Friday, January 14, 2011

Of Knights in Shining Armor and Such

My husband and I have an anniversary tomorrow, our 17th. I have been thinking lately about those things that have kept me happily married over the years. All too often, I take my husband for granted. And then sometimes a chance conversation with a friend reminds me how unusually blessed I am in this stubborn New Englander that I married.

17 years ago, Brad was a 21-year old sometime college student, living at home and working nightshift at IBM. I was older, a widow, a single mom, and a professional. Logic would never envision us together, but then, logic hardly has a corner on wonderful, does it? We went target shooting on our first date, paused to watch the sunset over Lake Champlain, then struggled to find a late-night dinner that would fit into my vegetarian lifestyle. I never intended to date him again, but I had not taken into account the Wallace charm. From guns to reggae to Hill Cumorah to Mozart, somehow I fell in love without intending to.

I celebrate my anniversary tomorrow because not only do I love my husband, but I rather like him, as well. After all these years, we still find ourselves talking for hours without struggling for words. I seek his advice, and often I even follow that advice.When laughter sends tears down my cheeks, or the sunrise dazzles the frost-covered trees along the road, I hurry to share the moment with Brad. Years ago, on vacation in Maine and sleeping peacefully, I felt a tap on my shoulder. The tide had come in, and Brad wanted to share it with me. We dangled our feet off the wall outside our hotel, listening to the waves. Those are moments to cherish, worth far more than Kay Jewelers will ever comprehend.

I celebrate another anniversary also precisely because of the painful times, those episodes that have periodically left us staring helplessly at a widening gulf between us. Years ago, in corporate life, I sat in a customer service seminar and learned an important truth. A company's most loyal customers are generally not those who have never had an issue with the product, but rather those who have experienced significant issues and the successful resolution of those issues. I can tell you without hesitation that the same truth applies to marriage. Late nights have found us immersed in deeply painful conversation, wounded by life or by each other, mists clouding the vision of eternity that should inspire us on. Sometimes we claw our way to the other side of the gulf, fingerhold by fingerhold. Sometimes we stumble on a miraculous bridge. But always, eventually, we find ourselves standing hand in hand on the far side of the impasse, a little bruised but stronger.

Brad forgives me. He inspires me, pushes me upward, expands my soul. He loves me at my most unlovable moments and believes I am beautiful. He honors me with honesty and gracefully accepts my honesty in return. He massages my feet even though he would rather not and stays up late at night so that I can wake up to a sparkling kitchen. He jumped into fatherhood without complaint, loving my son as his own. He is the champion of our children, even when they don't realize it, and my own safe haven when the storms swirl.

Simply put: I love my husband. Happy Anniversary!


  1. That was really beautiful, precisely because it is truthful. What a testament to and a good example of faithful marriage.

    Undoubtedly, this won't come as a surprise to Brad; he certainly knows it.

    Happy Anniversary to you both!

    "...logic hardly has a corner on wonderful, does it?"
    Love that line!!

  2. As my wife knows, I am not one for PDA (and I am reminded of that often:) and I am not much of a writer... so I won't clog up the comments! The only thing I will say is that I have the BEST wife and that I love her to death... and beyond! Thanks for the wonderful write-up... that makes my anniversary the best yet! Oh... and yes, marraige rocks (at least for me when you have the BEST:)!

    Brad (the husband)

  3. Great portrayal and tribute. Congrats on your anniversary and thank you for teaching me to remember the small things in relationships that matter so greatly. (I also enjoyed hearing from "the husband". I have had ah-ha moments after interactions with Brad and I think he's felt the same too - that someone as buttoned down as me and someone as wild (ha ha) as him can become friends. All thanks to you!)