Today marks fifteen years since my wife and I began our new life together.
I had considered reminiscing about our wedding and about the early days of our marriage and describing how we had no idea what we were doing and had to figure out absolutely everything from scratch. I may do that one of these days, but for today I will briefly relate the story of how my wife and I met and how I knew that she was the one.
Many of my contemporaries married young, but I was not among them. I was a late bloomer at everything I did. I didn’t drive until I was 21, didn’t have my first date until I was 23, and didn’t tie the knot until I was 40.
My parents were concerned that I’d be alone forever, but I knew there were worse things than that. One of the reasons I came to California from the east coast was to escape a long-term unhealthy relationship; after I arrived, I proceeded to get myself into two more disastrous relationships. So being alone didn’t seem so bad by comparison.
Frankly, I didn’t think marriage was for me. Marriage was something for other people. People like my parents, who recently celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary — 61 years of fussing and fighting, yelling and arguing. No, thanks!
I had begun working in a major phone company’s call center. After seven weeks of training, I was asked to choose shift preferences. As an inveterate night owl, I asked to work the graveyard shift. My first day on graveyard was a Saturday night when we were so busy we could barely see straight. Calls were coming in back to back, one after another. After about an hour on the phones, I received my first 911 emergency call. I called for my supervisor as I had been trained, and that’s how I met my wife. She says she has no memory of that night.
A few months later, I was promoted to trainer. I had the opportunity to work rotating shifts to perform refresher training with all employees. I made a point of spending as many days as possible on graveyard so that I could spend time visiting with the lovely shift supervisor.
We had such a nice friendship and I was afraid that it would end if I asked her to go out on a date. Fortunately, my dear one made the first move and there was no turning back after that. I knew that I did not want to let this one get away.
I really wanted to propose marriage, but I was concerned that I wasn’t being fair since neither of us had any money. We’d be poor. And then there was the matter of an engagement ring. I visited a few jewelry stores and discovered that even the tiniest diamond ring would cost $700. As in seven hundred dollars that I did not have.
I wasn’t a religious person. I didn’t pray or attend worship services. After being forced to attend some very strict religious schools as a child, I moved completely away from the spiritual as an adult. So I don’t know what moved me to pray about this. “Lord,” I prayed one night, “if this is meant to be, please show me a sign.”
I didn’t expect to receive an answer. It had been years since I had had a relationship with God, and I didn’t know what I believed anymore.
By the next morning, I had forgotten all about having prayed. I got ready for work and, as I left my apartment and headed for my car, out of the corner of my eye I noticed an envelope peeking out of my mailbox. When I retrieved it, I was annoyed to see it was a bill from the electric company. Hadn’t I already paid them this month?
I tore opened the envelope. My mouth dropped open when I saw that it was a check for a deposit I had made a year and a half earlier and had totally forgotten about.
The check was in the amount of exactly seven hundred dollars.
I had my sign.
I went out and bought the ring that very day. And the rest is history.
Happy anniversary, my dear. Thank you for the best fifteen years any man could ever ask for.