily Milner

I grew up fearing I’d never get married. Does everyone worry about that, or is it just me? I don’t know. But in my case, I had just reason to worry: I had always been awkward around boys. I went on a grand total of one date in high school. I need Remedial Girl Skills for hair, nails, makeup, etc. And I have this outspoken tendency that’s not too attractive once I get ranting. I can curb it for a while, and I tried to on my (infrequent) dates, but I always knew that whoever I married would need to listen to me rant and not be repulsed by my strongly-held, loudly-articulated opinions.

All this is why I am awed when I think about my husband, and about our wedding day eight and a half years ago. I half-expected that I’d never get married, but instead I was led to find someone who feels as grateful for me as I do for him. I’m grateful not just to be married (despite my insecurities, I wasn’t going to marry just anybody), but to be married to a man who makes me laugh, who vacuums, who plays the piano and sings, who edits my writing. Oh, and he listens to me rant too.

Melissa Dalton-Bradford’s poem Sailing to Manti, written for her husband on their twenty-second anniversary, expresses beautifully that sense of awe I feel. Read it, and tell me about your husband, and why you love him.

About Emily Milner

(Poetry Board) graduated from BYU in Comparative Literature, but it was long enough ago that most of what she learned has leaked out. She would like to mention other hobbies or interests, but to be honest she spends most of her free time reading (although she does enjoy attempting yoga). She used to blog at hearingvoices.wordpress.com. For now, though, Segullah is her only blogging home, and it's a good one.

12 thoughts on “Sailing to Manti”

  1. How to put it in a simple reply- I want eternity with him, with a person who is far from perfect. And thank the heavens the feeling is reciprocal. Learning, growing together, trusting through time and into eternity. His humor, humility, quiet love, fatherhood, honor, patience, compassion.
    After watching my own father struggle and fall in marriage and fatherhood my own marriage seems a brilliant stunning miracle.
    This site is about writing, but this is one of those situations where words are not enough.

    Reply
  2. You're not the only one who wondered about themselves. I was out of college and well into my career before I found a man who was willing to abide my strangeness.

    And Jenny's right. Words aren't enough. I'm richly blessed.

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  3. I am going to stick my neck out here and share my feeling about the man who saved me from being on "old maid".

    Paradise
    (October 26, 2004)

    You were just beginning. I
    Was finished, almost, with the
    Treadmill and reading about
    Paradise, unrequited love and
    Fantasies induced by sweet elixirs.

    You spoke to me and I felt my heart
    Race and my mouth smile. Your unexpected
    Presence warmed me and the timbre of your voice
    Excited. It was again the joy of the time each of
    Our children was born. It was the confirmation
    Of the bond of intimate belonging that comes
    Into your eyes. And I was again young and
    In love because you were near.

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  4. Although I married fairly young, I was afraid, like you, about whether I would ever find someone who truly could love me. I had several realtionships, both in high school and college, that tested my self-worth. I remember asking my father what was wrong with me, and he only replied: "Cheryl, remember that they liked you first." It helped, but not enough to comfort me in face of the fact that they didn't KEEP liking me.

    When I met my husband, I figured it would be more of the same. We'd fall in love, more me than him, and he'd find out how weird I was and move on. When he stayed –willingly, excitedly! –it was a dream come true for me. And not just because I was finally loved, but because he was the man of my dreams. He was better than every man before him; better than I had hoped.

    Next week is our nine year anniversary. We've had our ups and downs; nothing is perfect. But he still gives me butterflies and I still long to talk with him late at night. He's my favorite friend. I'm truly blessed to have him as my companion.

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  5. Jim reaches out to me in the middle of the early, early morning with his warm hands and rubs the back of my neck. He says my neck is cold.
    One of the reasons I have stayed with him for fifteen years.

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  6. Oh, I love these. I agree with Jenny and Justine that words are not enough. I love your poem, Claudia! Cheryl, I like the way you put it: "better than every man before him; better than I had hoped." Melonie, what a sweet image.

    When I watch television it seems like even the so-called happily married couples pick and quarrel with each other. They're sarcastic in a way that I would never be. I guess the producers figure they need some conflict to make their television interesting. What I'd like to see sometime is a show that wasn't treacly-sweet about a happily married couple, who treated each other with courtesy and respect even during their challenging times. So, another question: what are your favorite literary or film depictions of good marriages? Not perfect ones, but realistic ones… and not romantic comedies, either. I want what happens after they get together, when the giddy joy deepens into love for life.

    Off the top of my head… I like the marriage in Orson Scott Card's "Lost Boys." They struggle, but there's caring and respect in spite of having one of their kids turn into a ghost.

    TV shows…. dunno. Cosby? I need help with that one.

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  7. Emily, you need to watch Friday Night Lights. The coach and his wife have a very real (and sweet) relationship. For my money, there is no better, nor more accurate, a depiction of a true marriage on TV right now.

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  8. Emily, I loved this post. Loved the poem. Loved the comments. I can't put it into a comment, how much I love my husband. He is everything to me. Everything.

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  9. Azúcar, thanks for the tip! I have heard good things about Friday Night Lights–I will have to give it a try.

    Thanks, Sue.

    Reply
  10. Another show that I think has a pretty realistic marriage is "Kyle XY". (it's only on in the summers on ABC family) Sure, they've thrown in a few hiccups along the way, but I've found the portrayal of the marriage to be quite realistic and altogether happy.

    Reply

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