Twenty-Seven years ago today I said: “I DO” to the man of my dreams!
I can remember walking down the aisle; the church was full, and once the wedding march started all eyes on me!
A shy girls nightmare!
I was certain I was going to faint or trip and I did….I tripped!
Then I saw Gary, looking so gorgeous and sexy in his little suit.
He stared at me like he had never seen anyone so beautiful and I knew if I stayed focused on HIM and stared into his eyes, I could make it down the aisle to the end of the church without falling.
I was in LOVE.
I KNEW in my heart that this was the man that I wanted to share the rest of my life with no matter how long that life was.
This man is my other half, the missing piece I’d looked for all my life.
I imagined having a family with him, I imagined growing old with him, I imagined what we would look like in our walkers, wheelchairs or rocking chairs and I knew for certain that no matter what life tossed at us, he would still be holding my hand at the end.
The day I met him, he stole a piece of my heart and the day I married him, he replaced it with a piece of his.
Him and I became “US” and our journey began.
Jesus is my Rock. I knew I wanted this marriage to stand on a firm foundation and for me that foundation was built around my faith. But Gary, at the time, did not share the same beliefs.
Still, because we were connected and because he loved me, he agreed to get married in a church in front of God and our family and friends to celebrate our love.
This was a special day for us, nothing was going to rock our world.
Then it happened…
The Pastor surprised us by sharing with the whole congregation that 75% of all marriages end in divorce!
Honestly I have no idea why he said this, or what he said after, because my jaw dropped, but I remember thinking: “This is NOT going to be us, we WILL be the 25% who succeed”
Then I sarcastically thought: “Let me check back with you in 25 yrs. pastor, I bet you will be in the 75%, Thanks for ruining my wedding vows!”
But the truth is, his words served as a compass for us. We were bound and determined not to be labeled or become a statistic. Still, we had the chance to give up right then and there or create something we could be proud of.
I knew one thing… I LOVED this man with all I was. I had never loved anything or anyone like I loved him. He was my soul mate, we were bonded and I would have given up my life and followed him anywhere, in fact that is just what he did for me!
Our friends and family sometimes say we are the poster children for a happy, healthy marriage.
The truth is it’s been hard but I Thank God every day that neither of us gave up.
He came to me a young man, in a new country with no friends or family and he was severely homesick but I loved him through it.
He needed to re-establish himself in the work force, it was tough on him as a man, taking pay cuts and working in awful conditions but he did it for us and I loved him through it.
I came to him a broken girl scared, hurt and unsure I could ever heal and he loved me through it.
We have been to hell and back and we loved each other through it all.
I don’t have to imagine anymore.
We grew up together, and we’re growing old together.
And as we age, we will be faced with more tests, challenges and issues and some days will feel insurmountable but I am certain of this…
“A love that is strong will outlast any crises.
“Two people who truly love, respect & value each other will fight to the death to stay together because alone they are a simply a shell of a person.”
“Individuality doesn’t end when you get married, it is only then that you find your biggest cheerleader and the love of your life are one in the same.”
“True love doesn’t fade, people run.”
“When two hearts beat as one, they beat stronger and anything can be overcome.”
We are not the same two people who stood up there and said “I DO”
Our love is not the same as it was 27 years ago.
We are stronger, more passionate, more forgiving, more accepting and more understanding because we have been to hell and back and stood together and not apart.
I love this man with all I am.
I do not know why or how I got as blessed as I did but I Thank God for the gift.
He has healed my heart and soul and I will be forever grateful.
To quote my husband on our wedding day.
“When people ask us why we did it…We did it all for love!”