Twenty-Two Years

On Sunday, it will have been twenty-two years ago that my husband asked me to be his girlfriend. I know most people don’t keep track of that date after they’re married, but it was an important date for us for a long time. We were both young, and so we had a long dating relationship. Because of that we still celebrate that date in a way. It’s not a big celebration – no gifts, or elaborate gestures – but we usually try to have a date night.

It’s fun to look back and think of the things that led up to our being together. We remember flirting, missing each other, wondering if the other one liked us as much we liked them. It was a special time, but it was also a little agonizing. I had no idea how he really felt about me. (He on the other hand had no doubt. I was not subtle.) Waiting to see what would happen, if anything would ever happen, was enough to tie my stomach in knots.

As a romance writer, I get to experience those emotions over and over again in my characters: doubt, hope, joy, worry. It’s fun to live it vicariously, but I’m glad that I don’t have to go through that in real life right now. I kind of like the comfort and stability that a relationship has after twenty-two years.

What is it that draws us to someone? What is it about one particular person that pulls our interest in a way that someone else doesn’t? Sometimes looks factor in, but I hope most of us would agree that it has to go deeper than that. I think that ‘deeper’ is different for everyone. You’ll hear people say, “He makes me laugh.” Or “He treats me like a queen.” I’ve been thinking about what it was the drew me to Joel, and I think I know what it was. He talked to me.

I know it seems strange, too simple, too boring, but it’s true. Most of the boys I was around joked with me, teased me, flirted with me, but they didn’t talk to me. Joel wanted to know about me, what I thought about things, how things made me feel, and he wanted to share those things about himself with me, too. When we disagreed, he never made me feel like my views were stupid. He wasn’t afraid to discuss deep Biblical doctrine or politics with me. And I loved it. I loved that he talked to me, listened to me – and still liked me afterwards.

Our first date, he picked me up at seven o’clock. We went out to where we could see the city lights (we didn’t have much money for things like eating out or movies back then), and we sat on the hood of his car – and we talked. Before we knew it, it was eleven o’clock and we needed to go home. We had completely lost track of time. During our dating relationship we talked almost every day. If we didn’t see each other, we called each other. And the times when we couldn’t talk everyday because one of us was out of town and long distance was too expensive (a lot has changed in 22 years!), we were miserable.

Even now, one of my favorite parts of the day is when the kids are in bed, and I sit down with Joel on the couch, and we talk. I look forward to that moment all day long.

I’m so blessed to have had twenty-two years with Joel, and I pray we have many more years together. God knew what He was doing when He led us to each other.

Photo by CCW Digital Artistry, Cheryl Caffarella Wilson

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