There was a time in my life where I was terrified about being alone. The fear was so real and absolutely terrifying. Then amazingly, I met the love of my life, my wife. When I first saw her, I was in a bar with a friend. My friend knew Ruthann and introduced us. We all ran in a similar crowd. After I met Ruthann that first time, I turned to my friend and said, “I’m going to marry her one day.”
That was that. I was smitten. Our first date was dinner at a Mexican restaurant and the movie, Out of Africa. Afterwards, we sat in my car outside the house she was living in with about eight other roommates and talked until three or so in the morning. We just sat and talked for four hours like we were best friends. I was head over heels. For much of our dating life, I lived about an hour away. I probably drove the hour-plus to visit her at least two to three times a week. I proposed on April Fool’s Day (yep, I did!). We married eight months later.
Today, the day after Christmas, we celebrate our 25th anniversary. I honestly can’t believe we made it. It doesn’t seem like 25 years. Yet, in many ways, it’s been a lifetime. I’ve tested my wife. I’ve been a handful at times. After the Fox River Grove Bus Crash, lesser people would have run. But my wife is strong. She is one of the strongest, most loving people I know. She’s calm and patient. She’s my hero.
My wife has essentially walked with me step-by-step, during some pretty painful times. She did so without faltering. She listened to me and helped me find myself when I had no idea who I was. She helped my heart to soften and feel, when I didn’t think I had the ability. More than anything, she made me a better person.
Without my wife, I doubt I would have God in my life. She waited, patiently, for 13 years for me to see the light. I was never pressured to go to church. For much of my big’s childhood, my wife went to church and showed them faith. I rarely went.
When I finally realized that I wasn’t nearly as strong as I thought, she was there, picking up the pieces. After many years of counseling and fighting with organized religion, I knew I couldn’t do “it” anymore. I was losing the life battle. It was my wife who waited patiently for me to figure out what I needed to do. She went with me the first time I attended church for RCIA (the process for joining the Catholic church). She sponsored me when I decided to join the church.
Never once did she say, “Told ya so.” The only thing she said was, “I knew that one day you would figure it out.” I guess I did, though I think there may have been a Higher Power involved.
My wife fought as hard as I did for our survival. Honestly, she listened to me, supported me and most of all, loved me. That’s all I needed on this adventure. It would have been so easy for her to bail on me. Society pretty much tells people that’s how we should live our life. But my wife doesn’t really walk in the same footsteps as the rest of society. She’s stronger than most people. She gets that from her mom and grandfather.
I’m blessed. I’m so fortunate to have Ruthann with me on this journey called life. I’m a better person because of her strength. We’ve got four absolutely incredible children. It’s been an incredible 25 years. All the trials and tribulations have added an even deeper appreciation for everything that we have gone through together. I wouldn’t change a thing.
What’s even more amazing, I love my wife more today than I did the day I met her. With every adventure our love grows stronger. I can hardly wait for the next 25 years.
Happy Anniversary to my love!
Until Next Time,