Fairy tales are so misleading; Snow White’s poison induced nap can only be broken by the prince’s kiss, Cinderella marries the handsome Prince, and Sleeping Beauty is awakened by true love’s kiss. What’s the problem, you ask? The stories all end there. We are expected to believe everyone lived happily ever after? Yeah, right.
Life is definitely no fairy tale. In the beginning, romance may have a storybook like quality, but that bubble does not last. To maintain real love takes commitment, hard work, and compromise, topics many newly married couples know nothing about.
April 5, 1986 James and I walked down the aisle and said, “I do.” We made promises in front of God and man, but neither of us had any idea what we were getting into. We were young. We were also immature, selfish and extremely naïve.
We were 18 & 19 years old when we announced our engagement. Convinced the marriage would not last, genuinely concerned family and friends, advised against marrying so young. But, like most teenagers, we knew best so we disregarded their counsel.
The first ten years of our marriage brought some major life changes. James joined the Air Force and we moved out of state. While living in Idaho we conceived and lost our first child. One year later our son Stephen was born. Less than a year after that we moved overseas. One miscarriage later, the base in Italy closed and James separated from the military. Returning to Texas we moved in with his parents. Our daughter was born during the transition.
Eventually life settled into a routine; three kids, two cars, two full time jobs and a house. On the surface all seemed well, but a chasm was growing, one neither of us really recognized until it was almost too late. Around 1999 our world fell apart.
Neither of us was happy, but it was me who wanted to leave. For the sake of our three young children I made the decision to stay, but it was James who made the choice that put us on the road to reconciliation.
While staying together for the children is an admirable decision, it does not fix a broken marriage; that takes work. Long before I awoke from my stupor, James took a long hard look at what we had become and decided he was not going down without a fight and fight he did!
When I take a stand, I am virtually immoveable. He was persistent though, and I was downright mean. I’m talking maliciously throwing flowers he sent me in the trash. It probably took a solid year of him patiently wooing me, but eventually my defenses started to crack.
Thirty years later, we are not the naïve kids who walked down that aisle, but neither are we the embittered people we allowed ourselves to become. Instead, we are truly happy in our marriage. We really know the other person. We love one another in spite of our shortcomings. There is no one else with whom we would rather spend our time.
I can’t wait to get home from work so we can sit down to dinner and talk about our days. When he travels, I desperately miss him. He spoils me and I’m not talking just lavishing me with gifts, I’m referring to the small things, the ones that really matter.
During the workweek he fixes my breakfast before I leave for the office, he chops the vegetables for my lunch, proof reads my columns, makes sure there are blueberries for my yogurt and keeps my hair products stocked. He drives five hours to Dallas on I-35 so I can visit my family. If I am traveling without him, he makes all the hotel/flight arrangements for me. He takes care of all my electronic devices (I’m hopeless there), and these examples are just the highlights. The list of what he does because he loves me would fill a novel.
What does love look like you ask? For me, it looks like the man I wake up to each morning. I’m so glad he decided I was worth the fight. Happy 30th Anniversary James Miller Jr., I love you!
Until Next Time,
Becky J Miller