Love After 42 Years: His Point of View
Last week, I shared with you my mom's wisdom and advice on marriage and love after 42 years together. Today I'm excited to share with you my dad's story, and take a trip down memory lane through their marriage! I'm so lucky to have parents who are amazing role models for my own marriage, and hope these insights resonate with you as you begin to plan your happily-ever-after together!
I met my wife, Rhonda, in elementary school at the sweet age of 6, but she first caught my eye in 1966 when we were in 6th grade. At the time, I lived only 3 miles from her, and I thought of her often. She had a very well-known family, so I was too shy to approach her. I never got up the courage to say “hi” at all throughout middle school.
In high school, I joined the football team, where I met and became good friends with Rhonda’s brother. Her brother and I began hanging out almost every day after school, and eventually Rhonda began joining us. Before you know it, I was asking her out…without her brother. By the end of our senior year in 1973, Rhonda and I were seeing each other every night. That June, we were engaged and we married on December 29, 1973 at the age of 18. We were young, and it wasn’t a long engagement, but at the time I felt like I had known her and loved her my whole life.
She is not just my wife, she’s my best friend and my partner in life.
In 1976, while both working full-time, Rhonda and I built our first home together and had our first beautiful daughter. Once our house was completed, we decided to both go back to college at night as we both continued to work full-time during the day. Life was busy for us, and the years began to fly by in the blink of an eye.
In 1982, we both decided I would quit work so I could finish school and get my degree as soon as possible. Later that year -- the very last day of 1982 -- we had our second beautiful daughter. For the next 2 years, my sweet wife had a full time job and took care of both of our little ones so I could concentrate on my studies and get my degree. Hard work but she never complained - that's real love!
1984 was a big change for us. I graduated from college and was immediately offered a position in Richmond, Virginia. How in the world was a young couple - who both grew up in a tiny rural Southern town - supposed to relocate to a "big city" like Richmond? With a toddler and a 6-year old in tow! I thought I had really accomplished something by finishing college and getting a great job in a “big city” but I knew leaving our families would be hard for Rhonda. My sweet wife amazed me by saying 'yes I'll go', and she continued to amaze me throughout the relocation process, too - making me love her more. She got a great job right away, and began moving up the corporate ladder quickly. All while finishing college at night and making time for all the activities little girls get involved in. I don't know where she got all that energy!
Fast forward to today. This December we will celebrate our 42nd wedding anniversary. The girls are both married and have families of their own now. We have both worked since we were 16 and are now retired from the corporate world. We still stay busy with the hobbies and tasks that inspire us. My wife has found her passion for helping others since retiring. She’s always been interested in helping those in need, but her passion has really flourished since retirement. Rhonda has been there for others in their last moments of life and continuously helps raise funds for those in need. She is also always there when needed for our grandchildren. I don't even try to keep up with her on most days! These things make me love her more every day.
Even after all these years, I can't imagine spending my time with anyone else. We simply enjoy being together and never get tired of spending time together. She will always be my sweetheart, my best friend, and my "business partner." I love her as much now - and more - than I did the first time I kissed her.