My wife and I hit a milestone recently: 25 years of wedded bliss.

Of course “wedded bliss” is a really tired old phrase to describe an otherwise joyous event, but there is nothing old or tired about our marriage.

When we met, we had both been married before and had six children between us from those marriages (three sons for her, two sons and a daughter for me). We were also both “mature” as dating couples go, she being just a babe of 41, and me the older, wiser (?) gentleman of just-barely 45.

We actually had a “matchmaker” get us together. One of my wife’s co-workers was also a friend of mine, and she was certain we would be a perfect match for each other. She was right.

We double-dated with our matchmaker and her husband Oct. 22, I proposed Nov. 30, and we were married six months later. And, if one of our six children had decided to get married after just seven months, we would have probably said no, nyet, nada, negatory, not even close, forget about it!

But we were different. Being a second marriage helped, maturity helped, six children helped, near-perfect compatibility helped, but most of all, we were, have been, and expect to continue to be, deeply in love with each other, and thankful that God saw fit to let us find each other.

The term soul mate is often overused, but we definitely felt we were meant to share our lives with each other.

Our first Christmas together, before we got married, I had a great gift idea. At the time I was living on a bare-bones budget, but I figured out a way to buy her an all-in-one stereo/turntable/radio combo. We both love our music so I knew she needed a new player. It wasn’t terribly expensive, but when I walked through the door with that colorfully-wrapped gift of huge dimensions, her eyes sort of bulged.

When she opened it, she knew I was the one, and she cried a river of joyful tears!

Fast forward to our first Christmas living together, my wife gave me several gifts, as did I give her, but then she repaid me for the previous year’s gift. Waiting inside an otherwise non-descript envelope were 10 $100 bills, $1,000, which she said was for me to buy a hearing aid, which we both realized was to address a problem that was getting worse by the day.

My wife pulled a sort of Gift of the Magi act by cashing in her Christmas Club, reworking all of her other Christmas expenses to free up the cash for me, and making me realize all over again how perfect she was for me, and how thankful I was to God for sending one of His angels to share my life with me.

Over the past 25 years we have replicated those two Christmases many times, as well as on birthdays and anniversaries, not because we try to outdo each other, but because we both still feel the flower of our love on those special days.

I don’t think our relationship is any more special than any other married couple, and I don’t think we are any more blessed to have found each other.

But if you ask our matchmaker, a whole bunch of things had to fall into place to make our union happen. And they did. And 25 years later I would absolutely, positively, unabashedly, wholeheartedly say ‘I do’ again and again and again.

In 25 years it wouldn’t be unusual to have some bumps along the road of togetherness, and we’ve had a few, but they’ve been pretty minor, pretty easily fixed, and mostly not serious enough to cause us to reconsider our love for each other. But I think that’s mostly a testament to my wife’s willingness to put up with me and my long list of idiosyncrasies, yet still see enough goodness in me to ‘re-up for another hitch.’

Here’s to you, hon, Happy Anniversary! You are the last love I’ll ever have, my greatest love, and the-most-fun-I’ve-ever-had love! Thank you for lighting up my life!

Bill Crawford is a Cumberland freelance writer. His column appears in the Time-News on the third weekend of every month. 

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