My Man, My Best Decision

The record will show, I made more than my fair share of awful decisions regarding men. 

Back in the day, I had a habit of passing time with jerks and drunks. I chased after bad boys who weren't nice to me, convinced I could make them into what I wanted. 

That I was able to finally get it right, is a testament to hard work and sticktoitiveness. (This part isn't so much an homage to my husband as an egotistical rant. Hang tight, they'll be plenty of mushy love in a minute.) It took a lot of effort to make my way through all the frogs, and get my daddy issues sorted out.

I consider it a very near miss, that I didn’t end up surrendering myself permanently, to one of those guys who cast dark shadows over the light in me.

Instead of settling, I suffered years of desperation and heart-eating loneliness.  I trudged through the nastiness of sorting through my innards. I came to recognize the relationship examples offered to me in my childhood as toxic and overcame my own self-destructive patterns. It was hell. But I’d backpack through it in saran wrap and a snowsuit, all over again if I had to, in order to be where I am now.

I almost shut my husband down, early on in our dating. I was afraid to let  a man be good to me. When my brain tried to jump back on that old broken track and push him away, he snatched my grey matter up in his strong hands and said, “You best knock that off.” It only took the one time. After he brought me back, I knew that being with him would be my life.

The most surprising thing about the right relationship, is how effortless it is compared to drama and the strife I had previously known. I used to equate  chronic struggle with value, but I had it so wrong. Having to constantly fight to make a a partnership work, is ridiculous. 

When I was no longer spending all my time trying to figure out how to get along in a relationship, I was able to start living my life.

I get to use my energy to generate my own electricity, instead of trying to juice-up someone else's faulty wiring.  Because my husband is his own healthy, self-sustaining being, I am free to increase my own brilliance. 

He encourages my dreams. In the unbreakable foundation of my husband's love and support, I have rooted myself. Here, there are no are bounds to my potential for growth. (First I’m a lightbulb, now what, a  ficus?)

The choice to be with my husband isn’t only the best choice compared to all the lousy choices in my past, it is the best choice possible of all the possible choices. 

He is a nice guy, my husband. Anyone will tell you so. He listens. He is patient. He is generous. He is loving. He is happy. 

Bad boys aren't cool, they're rotten. It takes a thousand times the man to be kind, than it does to be an asshole. 

Sometimes, I step out of a family scene for a moment to watch my husband, wrestling and laughing with our kids. He teases them and covers them in kisses.  His love for them lives right out in the open. He will never let them doubt it.   

I stand outside the bedroom door and listen to him teaching our preschooler to read, encouraging her to sound out words with endearing patience. He makes a game of it. He knows the best way to work with her, because he knows her. He is her friend and her teacher. 

Many evenings he walks through the door, beat from his day at the office and upon finding me worn down from the chaos at home, steps in to take the load off me. 

My husband is my partner in everything.  

I once told our four-year-old, how pleased with myself I am for choosing the right daddy for her. Since then, on several out-of-the-blue occasions, she’s lit up, reached out to hug me and said, “Thank you for giving me my daddy.” Like he is the birthday present she’s always wanted.

Not only did I marry the best man for me,  I also married the best man for our two daughters. A man worth all the heartache and strife it took to get to him. 


A version of this story was featured on Mamapedia

Kathy Radigan

02/14/2014 1:48pm

This post really hit home with me. I too worked really, really hard on all my "stuff" so that I would be ready when the right guy came along. And when he did, I too had a hard time because the idea of someone being nice to me, you know, calling a few days in advance to book a date, calling the day after a date to say they had a good time freaked me out. This Valentine's day marks the 22 anniversary of me saying yes to his proposal, and that was my best choice! Thanks for a great post!!!


Carisa Miller

02/15/2014 11:16am

I was amazed at first too. I didn't realize that men existed who actually called or showed up when they said they were going to. Well worth the work and the wait. Congratulations to us both!


Lisa R. Petty

02/17/2014 1:23pm

It's like we had the same experience. I finally found a good guy when I found my husband. I'm glad you also found happiness.


Carisa Miller

02/18/2014 10:45am

Breaking the toxic cycle made my life. Three cheers for nice guys!



02/18/2014 6:49am

I dated my fair share of the wrong guys too and somehow I think they all helped me figure out what I didn't want. So glad you found the perfect one for you.


Carisa Miller

02/18/2014 10:47am

I've always thought that too. I can tell you exactly what I don't want-because I had it and threw it back! Thank you, Jessica


Kim Bongiorno of Let Me Start By Saying

02/18/2014 10:32am

Yep, I was a fixer, too. And then I married a great guy who is the kind of man I want my kids to be able to see their mom with. Our son deserves to have a great male role model, and our daughter deserves to see that her mom deserves to be treated the right way. Love all around, Carisa!


Carisa Miller

02/18/2014 11:07am

It is a tremendous relief that my past didn't become my future. After the first couple nice guys I dated, I was shocked by the absence of drama. You mean, this is how healthy people do it? Thank you for coming by, Kim!


Husband Weighs In

02/18/2014 1:26pm

And here you've been telling me you are unable to write fiction. The NYT Best Sellers - Fiction list rank this a top ten future book! 

Thank you for the kind and (mostly inaccurate) words, Dear Bride.


Carisa Miller

02/18/2014 10:12pm

Well if it isn't the ever humble prankster. Hello, Darling.



02/18/2014 6:06pm

Wow! Aren't we lucky?! I found my Mr. Right after more than a few bad dating decisions. After 32 years (and counting!!) he is still dead sexy to me and he makes my heart happy. I can't wait for you to get to 32+ years with your man!


Carisa Miller

02/18/2014 10:15pm

How I love to hear such a love story! Thank you, Pattie. We're going on 7 years together...feels like 5 minute and forever at the same time.


Courtney Conover

02/24/2014 4:06am

Hi, Carisa! Nice to "meet" you; I'm making my way over here from your Scary Mommy 15 Differences post, which is The Bomb, by the way. I love this post, too. I'll be checking in more often!

Have a good Monday.



02/25/2014 1:23pm

Ahhhhhh, sooo sweet! I'm so happy you found you hubby, good ones are such a treasure. I am always amazed to look at Matt and think "yep, that's mine". 10 years this year and everyone of them have



02/25/2014 1:25pm

Been great! Sorry fingers get ahead of me!



06/14/2014 6:11pm

I love the mush! I was lucky enough to meet my husband before I could date too many Mr Wrongs. We were so young, and I am so thankful that we have grown together to make this life we have. Happy Fathers Day to your best decision ever, Carisa!


Carisa Miller

06/14/2014 6:31pm

Ahhh, young love! Your story sounds pretty amazing, too. Hooray for good men!



06/15/2014 7:06am

Oh Carisa! You made me cry! What a wonderful love story about your whole family! Thank you for sharing. Happy Father's Day to you all!


Carisa Miller

06/15/2014 9:43am

You big baby! : ) I'm touched, that you're touched. Thank you so much!

Paige Kellerman

06/15/2014 9:27am

Awesome! I need people like you to write wonderful things like this because you're so much better at it.

Carisa Miller

06/15/2014 9:42am

I cannot tell a lie, Mrs. Kellerman, I get incredibly uncomfortable when I turn the smart-ass off and write something sentimental. Thank you for the kind words.