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On 25 Years Of Marriage

Twenty-five years ago, on a Saturday afternoon in Texas, two kids said “I do.” In the weeks leading up to this day, as I’ve looked back at the past two and half decades and thought about our time together, our life together, I’m almost at a loss for words.

As a high school freshman, after breaking up with another girl, I’d retreated to the sanctuary of the basketball court at West Avenue Elementary School, a few blocks from my house. I needed to think and the place I did my best thinking was on the basketball court shooting baskets by myself.

Relationships with girls always went sour. The only saving grace was that the relationships tended to go bad fast. Was I ever going to find the right one? What would a good relationship look like? How would it work? Could I even have a successful relationship with a female? I had no example of a successful marriage. I was a child of divorce and most of my friend’s parents were divorced as well. Divorce seemed to be the norm, but it was not a norm I wanted for myself.

A few years later, some recently married friends advised that marriage was work. Hard work. Books should be read. I like to read books of all types, except books on relationships. Conferences on relationships might even be necessary. In some cases, a counselor might be required to help you learn how to live together. Marriage is work, work, work.

This picture of marriage held zero appeal to me.

I knew little to nothing of what a good marriage ought to look like, but the fuzzy picture in my head seemed to be better than the one others were painting for me.

Fast forward to college. After a couple of failed relationships, I swore off the opposite sex. No more headaches. No more trying. I was done.

A day, maybe two, later, I walked into Nix Hall, one of the dormitories on the campus of Hardin-Simmons University. The fall semester was about to begin. A group of people were watching Midnight Run on the TV in the common area. Sitting on one of the couches in the corner was a brunette with brown eyes. We had met once or twice before. She looked over at me and said, “Would you like an Oreo cookie?”

Pierced by Cupid’s arrow.

For the next few days, we kept running into one another. Some times by coincidence, and other times because I’d figured out when she ate lunch and dinner in the cafeteria. I asked her out on a Thursday. We  stayed on campus and went to a place called the Sub, where we each had a Coke. We sat at a table and started talking. The next thing I knew, the employees were mopping the floors and stacking the chairs. Four hours seemed to pass in about fifteen seconds.

The next night we went out to eat at a Mexican restaurant, Casa Herrera. Afterwards, we drove around the city talking.

It has continued on like that for nearly three years of dating and now twenty-five years of marriage.

Not once has it ever felt like work. Through ups and downs, highs and lows, triumphs and challenges, whatever the lottery of life might assign for the day, this marriage to this brown-eyed girl has always been the beacon of my life. She is always there, and that is enough. More than enough.

As a teenager bouncing a basketball and trying to imagine what a marriage could be like…I never dreamed anything this good. Not even close.

With much love and appreciation.


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