In a few short weeks, it will be our 23rd wedding anniversary. It is amazing how quickly time passes. It seems like just yesterday my wife and I were married and soon it will once again be our wedding anniversary. In fact, we have now been together more than half our lives – something that is almost unheard of in today’s society, but something for which I am thankful.
For most men, there is a lot of stress associated with a wedding anniversary. For many men, the act of just remembering the date is a monumental challenge. However for those of us who never forget the date, selecting the appropriate gift for a wedding anniversary can be stressful. The male mind automatically defaults to a certain theme when thinking of anniversary or valentine gifts. The problem with the theme is that it is usually limited to the male mind and often the polar opposite of what the spouse truly desires.
In looking at a more traditional approach, I researched the official list of Traditional Wedding Anniversary Gifts defined by year. Year twenty-three is a silver plate. Maybe this is just an ignorant male’s perspective but I think that my wife might be a bit confused if I gave her a plate for our anniversary. In the end, I will give her a lovely appropriate anniversary gift that she will like very much (or at least pretend to). So with 23 years of marriage following 5 years of dating being together with my wife for 28 years makes it impossible to imagine life ever without her. The irony is actually how it all began. My wife was one of a group of 10 friends in high school. We would all hang out together. At the time, I actually had another girlfriend. My wife would often give me relationship advice with my girlfriend. However, for some reason, her advice never proved to be too helpful. In fact, I ultimately realized that I enjoyed the company of my girl friend’s little brothers more than that of my actual girlfriend.
It was a Friday night and I took my girl friend’s little brothers to our high school football game. They hung out with my group of friends. They loved being part of the group of older kids – even liked the one who later would become my wife. After the game, we all walked to the parking lot. As I was heading to my van with the brothers, I realized that my (future) wife was parked on a side street due to the lot being full. I pointed to her car located down the side street and told the brothers to stay in the van that I was going to quickly walk her to her car.
As we approached her car, she was walking along the curb as I was walking in the street. Since I was about a foot taller than her, this brought us to about the same height. We stopped at the back of her car and as I turned to say goodbye I leaned in and gave her a hug. It was at this exact moment that something came over me. As I hugged her, I could see the brothers sitting in the van. Yet, all I knew deep in my heart was this was the person that I want to be with. We were great friends and have always been honest with one another. I suddenly realized that I actually felt more comfortable being myself with her than I ever could with my girlfriend.
I said nothing about my feelings other than to wish her a good night. The following day, I broke up with my girlfriend and a few weeks later I asked my (future) wife out on our official first date – which later led to me asking her to the prom.
There have been opportunities in life for which I have failed to take full advantage – such as financial ventures and business opportunities. These would have been defining moments which very well could have changed the direction of my professional life. However, in my heart I believe that I truly seized on the most important defining moment of my life……………the night that I stood at the curb following a high school football game and gave my friend a hug goodnight – a hug which occurred over 28 years ago……… a hug for which I am thankful for each and every day.
Husband, father, coffee connoisseur and lover of all things hockey. At 51 I sometimes wonder have I done enough. I have been married to my best friend for 30 years. She knows all my faults and loves me anyway, As a father of “almost always” perfect boys, I am always surprised at what life has to offer. It is messy, scary, thrilling, and always fun.