I Had To Poop In Front Of My Husband To Finally Realise I Wanted To Marry Him

"When I met Bo, I was swiping on Tinder for a hookup."
the author and her husband at their wedding
Photo Courtesy Of Christina Birdsall
the author and her husband at their wedding

I met my first husband when I was 30 and very quickly decided, “This is it!” And once I’d proclaimed, I refused to admit that, well, it wasn’t. Call me naive, stubborn or hopelessly romantic, but not only did I not break up with him when I clearly should have ― we got married. I was a captain going down with the ship if the ship was a legal document tying you to someone you actually don’t even like.

It did not work out.

Within a week of meeting my current husband, I told him, “Just so you know. I’m not getting married, and I don’t think I want kids.” It became a quote so famous, we immortalised it on the cocktail napkins at our wedding.

At the time, I meant those words.

When I met Bo, I was swiping on Tinder for a hookup. A fling. A nice guy who wouldn’t annoy me and would *hopefully* be good in bed. Not a boyfriend, and certainly NOT a husband. Fresh out of that super toxic and incredibly dysfunctional first marriage, the last thing I wanted was any real intimacy.

Even if I did meet that mythical creature referred to as “the one.” I did not trust my decision-making skills. Sure, my ex had sold me a bill of goods, but I bought it. (It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me.) I picked someone so unbelievably wrong, and I didn’t just date him. We made it fucking legal.

But Bo caught my eye. He had a picture of himself with a black eye on his profile, but the look on his face wasn’t giving “bar fight.” It was giving, “This is a dumb story I’d like to tell you about.” Turns out he had walked into a door. Not even a glass door. He had my attention.

Still, to prove to the universe and to myself that no man could hold me down, I flaked on our first date. I didn’t even make an excuse. “I’m having too much fun at a winery with my girlfriend. Can we reschedule?” He wasn’t offended. He just proposed a new date.

We met for drinks the following Thursday, and something happened that I was not expecting. We clicked. It was natural, organic ― I was being myself. Gross. There was a palpable attraction, which was my ultimate goal for the evening. But our conversation flowed. We went on more dates, but I had him at arm’s length. What the hell did he want from me? With all this “nice guy” tomfoolery. Surely he’d turn into a demonic loser. I just had to give it time.

When he invited me to a Halloween party his parents were hosting, I immediately said no. Meeting his parents? Was this guy high? Curiosity overruled my trepidation when he showed me the invite featuring an artistic drawing with a woman’s nipples exposed.

I told him I’d go for research purposes only. We attended the soiree dressed as the sisters from “The Shining.” I spent the evening smoking cigarettes, drinking whiskey by the pool and casually talking to his friends.

“This isn’t serious, this is a fling” was my mantra for the night.

A week later, one of my friends was having a party. I invited him, then immediately started to sweat. We went to a late lunch beforehand, and I sat there with a hoagie in my hand and felt sick. Why had I invited him? I started acting weird, and he finally asked me what was wrong. To my surprise, I told him the truth.

“I don’t want you to go to the party. I’m not ready for you to meet all my friends.”

He didn’t get mad or make me feel bad. He just said, “OK. I don’t have to go.”

Six months later, we moved in together.

I loved living alone. I loved my apartment. For the first time since hitting puberty, I didn’t need male approval to approve of myself. I never needed to live with someone again. Once I realised that, it freed me up to choose it.

Maybe that explains what happened when I came home from a bachelorette party feeling hungover and sappy one night. I blurted out a question that was NOT premeditated.

“But what if I want a baby?”

When I got pregnant with our son, I STILL wasn’t on board with marriage. I knew Bo would be a good dad and a good co-parent. I didn’t need him to be a husband as well.

Fun fact! You have to have a bowel movement before they let you leave the hospital after a cesarean birth. Maybe that’s the rule for vaginal birth, too. I’m never finding out. After the baby was born, I could barely sit up or get out of my bed, let alone walk to the bathroom. So when the moment finally felt right, Bo had to escort me. He held my hand as I cried on the toilet and pushed out a No. 2.

the wedding napkins with the infamous quote
Photo Courtesy Of Christina Birdsall
the wedding napkins with the infamous quote

I had never been that vulnerable with any partner before. I made a baby with this man, but it was in that moment of relief that I finally felt like I could really commit to him. An emotional barrier dropped along with my BM.

My first live-in boyfriend picked me up from the airport once after I had accidentally soiled my skinny jeans on the plane (bad oysters). I tried not to hug him for too long or make direct eye contact.

I shoved my pants in the dumpster as soon as we got home, and we ended things about five months later. It wasn’t directly related to this incident. But the fear of sharing my poopy pants told a deeper story. I was afraid that if I shared my authentic self ― the good, the bad and the smelly ― I’d be rejected.

I can trace the lines of my relationships’ past and directly link each one to a similar lack of intimacy, vulnerability and trust. I felt more in control when I was seeking approval. It blinded me. With Bo, I want to be with him, but I don’t need to. Now I can see the difference.

We celebrated our marriage on May 6, 2023, with close friends and family. But it was only once I let it out that I really started to let him in.