Eleven years ago this week, a man I’d been dating for about 8 months asked me to marry him. We had been developing an incredibly loving relationship from the roots of a good friendship. He made me laugh. He totally rocked my socks off in bed. We had long conversations about kids and marriage. We clicked.
Straight out of grad school, working jobs that paid little, our resources were rather minimal. He inherited a ring from his mother. He brought me to a playground in East Hill in Pensacola, Florida. I was climbing up onto a play structure when he asked me to turn around. He asked me, right there, to marry him. I laughed, and I cried, and I don’t think I’ve said “YES” to anything with more conviction in my life.
We tied the knot legally a few months later in a deserted hallway at city hall. But it was just a formality. I had given this man my trust and my love already, affirmed on the playground in late August with a simple ring and a promise. There was an energy of positive, of play, in our courtship, in our engagement, and even in our marriage. It was so easy and felt so natural.
Eleven years later, that energy is still there. Through difficult times, sleepless nights placating screaming babies, financial hardship, cross-country moves and the surprises that life sometimes throws at you, there have been very few arguments. Seldom are the nights we don’t spend together. I’ve counted my happiness in the currency of smiles shared, of nights peacefully sleeping beside him. We’ve found a way to laugh and love our way around and through most of the difficulties that partners face. And some that would tear many couples apart. Our commitment has weathered such storms with grace and growth.
I know it’s not a milestone year, and it’s not the anniversary of our marriage, but Allen, I just wanted to say, using the medium that works best for us, that I love you, and that I’m proud of what we’ve been building since that day on the playground, the day you became my life partner. Thank you for that day in August in Pensacola, and for every day since. And for the many days and experiences and adventures yet to come.