No, this isn't a tribute to Sonny and Cher. Rather, it's a quiet evening and I've just spent a wonderful afternoon and evening with my special man, Richard.
Twenty-nine years ago today, we were married in Indianapolis, IN. It was a quiet family gathering in the chapel of the church where we had met. A soloist sang a Barbara Streisand tune (Evergreen) and a hymn (Be Still My Soul). I paraded in on Richard's arm, accompanied by my dear sisters, who stood up with us. We had readings from Kahil Gibran (The Prophet) and from Ecclesiastes (to everything there is a season). We used vows that we had written ourselves to pledge our love and promise to each other.
We were married by my father (a Methodist minister) and Craig Overmyer, a minister to the singles program where we met. We spent the rest of the day celebrating with family at Richard's house where I had recently moved with my 3 little children. We had Richard's three children that first night, as well as my three. Only a week later, my mother exclaimed on the phone, "Oh my goodness. We probably should have made sure you two were alone that night!" From there, well, it's been a challenge. Most second marriages are.
No actually, it's been a lot of hard work to make this marriage work. Richard and I are both the kind of people who want to stay married forever. We'd both been through divorces about two years before our wedding, mine for my ex's infidelity; his was an agreement between his ex and him that neither were happy (although her infidelity was a feature of that divorce, too.)
Our courtship had been lovely and so exciting. In fact I knew the day I met him that he was someone very special. Within weeks, I felt strongly that God was telling me to take this relationship very seriously. We became friends, then good friends, then....slowly we fell in love. Our decision to marry just seemed to come about naturally (although there was the requisite "will you marry me?" one evening in his family room.) We've shared a lot of hardship - putting six children (literally three sets of twins) together has never, EVER been easy. To this day, he is estranged from his middle daughter and rarely speaks to his youngest daughter. My children see him as a father figure, mostly because he was around all the time and their own father had little time for them.
And, he is a good man. Not perfect, but so giving when he wants to be. Down to earth, SALT of the earth kind of guy. He used to call himself "a country boy" when I met him. But have you ever met a country boy with three degrees? A farmer, turned seed plant manager, turned salesman, turned Extension Program Coordinator, turned quality control technician, now a roof bolter in a limestone mine.
We've been through job loss, bankruptcy, illness, child custody, separation due to job changes. And each of these seems to have just made us stronger. The day I entered the hospital two years ago, emotionally and physically breaking down. I called him, crying, saying I had admitted myself to the hospital and I was petrified. His words to me, "It will be okay, sweetheart! We're going to get through this." He visited me everyday in the hospital and by the time I left, I ached for him and our life together.
So, here's to you, Richard, and our 29 years together. With any luck, we'll both live long enough to get to 30..........and 40..............and maybe even 50. But please know, that you are the love of my life!