Last week, I turned forty. It’s a big deal because it signals a new phase in life. It’s been a week but I don’t feel any different. Maybe because I haven’t really acknowledged that I am forty. Maybe it’s the euphoria similar to that new car smell. Regardless, most people usually take the time to reflect on their lives and plan out the next phase. So, through my blog, I’m going to do the very same.
Welcome to my first ever blog series, 40 Years of Favorites. Throughout the year, I will expound on the events that have shaped my time on Earth. Some are positive, some negative. But no matter, all of these events, personal or otherwise, have shaped my view of the world and my expectations of the future.
So for my first entry, it’s appropriate I reflect on one of the most important days in my life. Today, I celebrate my 14-year wedding anniversary to my wife, Colleen.
We met New Year’s Day in 1998. We attended the same church, though in different ministries. We wouldn’t meet again until 2002. I was focused on pursuing my English-Creative Writing degree. During that time, my mom and stepfather, at the time, were trying to fix me up with someone from Louisiana. (Don’t ask.)
After I graduated, I started going to a local church, where I met Colleen once again. It took a few months before I worked the nerve to ask her out on a date. Our first date started on the wrong foot. I didn’t know what to say to her. I remember the words she spoke.
“This can go either one of two ways. If you talk, we’ll have a good time. If you don’t, the date will not go so well.”
Well, it was something along that line. I was insecure. I didn’t want to tell her that I was an anime fan and that I was a writer. But that’s what I shared. And lo and behold, I learned she wrote, too. She dabbled in poetry and short stories. I found a kindred spirit. But it took some time, specifically New Year’s Eve, to realize that I found the one for me. We went out on more dates, getting to know more about each other. And in May 2003, I professed my love through karaoke. I sang *NSYNC’s “Girlfriend” to her. I had to sing it twice because she wasn’t there the first time. It was worth it.
It was the first time since high school that I found myself in love. It was the first time since high school that I was in a committed relationship. We continued to learn more about ourselves. We helped each other through some hard times. And even though we broke up, our attraction continued to grow. We got back together after six months.
Now, I’ll be honest. Marriage was not something I considered when we got back together at first. But it was inevitable. But the way we got engaged was anything but romantic. And it was a spur-of-the-moment decision. We were watching “Runaway Bride” at her apartment. By the end, we decided to take the next step. I proposed twice—shocker!—because I didn’t do it right the first time. I forgot to get down on one knee.
The weeks and months leading up to our wedding were anything but smooth. We had a lot of storms to weather, figuratively and literally. Family drama, staying on budget, living arrangements, a literal blizzard. But through it all, we got married on this date in 2005, one day after our original intended date. (The blizzard set us a day back. It was a blessing in disguise.)
Fourteen years, two kids, and many storms later, we’re still together. My relationship to Colleen is the longest I’ve ever been in a romantic relationship. Through it all, I am still discovering ways to make the marriage stronger. We’re working to demonstrate to our kids an example of how not only a marriage should be, but a relationship overall.
I can’t imagine myself with any other woman but Colleen. We’ve been through so much together and we have so much in common. I love her for her honesty and directness. She loves me for my creativity. We’re not perfect, but we get each other. And that’s what matters.