Our first date was to a swanky steak house at a local casino. He was handsome, dressed well. But what I noticed was how proud he was to be seen with me: opened every door, held my hand, stood when I left (and returned to) the table. He told me I was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
I still believe him.
Our political votes usually cancel each other's out (To his credit he has only mentioned this once. When doing our taxes.) He is more personable in 1:1 situations; I'm better on a stage. He is college baseball, and I'm professional wrestling. I'm fiction and quiet retreat; he is a study of presidents. I'm a great project starter; he is a great finisher.
My letter to him.
You told me once that you always hoped you would find a woman, marry, and have a family some day. Told me that when you moved to the Coast your were optimistic that it might begin there.
You were cute the first day we met--your suit and your spiky preacher hair. You were ambitious and smart and about to enter a work force with 150 hormonal women. God help you.
When you would stop by my office late in the day, offering to help (even though you always said you were "not a nurse") but staying to visit. I wanted to marry you that instant in the Yukon, when we were waiting for Lisa to get her oil changed and you did a perfect rendition of Steve Harvey as Sister Odell. You even sang the songs. And again on the trip to New Orleans when I heard your real voice. How it comforts me still when you sing to me some nights.
I know I have told you but I don't think you can ever understand what you did for me. I saw the woman I knew I could be reflected in your eyes. Feeling all those times like Gomer, broken, exposed, a sinner to the world. But you were faithful, a Hosea, to whom God called you to marry. You were proud of me. Everything the world viewed as questionable you saw as strength and determination.
Strong men are not afraid of strong women. Strong women can fall apart in the arms of their strong men, only to arise refreshed and stronger still. Thank you for praying over our baby, as I lay willing with all I had to keep him alive inside of me and grieving that loss in your own way beside me. For letting me be mad at you because the small north Mississippi town we moved to had nothing I wanted and for not saying a thing when I figured out it had all I needed with you and baby girl in it. For being dressed in cheer dad attire before you married me, taking pictures, being at awards day, and playing hours upon hours in the pool.
The moments I love most are lying in the bed watching stand-up on you tube (You know you thought Katt Williams was funny.) and seeing you explain things to baby girl. In those moments everything else fades away.
Someone once asked me if I was madly in love with my husband. Of course I said yes. But then he asked if you knew. And today I don't want the answer to be I hope so.
Thank you for being an hour early to our wedding, for singing Holy Ground to me softly as we stood in front of all those people, for letting me stay true to me when we joined as one. Thank you for choosing me, for putting me first before any other (save God), for making me the only Queen Bee in your world, and for going on this journey every day. It is the only way I want to travel, with you by my side.
I love you.