It was 21 years ago when Diana walked down the aisle toward me. It was an outside wedding at Eden Garden’s State Park, a little warm, and it had threatened rain. There was a brief shower, but it held off for the ceremony. I looked like a dork in tails, and we still debate whose idea it was for me to wear that style of tuxedo. But she looked stunning, absolutely beautiful. And she’s done nothing but become more beautiful to me over the years. I found out later that as her dad walked her down the aisle that he told her it wasn’t too late to change her mind. I’m glad she didn’t, and I don’t blame her dad one bit. I’ve told this before and the usual response would be, “Wow, you and your father-in-law didn’t get along.” But we did. He was a very wise man, someone I looked up to. And even though he’s gone, I would still like to be like the man he was. I have daughters and I’m sure I’ll be telling them the same thing going down the aisle one day.
I look back over the last 21 years and see how much I’ve learned, how much we’ve grown, and I am so amazed at so many things. First, I’m amazed that she’s put up with me for this long. I don’t even want to live with myself sometimes and she does it on purpose! I’m amazed at our six beautiful, talented, smart children. Without them it would just me and her. How much fun would that be? Well, ok, it would be fun, but the kids certainly make it better. And I’m amazed that she still thinks I’m funny even though I’ve been telling the same jokes for over 20 years. She loves me enough to laugh at them anyway. Or maybe she’s just laughing at me. Either way, I like to think I still make her smile.
One thing I’ve learned is that marriage is not 50/50. Each person has to give 100%. And while there have been times over the years that one or both us didn’t give the full 100%, we complemented each other well enough to make up the difference until we got back on track. The overall work load of being married might not balance out all the time, but what ever your job is in the marriage, give 100% to it. That’s what we try to do. And we’ve done a good job making sure we work to our strengths.
For example, she likes working in the yard. I’d rather work in the kitchen. As a matter of fact, when we got married I’m not sure she knew what a kitchen was. She would call me at work when she couldn’t get the smoke detector to turn off when she attempted to cook canned biscuits. She’s come a long way since then. Also, she knows how to do minor plumbing, while I’m not allowed to play with power tools anymore after that one incident. And I’m not allowed to work on the cars. I haven’t been banned from doing electrical work yet, but I’m sure that’s just a matter of time. And I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed to install a washing machine after I flooded part of the house. And then again after I thought I fixed it. Oops. We each have our strengths and have done very well in letting each other use them.
We have gone through more trials than any couple should have to. But we’ve been blessed far beyond what we deserve. We’ve been at rock bottom and on top of the world a number of times over the years. I submit that the good times far outweigh the bad times. We aren’t perfect and don’t have a perfect marriage, but we’re perfect for each other.
Diana, I love you. You mean the world to me. It’s because of you that I do what I do. It’s because of you that I’m the man I am. You’ve told me before that one quality that you love about me is how hard I work to support the family. I do that because I love you. And one quality I love about you is that you keep our family together, moving in the right direction. Together, we are one and get it done. I love you.
Good day and God bless.