On my 25th birthday, July 16, 1997, I declared a tongue-in-cheek goal of making People’s Most Eligible Bachelors list before I turned 30. That lasted a month. On August 16 I met my wife.
Introduced through a friend, we met at a beer festival, tre romantique, and hit it off right away. A couple of days later we went to a movie together and my world has never been the same.
I can still see her walking across the theater lobby toward me. A summer type sweater over a silk top and skirt. Tan, beauty-queen legs that… sorry, where was I? Oh yeah, my world has never been the same.
Over the next several months, I thought of little else and few nights went by that she didn’t find a card or some memento on the windshield of her car after work or we would hang out to the wee hours laughing like crazy. I seriously don’t remember a single moment that I had doubts about her being the one. Wait. That’s not true, but that one moment involved a Malibu Rum concoction that just made her plain mean and she hasn’t had it sense, so that doesn’t count.
When we were married, April 17, 1999, she must have been out of her mind. Looking back, I had little to no clue about how to be a responsible man, let alone a good husband. We were living on her income because I was spending most of my time creating and giving self-improvement trainings for a company that paid me to sell financial products. They appreciated the training, but didn’t pay for it. She never complained or discouraged me because she saw how passionate I was about it. Without that moral and financial support, I’d still be wondering around, looking for myself.
Through the years, I’ve gotten a lot better as a bread winner, but made colossal mistakes as a husband. Unfocused, semi-reckless and mostly out of control, I’ve given her reasons to want to go. Not because I wanted her to, but because when you lapse in to a phase of living for yourself, you lose sight of the people that make you who you are. Marriage is crazy like that. As soon as you exchange rings, and two become one, you really are One.
Gone are the days of, “If I screw up, I’m the only one effected.” Every move you make has a direct impact on the other person because you are half of the same body. Growing up, I never really got a sense for it because my parents both stunk at marriage. Sorry Mom and Dad, but I doubt you would disagree. Their issues were different than mine, but the concept is the same. You are only as good as your other half. Thank God that my other half was good enough to hold us together because I certainly wasn’t holding up my end of the bargain.
Through it all though, she didn’t go. She set her jaw, forgave me, and pushed me into a new space where I could learn from my mistakes instead of spending the rest of my life regretting them. For that, I am eternally grateful.
Fast forward, those years are behind us and we are living the best years of our lives, one after another. We are best friends, lovers, co-parents (God help us), and ready for anything life has to offer. She is my biggest fan, my toughest critic, and most faithful guardian. My world is brighter when I help her be at her best because she is the reason I am at mine.
I love you Tammy. Happy tenth anniversary.