Today is our 43rd wedding anniversary–43 years–not days– and I realize my husband and I are among a breed almost as rare as hen’s teeth. People seem to give up so quickly on relationships these days. They don’t understand that marriage is hard work and compromise.
John and I met at university under less than ideal circumstances. He was with my can-mate–the term given to people who share the washroom between two dorm rooms– and I was on garbage detail. Wearing this horrid, unflattering quilted robe, my hair in rollers, I went waltzing into the room, unaware that Dee-Dee had a guest. Was it love at first sight? Hardly! I was mortified.
A couple of weeks later, we met again, with me once more at a disadvantage. I’d had a mishap. I’d stepped on a piece of glass that had become infected and ended up in the university infirmary. When I got out of the infirmary, I went home for a few days. I came back to school on a Saturday, but there wasn’t anyone else around. John called looking for Dee, they were casual friends, but not dating, and when I told him she was away, he invited me out to a ghetto party. If you’ve seen the movie Animal House, you know what a ghetto party is like! Bored with no one to talk to and nothing to do, I agreed. I never looked back. That date marked the beginning of a relationship that has lasted 45 years. Has it been all sunshine and roses? No, of course not, but if I had to do it again, I would with that man by my side.
People have asked me why the couples in my novels are drawn to one another so quickly. I guess it’s because I use my real-life experience. I believe in soul mates. I believe that when you meet the right person, your heart knows and there is a incredible sense of belonging –of fitting–that’s different from anything else you’ve experienced. I knew John was the one I wanted to spend my life with after the first couple of hours we were together. In fact, the next morning, I told my roommate, I was going to marry that guy. She reminded me of that on my wedding day. John and I became inseparable, spending all of our non-class time together. We could talk about almost anything, and there was no awkwardness between us. He made me laugh then and makes me laugh now. God blessed us with 3 children and 5 grandchildren. We had our share of dark days with sadness and losses, but we grew stronger together and overcame our obstacles.
As the years have passed, many things have changed in our lives, but what hasn’t changed is out love and friendship. I enjoy the time we spend together–just the two of us, and the time we spend with others. He is the other half of my heart and my soul. I thank God for sending me John and I am forever grateful for what we have.
I love you, with all that I am.