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Twenty Years Of Marriage: A Love Story

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WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
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Twenty two years ago, a love story began.

It was a balmy June evening when another classic girl-meets-boy tale was written in the stars. She was a college freshman, home for the summer. He, a young teacher, eagerly looking for permanent work. A match made in heaven, to be sure.

Truth be told, she wasn't exactly looking for love. Wasn't looking for him. But somehow, someway, they found each other, their eyes meeting in an almost 'scene-from-a-movie' way. She turned around, and there he was. Looking straight at her, straight through her. Right to her soul. It was almost electric, just like a song.

Even still, it was not love at first sight -- she would be the first to admit. It took a summer of listening and finding one another. A summer of remembering. But when the time finally came, she actually said it first, those three little words. "I love you." It not being until months later, when he was sure-that-he-was-sure, that he whispered them back to her:

I love you, too.

The year passed. She went away to university; he stayed behind to pursue work options. And then, too, did another year slip away. He missed her, as did she miss him. So great was the distance between the two. And so the decision was made: she would transfer her credits and come back to him. Which she did. Which she willingly did.

But in so doing, a little piece of her was lost along the way, left to be discarded.

They courted, the pair. And one day decided they should marry. And so the plans were made. Both quickly becoming caught up in the decisions and flurry that is the engagement.

One day, just weeks before the big event, the couple became embroiled in an argument. It was the most divisive they had ever been. The question was raised: should they walk away? Leave things be? Was it worth the fight?

Stay or go?

They stayed, calling on every bit of humility and compassion they could muster. Doing so for the sake of their love. Doing so, for the sake of their future together. Doing so for each other.

even after all these years, in spite of all the pain and trouble and joy and elation they had both shared- through the good and the bad: she knew that she still loved him.

Even after all these years, in spite of all the pain and trouble and joy and elation they had both shared -- through the good and the bad: she knew that she still loved him.

They married on a fine June day. The air, mellow and inviting. No wedding bells crooned for them, but the girl: she sang to her love. She sang of dreams and hope and all that might be to come. That boy, he kissed her gently. So soft were his lips and so tender. So full of promise for all the tomorrows that would be to come.

And so the tomorrows came, slow and steady at the start. But building to many a crescendo. She lost her grandfather nearly six weeks after the wedding, bringing with it a new sadness and understanding to their lives. And the boy, he couldn't find work, a crush to his ego. And so it was the pair -- they both began to see in the other, varied faults that had not been so apparent in those early days of love.

Baby number one was born, a son. Then two years later, baby number two. People called theirs a millionaire's family. One son, one daughter.

The girl, she quickly became caught up in it all -- the diapers, the washing, the outings, the midnight feedings and changes. She became lost in the tedious monotony and routine. And perhaps so did the boy. He, looking for permanent work and steady employment to finance a family, became withdrawn. Trying to keep things afloat. Trying to keep things going.

Along came baby number three, a girl... and then again, another (final) daughter to complete the harried family, only seven and a half years after the first had opened his eyes to the world. That little mama of four -- she was swamped. And so was he, the daddy. It was all they could do to keep up.

Pay the bills.

Mow the grass.

Make the meals.

Keep the flow going. And going. And going. And going.

Until, one day. They stopped.

And they looked at each other. And they wondered: who is this person beside me?

Who am I?

It was years before the two could find an answer, before they really looked into the other's eyes for certain and made the decision: the decision to truly love him. To truly love her. To unabashedly lay down their love and offer it freely. And this choice coming with tears, an ocean's worth of tears. And many, many sacrifices.

For they had come this far. A long, long road, but such a beautiful journey.

That little couple, they finally made it to their twentieth wedding anniversary. It was a struggle, a heartfelt struggle, both would freely admit. But they made it.

True, they were older. There were more grey hairs and fine lines and a little more of this and a little less of that; but in spite of it all, they both said they still felt like kids inside. Both felt like they were twenty-something again and waiting for life to begin.

She kissed him one morning, some twenty-two years after their lips had first touched. It was something that felt strange and bizarre, new and yet comfortably familiar. And it was in that moment that she knew, even after all these years, in spite of all the pain and trouble and joy and elation they had both shared -- through the good and the bad: she knew that she still loved him.

For they had come this far. A long, long road, but such a beautiful journey.

And that girl, she knew that that there was no telling where their love would take them, in the next twenty. Or even forty. Where love would lead them, as they faced the beautifully uncertain days that were to come.

She knew that their love could carry them. Because it already had. And somehow, some-crazy-how: it always would.

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