I'm not a very affectionate person, usually. I'm rather reserved and, for all I know, it probably looks like I have the emotional range of a toad. But I do have feelings, and they break through the wall of reserve occasionally. It's usually through my writing, but sometimes it surges out verbally. J. is usually the recipient of these outbursts (I'm married to him after all).
This is what I've told him: "Don't ever die."
While this might seem like obsessive neediness (depends on how you look at it), those three words encapsulate how keenly I recognized at that very moment how much he means to me. Those moments come and go, ebbing like the tide. The last time I told him this was during the closing credits for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," a movie about the lifelong love affair between a woman and a man with an unusual handicap. The actors must be exceptionally good, to cause such a verbal outbreak from me.
So, obviously, I love J (and I tell him this, far more frequently than "Don't ever die," in case you're wondering). I tell people that when we met, we started talking, and we haven't stopped. It's been eight years so far (five of those in holy matrimony). While we have our differences (he just can't quite understand the right-brain view of things; for an example, see this post), all that's done is to ensure that we're always learning from each other. There is no stasis in the relationship, only room to grow.
That's my ode of thankfulness for J., who is my better half.