This weekend my husband Bruce and I celebrate a milestone in our relationship–ten years as a couple. As the date drew closer, I fretted about how to celebrate such a wonderful event in our lives. I wanted it to be perfect, and if you know my husband, he’s extremely romantic and outdoes me at every turn. Sometimes I think he should be the one writing romance fiction instead of me. He’s just that good!
So I thought: what could I do that would show Bruce how important he is to me?
The answer: shout it to the word!
So, friends, family, and those of you who have stumbled upon this post, I want to share with you some highlights from the past ten years of our lives together. Naturally, we shall start at…
When Bruce and I met, we had no intention of becoming a couple. We were going through some rather difficult times in our personal lives, and we were only looking for friendship. Nothing more. Life, however, had other plans in store. Bruce’s friendship quickly became a source of strength. For someone like me, who’s a loner used to taking care of himself, it was both comforting and disconcerting. I had no idea what to do with this man who didn’t play games and who showed, instead of told me, how much he cared. I mean, he brought me a dozen roses when I came down with the flu, and we hadn’t even started dating yet.
Men didn’t do that! At least not the men I had dated!
It didn’t dawn on me that I had fallen in love with Bruce until I encountered a personal crisis in life. You see, he was the first person I called. I bypassed my mother and my best friend, something I had never done before. Even though he was (and still is) a busy doctor, Bruce took my call and talked me off the ledge. When I hung up the phone with him, I realized I’d been hooked, and all it took was his kind attentiveness and a flash of his charming smile.
Shortly after, we moved in together, and not long after that, we bought a house, creating a new family with my daughter and Bruce’s two children. I’ll be honest. I worried what the neighbors would think and how the kids would be treated. We lived in south Texas in a very conservative town in an uber-conservative state. I was worried that we would find burning crosses in our front yard, and the children would be terrorized at school. None of the awful events I imagined ever occurred. In fact, life went along as normal, but the extremely pessimistic man I sometimes am, I waited for the other shoe to drop.
Until a magical event happened.
That first Christmas we moved into our house, when our families were all going to get together for the first time, it snowed on Christmas Eve. Now, keep in mind, this is south Texas, where snow rarely falls, and it didn’t just snow it snowed! I’m talking inches, and the snowfall stayed around until Christmas morning, giving our town its first white Christmas, an event not likely to happen again in 100 years.
I took it as a sign. The rare south Texas snow was just like the love I had found with Bruce–once in a lifetime. After that, I just didn’t worry anymore.
After that first Christmas, Bruce and I settled into being parents and partners. It wasn’t an easy transition. Being a parent is tricky. Being a step-parent, as anyone who’s been there can confirm, is even trickier. A certain balance has to be maintained, or the entire applecart can be upset. I won’t say we didn’t have to run around picking up fallen apples at times, but like any couple we learned how to deal with the small disasters that sometimes create havoc in life. When we came across one of those situations, though, I knew Bruce had my back. We became quite the team, utilizing each other’s strengths and creating a pretty awesome parenting force.
But beyond growing as a father and a partner because of Bruce, Bruce also taught me about the powerful healing force of true love. You see, it was during these years that I became quite ill. I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say, that it was a rough time for me. Bruce, being the dear, sweet man he is, picked me up off the floor and carried me on his shoulders until I was strong enough to once again stand on my own. He became my champion, my knight-in-shining-armor, who fought my illness when I wasn’t strong enough to do it myself. He refused to let me give up, and his strength became my own.
Quite literally, his love saved my life.
After re-gaining my strength and my health, it was time to make honest men out of us both. I proposed to Bruce, and he accepted. A year later, we were married in Provincetown, amidst the town we both came to love, the friends we’d made throughout our many visits over the years, and the family who came to celebrate the day with us.
I fell in love with Bruce all over again in Provincetown, and when we were married, it solidified the commitment we made to each other. We told the whole world that we were unequivocally a couple! Whether it was legal or not in Texas didn’t matter. We were now and forever husbands to each other.
The Road that Stretches Before Us
Now, ten years after our first day as a couple, eight years after moving into our house and becoming a family, five years after beating an illness, and almost three years after marriage, Bruce and I are stronger than ever. Has it always been perfect? No. But then again, what in life is perfect?
I’m sure as hell not. And neither is Bruce.
But our imperfections don’t matter when we are together. They are merely bumps in the road, and it is these bumps that continually make us stronger and better capable to meet the challenges that lie ahead.
I know they are out there, coming our way, and that they might even be numerous. Our first child is now preparing to leave for college, and the other two aren’t far behind. We will have to grow and adjust to the challenges of an empty nest, and everything else life plans to throw at us. Still, I don’t fear what the future holds.
The road before us may be darkened by the unknown, but I know when I reach out my hand that my husband and my best friend will be there beside me. We will meet those challenges together, and against the two of us, life’s obstacles don’t stand a hell of a chance!
I love you, Bruce.
I can’t wait to see what the next ten years will bring!
And thank you, my love, for choosing to love me.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vuHds3xTLQ