Happy 20th Anniversary to my wonderful husband – “I DO” was the smartest words I have ever spoken. With the 5 years of dating prior to marriage we have accumulated 25 years together! What an amazing man.
So I need to reflect where how did we get here… how did I become so blessed?
Our first date was September 27, 1987… we met at work. He called my house and my dad answered, which is the first miracle – lol! I wasn’t home and wasn’t even sure who he was because we only met once briefly. Thankfully my boss called to see if he called because I am not sure I would have called back, since I didn’t even recognize the name. Plus, I had to give him credit to even talk to my dad, who has a very deep kinda scary voice. So it was a date. He asked me to go dancing, please note, I can’t dance! But, I still said sure and we went an under 21 club on Route 21. My best friend Lynn came and helped pick out my outfit for the evening – she still has a better fashion sense than me! Peach shirt and grey pants – I even ironed it. So, he arrives and comes to the door and is dressed in the same colors. Back to not knowing who he was… I am a talker and apparently he was impressed with my “personality” at work. I also am NOT a visual person – someone could change the color of their hair, wear a crazy outfit, etc.. and I would honestly not notice (maybe because I am too busy talking – LOL!) So, when he picked me up, I finally put a face to the name. Handsome, a gentleman, and daring. What I mean by daring is I also believe in honesty, so on date one, I spilled out the plans for my life (college degree before marriage), family obligations, etc. I didn’t want to waste his time or mine… well, date two happened, date three happened… and twenty five laters we have experienced every piece of the wedding vows: richer/poorer, sickness/health, better/worse.
So, how did we get where we are today. I must say, that one of the first things we started doing together within the first month of dating was going to church together every Sunday. He came to my church since he wasn’t really active in one. We developed deep friendships with some great Christian couples. Attended Sunday School and Bible Studies. That truly was our foundation to our relationship. I went to work every weekend and that ended our going to church together for about seven years. At the time I wouldn’t say it did make a difference, but looking back it did. When I was able to switch shifts on weekends, I told him we as a family would go to any church he would attend. We have found our little country church and are so blessed. We go to church every Sunday we can as a family.
We had incredible role models of marriage. His parents are still together and enforced early on that divorce is not an option. My parents were also a picture of unconditional love. I don’t recall fighting as an option to solve problems. We went to church together as a family. When things got bad, they got closed. I have said before what a hero my dad is to me. Many men would walk out on the responsibility and care with my mom, but leaving is not an option. Real men step up to bat and love unconditionally and do not walk out! Jim and I have had health issues.. within 3 months of our wedding, I broke three vertebras in my back and was on bedrest and therapy for over a year. We then had a miscarriage. Followed by years of infertility treatments and timing our :”love life” only to be told we would never conceive naturally. We wanted children and Jim could have walked out, but he didn’t and we have been blessed! Then we had two high risk pregnancies with long bedrests, where he had to deal without an income and he had to pick up the slack at the house. I have also been aggressively worked up for what they believed to be breast cancer and endometrial cancer. Jim was diagnosed with diabetes and his levels at the time were life-threatening. Let’s not forget my scare with what they believed for me to be either a stroke or multiple sclerosis. Yep, we have endured.. my list is much longer than his, but leaving was never an option. He was given many reasons to walk out, but he is a real man and stepped up and not stepped out!
Communication is key. I can honestly recall two big differences of opinions/arguments in 20 years. But, as things come up we talk. I respect his space and he respects mine. I honor his commitment to being a firefighter and respect him even more for what it represents. We let each other know our plans (of note that was the 2 disagreements – although one became a little more complicated than that, but the root was that). If we are late, we call. If we need something for the family, we talk about it. If we need something, we let the other one know. If you can’t tell your husband, who can you tell? But we also believe that our problems stay within our house. We are the opposites when it comes to talking (except if he is with his firefighter or hunting friends). I talk all the time and he doesn’t. I also respect that he isn’t a ‘gossip” even though it drives me crazy. His true motto is not to get involved in things that do not affect him. We don’t sweat the small stuff and work out the big stuff.
Family is important. As in Lilo and Stitch – family means no one gets left behind. I must say, I have an interesting family. Jim has embraced all the issues with an interesting family, even when he should have run the other way – lol. But, I can tell you, his children, our immediate family unit, means everything to him. He believes in protecting them and defending them when the enemies attack. He is a good role model and stresses the importance of giving back to the community. We love to do things as a family, and have really focused more on that this past year. If they are in events, he attends them to watch. Again, when he chose a church to attend, he thought of the family. He has given up the dreams of the typical boy and embraces the differences of Sam. He loves to attend concerts with Mary and have her help him at fireman events. He is a great father!
So as I reflect on the past 20 years, it is evident that I am blessed. I also think about what can I do to make the marriage even better for the days, months, and years to come. One things for sure, we are in this till “death do us part” … I prepare for our future – and plan to make it even better!