8 Years and Counting

Seven Years Together

Eight years ago, Marathon Girl and I took each other by the hand and become husband and wife. There is no one I’d rather have by my side through the ups and downs that is part of life. I’m looking forward to spending the rest of our lives and eternity together. I couldn't ask for a better companion.

Thanks for eight great years, sweetheart. Looking forward to the next eighty with you.

Dating and Marriage: No Regrets

Dating and Marriage

Writing in response to my Dating and Marriage: One Regret post David asks the following questions.

Abel,

I’m truly glad things worked out for you.

I don’t know your story, other than your late wife shot herself to death when she was pregnant. Personally, I could never marry someone in the kind of short time periods you talk about. And I wonder (and feel really uncomfortable saying this… but you have chosen to make your life public) how you maintain this opinion given what happened in your first relationship?

Doesn’t a long courtship give you the opportunity to see warning signs about how a person copes with challenges? I have been dating my girlfriend for a year and a half and I am learning what works and what doesn’t work with her, and then I have to think about whether I can cope with that effectively in the long term.

My response:

David,

Some background on my relationship with my late wife: we grew up in the same neighborhood. I knew her for years before we started dating.

During the time we dated and there was no indication whatsoever that she was suicidal or would emotionally change once she became pregnant.

When we decided to have a child after two years of marriage there was no indication she’d go off the deep end and take her own life. All of the warning signs occurred after she became pregnant—and even then the warning signs weren’t always crystal clear. Extending out our courtship another month or another year wouldn’t have given me some vital piece of information that would have made me change my mind about marrying her.

If anything losing her taught me that I shouldn’t waste time dating or courting someone once I know I’ve found the right person. That’s why when I realized I could spend the rest of my life happily married to Marathon Girl (and that she felt the same way), there was no point in dating anymore. We’ve been happily married now for seven years.

Like all couples we’ve had good and bad moments in our relationship but I can say that an extra month or even an extra year of courting wouldn’t have changed our minds about each other.

I’m not saying you should rush into marriage, but at some point all the dating in the world isn’t going to give you any further insight into that person. Then you have to ask yourself if you’d be willing to experience all of life’s good and bad moments with that person and no one else. If you are, then what’s the point in dating for another two months or two years?

In my experience and those of my friends, extended courtships (1 year or longer) aren’t any more successful than those who married within months after meeting each other. If anything, those in long courtships stand to lose the most if the relationship doesn’t end in marriage because they invested more time in it. I personally believe if you date someone for a year and you still don’t know whether or not that person’s right for you, then the answer is “no” and it’s time to quit wasting each other’s time.

There are no guarantees in this life, David. Whether married or single, we’ll go through periods of joy and heartache, riches and poverty. People we love will sometimes make stupid choices. If I could go back in time, I’d still marry my late wife even if I knew how things would end. Furthermore, I have no qualms about my whirlwind courtship with Marathon Girl. Even if she was to be taken from me tomorrow, I have absolutely no regrets about getting down on my knee and asking her to be my wife and spending seven wonderful years with her. I refuse to live in fear of things that are out of my control.

We all have the ability to discern and judge for ourselves whether or not the person we’re dating is the one person we hope to spend the rest of our lives with. It’s not just learning how someone reacts to challenges that’s important because I guarantee life’s going to throw you curveballs at you that neither of you will anticipate. It’s about whether we love someone enough to hold their hand and take a leap of faith and experience life together as husband and wife.

The question for you, David, is whether or not you love this woman enough to take that step.

Five Years – Two Weeks Early

marriage

I know. I know.

I told the world I was going to write about last week’s LOST episode this weekend. I didn’t do it. And because I didn’t, my inbox was flooded with thousands of emails (well, two, actually) asking me to opine on why Sayid is now Ben’s assassin (I have no idea) and who is he trying to kill (I think it’s the same people that sent the boat people to the island – a.k.a. The Dharma Initiative).

Before someone sends another email, let me explain. The weekend didn’t turn out the way I planned it.

After work Friday I was driving home and thinking about the rest of my day: playing with the kids, eating dinner, and watching a movie with Marathon Girl after they went to bed. If I had enough energy, I was going to make some popcorn for the movie.

I came home and instead of kids eating at the table or seeing Marathon Girl working on dinner, the house was eerily quiet. Too quiet. I double-checked to make sure the van was in the garage. (It was.) Then I thought that Marathon Girl and the kids were playing in the family room and we’d be ordering pizza or something for dinner.

I went to the bedroom to hang up my coat and put away my laptop. Much to my surprise Marathon Girl was sitting on the bed and looking rather sexy.

My first thought was: You look great!

My second thought was: Maybe you should put some real clothes on before the kids see you.

My third thought was: I don’t hear the kids. Where are they?

I must have been completely stunned because Marathon Girl got of the bed and put her arms around me and explained that we were celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary two weeks early because this was the only weekend she could get someone to watch the kids overnight.

Did I mention I knew nothing about this and it was a complete surprise?

So instead of writing about LOST or anything else, I spend most of the weekend alone with Marathon Girl celebrating five wonderful years together.

I wouldn't have had it any other way.

And, yes, you can look for a post about the latest episode of LOST tomorrow.

Unless, of course, Marathon Girl has another surprise for me when I get home tonight.

Getting to Know You

It was five years ago this month that Marathon Girl and I began dating seriously. One of my fondest memories of that time is sitting on her kitchen floor after a long morning run and talking about things like our favorite movies, books, and food.

Even though our opinions differed on a lot of things, I remember looking at her and thinking how comfortable I felt talking with her and sharing my thoughts and views. There was no worry between the two of us whether or not we even liked the same things. It was a chance to get to know the other person better and see how comfortable and compatible we could be even though in some ways we were very different from each other.

Even if you spend every day with someone, your tastes and opinions grow, develop, and change. Successful relationships are the ones where the husband and wife can still be in love with each other even as they slowly change over time.

Occasionally Marathon Girl and I have that conversation we had on her kitchen floor. We go over our list of favorite movies, actors, actresses, books, authors, athletes, sports teams, restaurants, main dishes, and hobbies. There are 35 items on our list and it's always fun to see where our opinions and tastes have changed since we first fell in love with each other.

Last night Marathon Girl and I had that conversation again. We brought out our list and asked the other person what some of their favorite things were. No, we don't guess what each other is going to say. We let the other person answer and then if the answer surprises us or has changed for some reason, we talk about why their tastes have changed.

Out of the 35 items on the list, there were six things I found out about Marathon Girl that I didn't know about. Marathon Girl found out seven new things about me. We thought it would just take 30 minutes to run through the lists. Instead we ended up talking late into the night and had a lot of fun doing it. In a way I felt like we were sitting on her kitchen floor again. Just the two of us and me falling head over heals for her.

It's easy become so accustomed to a person being part of your everyday life that you don't notice how they change in little ways. Sometimes if these changes go unnoticed for a long period of time, you wake up one day and realize that you're married to a complete stranger.

I'm glad I had the chance to get to know Marathon Girl all over again and realize how fortunate I am to be married to such a wonderful woman.