Tomorrow, (Sunday, October 16th) is our 40th Anniversary (click on the pics to see them a little bigger).
I just got back from the store. Picked out a nice card and a pot of living flowers for Cindi (not cut roses; she wants to start gardening again). We’ll be going out to a fancy restaurant tomorrow evening. In a few weeks, we’ll be taking a 5-night, 6-day anniversary trip. I decided to write this for 2 reasons: 1) She deserves much more than all these things and 2) There wasn’t near enough room on the card to say what I want to say.
I remember being pretty nervous on this day 40 years ago. I was a fairly immature 19 year-old guy (just opened my first personal checking account a few months earlier…hadn’t even written a check yet). Had never paid a bill with my name on it. Had never lived away from home. Didn’t own a car. Everything I owned fit in 1 suitcase. And here I was, about to walk down the aisle to get married in front of several hundred family members, friends and strangers (I didn’t know half the people I shook hands with in that reception line).
But you know one thing I wasn’t nervous about? Not even for an instant? The young lady I was about to marry. When I met Cindi 18 months earlier, I was totally smitten. The more I got to know her, the more convinced I became she was the one for me. The only one for me. It took 5 excruciatingly long months before she returned my affections. The day that she did—the very day—I asked her to marry me. I was an idiot. I could have blown the whole thing.
She didn’t say yes right then. But she didn’t say no, either. The following morning, she said she knew that she loved me the moment she saw me and she wanted to be my wife. I could see in her eyes that she had changed. I can still remember the way she looked at me in that moment. I’m an author now, known for writing bestselling romantic novels. But I can’t find adequate words to describe how wonderful it felt to see her looking at me that way. Knowing that we were now in love.
I have been love with this woman ever since.
I have done countless interviews in the last several years about the level of romance in my novels. I guess it’s just not a normal thing for male authors to do this. One of the questions I’m often asked is, “Why do you write like this? What makes you so different?”
My answer is simple. It’s Cindi.
I am among, I suspect, a fairly small group of men who can genuinely say I have met and married the one true love of my life, the only woman I have ever loved, or will ever love for the balance of my days. Without her, I doubt I’d have ever written my first novel. And if I had, there wouldn’t have been any romance in it (nor in any of my other books).
Because of Cindi, who she is, how she makes me feel every day, the way she treats me with so much love and kindness, I find it quite easy to make romance a normal, and sometimes central, part of my novels.
These past 40 years—especially all the chapters and scenes with her in them—have been the best times of my life. Nothing I own, nothing I’ve ever done, no achievements or special awards I’ve received will ever come close to the value of just having Cindi’s love and friendship.
The Bible says, “A man who finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord” (Prov 18:22). I’ll say. In my experience, this verse almost seems like an understatement.
Happy Anniversary, my love. You are simply the best.