Sept. 3, 1995, I left home for the first time (technically second, but that's another story). I moved to Athens, Ohio to start my life as a college freshman. I didn't know anyone. I was truly alone for the first time in my life. A friend of mine's cousin, whom I had met all of once before about 10 years prior, also was there and alone. The friend had given her my number and she called up. Even though I didn't really know her, I headed over to her dorm. That's when fate stepped in. I happened to go to this person's room, whom I really didn't know, who happened to live in the same dorm as Husband, who happened to be walking around the dorm with another guy introducing themselves to everyone at the exact moment I was there. Husband and I literally hit it off instantly. He was easy to talk to and fun to be around. He had a way about him that just made me feel, and this sounds, goofy, at home. It was like I had known him for my whole life. The two of us have seen, or at least talked to each other, everyday since.
It took us two years to actually start dating. He was my best friend and I didn't want to mess that up with a relationship. I knew I couldn't live without him in my life, so I was scared to take that next step. Finally, a New Year's kiss sealed the deal. When we told people we were dating, their responses were, "You mean you weren't dating before?" That's how joined at the hip we were.
Fast forward to 2000. I had already graduated college, but stayed in Athens to take some additional courses, work, and wait for Husband to graduate. We already knew that once he graduated we would be moving someplace together. Our first place was cute little townhouse. It was a great starter place.
In April of 2001, I headed back to Athens to visit a friend. When I came home that Sunday, Husband had dinner waiting for me. We ate and chatted about how much Athens had changed in just a year. Then we talked about what he did over the weekend while I was away. While in Athens, I bought him a t-shirt...super exciting, huh? After dinner, he said he had something for me. I told him I had something for him, too and wanted to go first! I gave him his t-shirt. He, came around to my side of the table, got down on one knee and started to pull out a box. I hit him and told him that it wasn't funny.....Here's where I back up..... Husband "proposed" to me several years before that with a pack of cigarettes as joke...a not funny joke....Back to the story at hand. He told me it wasn't a joke. I told him he could keep going. He then asked me to marry him.
March 23, 2002. We had the party of the year. Most women get all sappy and sentimental over their wedding. Not me, at least not too much. It was a seriously awesome day. We were very nontraditional. First, we were already living together. Second, Husband's main job of the day was to pick up my wedding dress since I needed to get my hair done. We did pictures before the ceremony, not after. In fact, our parents didn't even come to our place first, they just met us at the church. Pictures took about 20 minutes, so we had time to kill before the ceremony. The whole wedding party sat around in the back of the church playing cards. To this day, Husband's one cousin swears we had the fastest ceremony in the history of weddings. What rocked though was the reception. Or maybe it just rocked because I had the never ending Screwdriver. Either way, it was a fun party. After the reception, another nontraditional thing we did was have our bridal party sleep over. Yup. They slept in our living room. I fell asleep before everyone else. Such a super romantic night. Not what most women plan, but for me, for us, it was perfect. It was who we were.
For the past 10 years, life has thrown us many challenges, but we have faced them all, together. That's what a lot of people don't understand about our relationship, the together part. This marriage isn't two sided, it's a partnership. It's built on not only love, but friendship, respect, honesty, and understanding. A lot of people think I'm the dictator in this marriage, but I believe that's because they don't know Husband well. I couldn't tell him what to do even if I wanted to. And everyone knows I wouldn't stand to be bossed around. Here's where people get confused. Husband and I communicate. It's a crazy concept, I know! Another wild and crazy thing we do is compromise. There are things that neither of us will bend on, and that's good. That's healthy, but we respect each other's side. There are other things we give in on because they aren't as important to us as they are to the other person. We are a team. We are equal partners. That's what keeps us strong. I thank God every day that I found my other half. Husband truly does complete me. Without him, I am lost.