Every person in this world, I believe, has one moment in their life where their ultimate path is chosen.
That one moment will set off a chain of events that will ultimately decide where their life will take them.
For me, that moment occurred on a spring day in 1997. I was just completing my freshman year at . It was time to register for classes for the fall semester and I decided to knock out as many general education requirements as possible.
Among the classes I originally signed up for was Introduction to Women’s Studies. But at the last minute, a friend convinced me that wouldn’t be a good choice based on the professor teaching the course. So, I dropped that course in favor of Theater 101.
Little did I know at the time that one decision would alter my entire life. In what was my serendipitous moment, I would soon meet the woman that would be my wife.
Four months after registering, I walked into that theater classroom and not long after I was captured by the smile of this stunning blonde that walked into the room. I’ll never forget seeing that smile and how the whole room lit up that morning.
Not long after that, fate continued to be on my side as that blonde, Lori Pickle, wound up being my acting partner for the first part of the semester. We spent many a morning after class rehearsing our scene from “Butterflies are Free.”
But more times than not we just talked about life, love and just about everything else. Had it not been for that class, we likely never would have met as I was a Jewish mass communication major from Pikesville and she was a Baptist nursing student from Essex.
I was never an expert when it came to the opposite sex, so I never picked up on the hints that she was interested in me. Finally, as the semester closed, Lori grabs me in the Student Union building and asks me “Are you interested in going out or what?”
A True Love Story
From there a whirlwind romance began. I’ll never forget the feeling I had the first time I held her hand or how alive I felt the first time we kissed. We started dating Dec. 19, 1997, and were engaged by June 27, 1998.
We then had a fairy tale wedding on a picture perfect day on Aug. 19, 2000, along the waterfront of the Susquehanna River at Swan Harbor Farm in Havre de Grace. From there, we went on an amazing Caribbean honeymoon and couldn’t wait to get home and start our lives together as husband and wife.
Life could not have been more perfect. We were two people in our early 20s with our own house, jobs we loved and a limitless future ahead of us. More than 12 years after getting married, our future remains as bright as ever, but it sure didn’t follow the script we had originally written.
Keeping the Spark Going
Love isn’t something that is static; it’s constantly evolving. While the love for your spouse doesn’t dim, it takes work to keep the spark going like those early days of making out at a park and hoping your parents didn’t catch you.
Between work, bills, household chores and later kids, finding time to reconnect can be difficult. I love my wife more than any husband could ever love a woman. She’s beautiful, smart, full of life and as passionate as they come.
Still, I’m guilty of falling into the trap of monotony.
It can be really easy to let life pull you down and forget how you ended up together. In the last nearly 15 years, Lori and I have had three children, , we’ve grieved the loss of loved ones and dealt with the stress of unemployment during the great recession.
All of that put a definite strain on our relationship, and I admittedly didn’t always deal with those stressors in a proper way. Instead of reaching out, I pulled away forgetting that if there is one person I could turn to during the tough times it was my wife.
An Unwavering Love
It’s a lesson I learned the hard way, but one I have a full understanding of now.
Valentine’s Day is a day where we all gush over the love of our life. We rush out to make sure we have flowers, candy, jewelry, wine and all the other traditional romantic stuff.
Every year, my wife is very appreciative of the effort, but points out what should be obvious to all of us: “You shouldn’t need a Hallmark holiday to let someone know you love them. It should be an everyday thing.”
That’s going to be my goal from here on out. I’m going to try to make everyday Valentine’s Day. You should too.
Take a minute every day and let that special someone know what they mean to you. It doesn’t need to be much. Slip a note into their lunch bag. Stay up all night and talk about your hopes and dreams. Surprise your loved one with a romantic evening.
Most importantly, never go to bed angry. It’s clichéd but it’s true. No matter how bad a fight may be, I always try to make sure the last thing I ever say to Lori at the end of the day is “I love you.” That way, I know no matter what happens after that she’ll always know how I truly feel.
I’m a lucky man. Lori has stuck with me through the good times, the bad times and everything in between. She is my true love, my best friend and my soul mate.
Thank you Theater 101.
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
How did you meet your one true love? What's your secret to a long-lasting relationship? How do you keep the sparks of romance flying? Tell us in the comments section below.