I won the husband lottery, I don’t just say that because he gifts me gold on Delta every year and takes me to exotic NASCAR locations all over the county. No it’s so much more then that. Don is a keeper.
People are always asking me what the secret of a good marriage is, I say it’s a combination of luck, commitment, friendship and poverty with poverty being a key element. 30 years ago when we started this journey together we were poor. Life was not easy but any time we considered separating or divorce we had to back away from it because we could barely afford to live together, living apart was not in the budget. So on we trudged through babies, diapers, jobs, and all the other moments that you experience as a married couple. The old cliche what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger was true, though I think with us it was more like who doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, through our struggles we did become stronger.
After 10 years of marriage and 3 children we found out that there had been a glitch with our wedding and in fact we were not really even married in the eyes of the church. In order to fix the glitch Don would have to get an annulment from his previous wife Susan, the process was lengthy and expensive not to mention a little embarrassing, Don had to call a woman he had not seen in more then 10 years to let her know their marriage needed to annulled, luckily she was good natured and willing to fill out the forms filled with relatively personal information and call on the witnesses that the church required. Our wonderful Parish Priest Msgr Brosnan knew the process was going to be a financial burden so he had the church take care of the expense. Both Don and Susan agreed there was something healing about the annulment process, even though their marriage had been brief both agreed it gave them a closure neither knew they needed.
That year at Easter we stood before Msgr Brosnan to make our vows to one another once more. Just before our priest told each of us if you have any doubts this is the time to let me know. We looked at each other (and our 3 children) and knew that even in our roughest moments we would rather be together then apart. When we married the first time I heard our wedding vows but did not think about the true meaning, this time my eyes filled with tears as we repeated through richer and poorer, sickness and health, those words really meant something. I knew we would have our happily ever after but the journey was no fairy tale. This wedding was just us and 2 witnesses (Pam Mire and Diana Carpenter), no pictures or flowers, no honeymoon just our family saying yes it’s been tough but I would not trade a minute of it, and I’m ready to keep going.
That was twenty years ago, our children have all grown up now. Don has a great job that keeps him on the road a good deal of the time. We are far from rich but I no longer lay awake at night worrying how we will pay our bills. Being apart so much helps us to value the precious time we have together. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful boss who has worked to allow me the be off part of the the time that Don is home, but even with my flexible schedule our time together is rare yet very treasured.
When we got married we were in love, and I thought that love would make our lives perfect. We soon went through a phase where I felt like the couple in “Paradise By the Dashboard Light”. “If I have to spend another minute with you I don’t think that I can survive.” Somewhere in the middle we were like Golde and Teyve in Fiddler on the Roof asking ” Do you love me?” “For twenty-five years I’ve lived with him Fought him, starved with him Twenty-five years my bed is his if that’s not love, what is”?
Now I look at Don and cannot imagine my life without him, he has become my best friend, my greatest advocate, he believes in me, tells me I am beautiful even on my worst day. When he is in town he cleans, cooks, remodels the house while I’m at work, sometimes he even finishes those projects. I look at our life now and think of the Jason Mraz son “Lucky to be in love with my best friend..”
I won the husband lottery, and while that lottery did not include a big cash payout it gave me a life filled with more happiness, love and adventure then any amount of money could ever buy.
Our life is far from perfect, but our love is perfect.