It was my anniversary a few weeks ago. Actually it was “our” anniversary, seeing as there are two of us celebrating it. 21 years have gone by since Heather and I hitched our lives together. And in all honesty, it feels like half that time. I don’t mean for that to sound like, “No honey, that dress doesn’t make you look fat!”. I genuinely feel like only 10 years have gone by. And what an amazing 10 (21) years it’s been!
Our connection with each other has created a wonderful family, with two amazing young human beings. We’ve established a nurturing home space and opened it up to 17 International Students. Through awesome highs and devastating lows, Heather and I have weathered it all with grace, candor, anger, frustration, and love. Above all, love.
Oh sure, we definitely have our moments. There’s been times when I’ve wanted to run away, and Heather’s probably wanted to kill me more than once. (I’ve started to snore more, apparently. I’m skeptical.)
Yet underneath it all, we are connected to one another with an unbreakable love, that will always endure.
Something about me that you may not be aware of; I am monogamous. No, not monotonous! Well, maybe, a little… I made a commitment and a promise to Heather that I would never leave her for another. I meet that commitment and honour that promise, not by enduring, putting up with, or settling, but by loving the person she is, and spending every day thankful for finding each other. Trite as it sounds, my love for Heather can never die.
Commitment Is Everything
I don’t believe in divorce. If two people choose to marry, to commit to one another, it should be for life. Too many people treat marriage as an event, an Instagram moment that lasts as long as the honeymoon. With such a high percentage of divorce, far too many people call it quits because they never made the commitment. They were never prepared to do the work needed to make a marriage work.
The other side of that is faithfulness. I have a problem with couples who choose to be unfaithful. Or more precisely, I have a problem with the partner who chooses to be unfaithful while in a committed relationship. This moral weakness has destroyed thousands of families for no good reason. For 21 years, my commitment to my wife has never wavered. I have not been tempted by another, and I’ve never entertained any thoughts of being with someone else. Now I don’t say that to sound holier than thou. I simply don’t understand how anyone can choose to be unfaithful.
But I digress.
Heather and I met at a workshop where we weren’t allowed to talk to anyone, unless we were in a workshop session. Meals were shared in a common dining area in complete silence. We weren’t even supposed to look at one another. Perfect conditions for meeting the love of your life, don’t you think? I had a roommate, my good friend Ean, who I also couldn’t speak to. We were two people in a small room, pretending the other person didn’t exist.
This process was designed for a very specific purpose. I just don’t remember what it was…
It was really after the workshop that we started to hang out, but we certainly got to know one another during some of those crazy sessions. Ever hear of a “Psychodrama”? Nothing to do with The Housewives of Hollywood! No, this was pretty intense. I won’t bore you with the wacky details, but we got to do some crazy sh*t during that 5 day workshop.
The fun part of it all was that the workshop was called “The Passion Workshop”. All about finding the passion in your life. So when we’re out at dinner parties (Hey, it could happen!), we always enjoy when someone asks us, “So how did you two meet?” “Oh, we met at the Passion Workshop!” And then not explaining any further. So much fun…
Anyway…I hadn’t been in any kind of a committed relationship up until then. I enjoyed my single life, and my independence. But I began to notice a little loneliness creeping in around the edges of my life. I started thinking about what it would look like having someone sharing my life.
Heather and I became friends. She was still married when I met her, so anything other than friendship never crossed my mind. But her marriage was ending, and she was experiencing multiple traumas in her life. I just wanted to be a good friend and support her as much as I could. And it wasn’t just me. Others who had participated in the workshop stepped up and gave her friendship, support, and a non-judgmental ear.
Months passed and we grew closer. We spent many hours talking, laughing and crying. One day it just happened, and we were together. Of course most of our friends saw it happening long before we did. It’s true, love is blind!
What! No Lambo?
I could never have imagined my life turning out the way it has. First of all, I don’t own a Lamborghini, and a villa on the beach in Mexico! I’m not sure where things went south on that one…Oh right, kids! Although Heather likes to say, “You don’t need a sports car. I’m your mid-life crisis!”
But all “kid”ding aside, though my life isn’t what I had written down in that exercise we did in the Passion Workshop, called the Ideal Day, in many ways it’s so much better! It’s real, and filled with real, wonderful people! I absolutely love being a dad to my fantastic children. But ultimately, it’s all about sharing this life and its chaotic moments with the most incredible person who became my wife and best friend. So many times I’ve wondered how the hell she picked me to be the father of her children. So many times I’ve thought “I could never be good enough”.
Isn’t it amazing how our lives can change, to veer off the path we think we’re following and lead us in new, uncharted, unexpected directions? I think making the choice to be open to that inevitable change makes life more interesting. Being open to the crests and troughs of life makes it much easier to stay afloat and ride out those changes.
And while it’s true I never got the Lambo, I did get the girl.