Ever wonder how people stay in love after many years of marriage? Falling in love is quiet frankly the easy part but "staying in love" is such a different feat. When I look back at the past 17 years of "this life" so many things come to mind but one thing is for sure-- The love that once was is no longer. You might wonder what I mean by this and well in order to bring you to this realization I have to go back to where it all began. In 1998, on the 26th day of May outside St. Croix Central High School, a young charismatic but extremely shy young man had finally got the courage to ask me, Ms. "hard to get", if I would like to be his girlfriend, after months of talking. Yes I said talking, because "dating" was not in my (dangerously protective) uncle's vocabulary. I happily said YES! and as summer quickly approached, we rarely saw each other, except for our occasional glances and very monitored handshakes at our church. These imaginary dates, continued all through summer until school started again where my, now boyfriend, was in his 12th grade. As most, if not all, teenagers in "love" we felt like we could not function apart. Nights and weekends felt so long because the school hours were the only time we could see each other (remember that protective uncle of mine?). Love letters, poems, songs, flowers & hearts-- they were all part of this fairy tale romance. We vowed to never become that boring couple who no longer had date nights, sent love notes, spoke to each other everyday or got tired of showing love. Nope! Not us! We were soulmates, awww!
We both graduated high school (Class of 1999 & 2000), both started jobs, both ready to live our lives as one, or so we thought! We were both busy with our schedules. I was working and going to college full time and he was busy working in his father's car dealership. Ironically, after previous years of longing for time together we rarely saw each other. I remember seeing him 2-3 times a week and not thinking anything of it until it became less and less. It seemed like the end was near for us after five years together, however, we hung on by a simple urine test-- a pregnancy test that is! Yes, we were pregnant with our first child (a daughter) and were SCARED out of our wits! I for one, thought my uncle would surely kill me once he found out, even if I was 21 years old, living on my own, working and studying full-time but to my surprise he was very supportive, Thank God! My boyfriend's parents were in the middle of relocating so the transition was made smoother on his end, i think. Fast forward just one year and we got hit with that dreaded, most hated word in every committed relationship - infidelity! 2005 was indeed one of the hardest years of my life but again, we had grown comfortable with each other and the need to impress was no longer a priority. As a young naive couple, we thought life was definitely over as we knew it. We cried and had sooooo many whys and how comes but thankfully, with a few scratches and bruises, we came out alive! This was surely the last time, something like this would happen to us!...... Ha! What a fool in the rain I was.
Five years, a quick court ceremony and a 2 year old son later (not sure if there is a meaning behind the five year thing) we were struck yet again! This time the tables were turned; there was definitely no way out of this one! Hurt seemed deeper now and confusion was churning in every corner. It was as if we didn't know each other anymore. We were on completely seperate pages, each writing a different story with the same outcome - sadness. Strangely, when humans are threatened with the end of something, be it a job, life or a relationship, we always tend to take it back to the beginning. This, along with God's strength and wisdom, is truly what brought us to fight for each other again. Why were together in the first place? Was it for the children? For fear of starting over? Fear of social embarrassment? No. We CHOSE to be together because we fell in love. The kind of love that believes all things, endureth all things, bears all things and hopes all things. We fell in love not because we complete each other, we fell in love because we compliment each other. And although our children do need our love and support, we did not fall in love because of them for they were not here at the beginning and will one day leave us to find their own love.
Do I still love my husband the same after 17 years? Not at all! The love I have for my husband, is beyond what I'd ever imagined it to be. I no longer have my head in the clouds or draw hearts on notebooks, instead, I vow to engrave them on our minds, bodies and souls. There is no "sweeping under the rug" or dismissing of mean comments or looks. We tend to the issue at hand right away and end up laughing even before ending the conversation. Even with all the bumps, detours, bruises and occasional falls, I would not change this man for the world! How else would I know this love was real if it weren't put over (scorching) fire? Many people ask me what is my "secret" for a long-lasting marriage until I tell them ALL we have been through. There is NO secret -- LOVE, however, is the KEY!