When I was younger, I was like most girls who had dreams of finding the man of my dreams, getting married, having children, living in a house with a white picket fence and having this carefree fabulous life without stress and worry.
Dream on, hooker! Dream on!!!
But I also always thought when I met ‘the man of my dreams’ that there would be this moment of clarity when the stars aligned, time stood still and everything just seemed right with the world. But I can’t really say that it was that clear at first, but I do admit it’s seems pretty transparent now.
Before we ever became husband and wife, we were together for 5 ½ half years before he proposed. And believe me, I definitely got my ear full from friends and family with questions about how long was I going to stay, what if we never got married, was I okay with never getting married, and ultimately what did I want? And at the time, I gave my then-boyfriend a lot of leeway when it came to this subject because he’d already been through one marriage that had left him with quite a bit of heartache, angst and bitterness, but also two beautiful children as well. And no matter when I set some measly deadline in my head, I could never bring myself to actually do anything about it when the time actually arrived because I was just too crazy about him and his kids.
During those 5 ½ years, we broke up once for a week, moved in together (to my mother’s dismay), went on several vacations, dealt with some “other family issues,” and just became a family minus the husband and wife thing.
But to my surprise around 12:30 a.m. on March 24, 2006, he proposed as I laid deathly ill in bed half asleep. And just over a year later, we were married on June 30, 2007, which was also my late father’s birthday.
Now as we celebrate seven years of marriage and over 14 years of being together, it’s hard to imagine my life being any different than it is right now.
I have joked to friends that if someone would’ve told me in high school while I was dreaming about my prince charming, that he was going to be a divorced man with two kids, who was also 10 years older than me; I probably would’ve told them that they were out of their mind. But he’s my version of prince charming in his own ‘grumpy, bites people’s heads, rough around the edges, amazingly loving when he wants to be” kind of way.
But no matter what whether we were married or just together, I’ve always felt like we were a team, making decisions together, trying to understand what the other one was thinking (that might be relative), always trying to do what was best for our family and never wavering when we need each other’s support.
But I will be the first person in the room to stand up to say that marriage isn’t easy. It’s hard. It sucks at times. It’s a lot of work. And it’s an everyday compromise. But it’s not about compromising who you are for the sake of your spouse. It’s about compromising to make sure what’s best for the two of you together is always at the forefront. Once you are married or at least make a serious commitment about being together, all decisions should be made about what is best for the two of you together, not how does this solution best suit only you even though it could leave your spouse or partner light years behind you.
Years ago, while at a family wedding, I remember someone asked me how I could stay married to my husband and I simply replied, “Because I don’t know what I’d do without him.” And this person replied in a condescending tone, “So you don’t think you could live your life without him?”
With a kind look and a smile, I responded, “It’s not that I can’t live my life without him. It’s that there is no part of my life that I want to experience without him.” She didn’t have a response for that one because later we would find out that she was very unhappy in her own life.
With all of our ups and downs, there is no one I would rather playfully bicker with, raise our children with, grow old with, or even take on the world with – than my husband.
Seven years ago, I was asked a no-brainer question in a big church surrounded by our closest friends and family. And I responded, “I do.” While it hasn’t been a continuous party since we left the church, we’ve had our moments of great happiness, extreme sadness and all those other memories in the middle that make up our life.
Thank you, honey, for the life you’ve helped us create thus far. While we both know being married isn’t easy, I’m happy you gave it a second chance to get it right with me. And while we may not always get it “right,” at least we have fun trying along the way.