It’s been 16 years since our first ‘I Love You’

Because every day is a gift when you are with the person that speaks to your heart like no one else…

Even though it was only our third date — and her first visit to my (now our) home town — back in 2006, I already knew I loved her. Since early October, we had been emailing every day and talking for hours each night. We knew everything about each other from our life goals and how we approach parenting, to whether we preferred Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip (A deal breaker — and it’s Mayo, by the way).

When we met for the first time on Oct. 28, 2006, the connection was deep, earthshaking and instantaneous. Time stopped, the world disappeared and the moment we took hands I knew — KNEW — this was something amazing and heaven-sent. By the time we had our third date a little over two weeks later, I already knew something else: I absolutely loved her.

I wanted and needed her in my life every day until there were no days left in this world — and for eternity after that. We married two years later on Aug. 6, 2008 and, each day since — in small ways and big ways, day after day, moment to moment — my love for her and the love we share together has only continued to grow stronger, deeper and more complete.

I had to take this moment to say these things. To reflect on this blessing that I dreamed of, hoped for and quietly prayed would happen some day. And after 16 years since that first “I Love You” at the Wildcat Covered Bridge, I can honestly say, while I knew I loved her then, I couldn’t fathom loving her more than I already did.

But each day since, I have been proven wrong.

Happy 16th “I Love You” anniversary, Sweetheart…

I Love You (LFAS), Alicia XOXOXOXO

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Ten years ago, love overlooked the fact I drove a mini van

imageTen years ago tonight, I had my first date.

I was 40.

It’s not that I hadn’t been on other dates in my life. It’s just that, from the very first moment we took each other’s hands, none of the others seemed to matter anymore — Because nothing compared to this one.

The best one.

The last one I’ll ever want.

Both of us were recently divorced after long, unhappy marriages. We both had two children at home. And both of us had joined a dating website a month earlier within a few days of each other. Fate, it seemed, had already set things into motion.

10 years and one pair of wedding rings later, I’m still thanking fate each and every day.

But especially for this night, when the amazing woman I now call my wife was able to overlook the fact that her date drove a mini van.

Here’s how it all started…

[Insert gauzy time-travel sequence and harp music here]

Continue reading Ten years ago, love overlooked the fact I drove a mini van

Men: The key to romance? Don’t be afraid to look foolish

(A year ago today, the lovely and talented Sisterwives invited me to offer a man’s perspective on Valentine’s Day. I saw it as my opportunity to open the lines of love-communication between the sexes. As the Day of Love approaches, here’s hoping men and women get something other than a busy signal…)

imageSince the dawn of time, man has feared Valentine’s Day. I’m a journalist, so you can trust my facts on this. And because I’m a man, you can also trust me when I tell you our fear isn’t because we don’t want to express feelings of love and romance; it’s because we are afraid of looking stupid while doing so.

This fear has been documented as far back as prehistoric times, in a pair of cave drawings paleontologists say depicts a caveman named “Glork” trying to court a cavewoman.

Image one: To demonstrate his masculinity and win a cavewoman’s affections, Glork fights a saber-toothed lion

Image two: Glork is eaten

Millions of years later, though the risk of being eaten by a large predator is relatively low (not counting cougar attacks), men still fear that their attempt to express love could lead to a fate worse than death: EmbarrassmentContinue reading Men: The key to romance? Don’t be afraid to look foolish

A man’s guide to romantic cuisine — Step one: Insert beer into chicken cavity

image Men, by their very nature, are grillers of food. If you follow me on Facebook, then you know I love grilling everything from steak kabobs to bacon-wrapped bratwurst. This is because grilling, aside from providing men with a legitimate excuse to drink beer and play with fire, is actually a sign of romance and affection dating back to the discovery of fire itself.

We know this thanks to recently discovered cave paintings depicting what archeologists believe is a romantic meal prepared by a Neanderthal named Glork soon after the discovery of fire. According to archeologists, the sequence goes like this:

Painting one: Glork makes a small fire using a careful mixture of embers, dry leaves, and an assortment of twigs. He then douses it with liberal amounts of highly flammable liquid, creating a massive fireball that scorches the roof of his cave.

Painting two: Glork adds a marinated pterodactyl drumstick to the fire and begins drinking an unidentified beverage.

Paintings three through six: Glork continues drinking a lot more of his unidentified beverage.

Painting seven: Attempting to capture the attention of an attractive cavewoman, Glork uses the flaps of his animal skin to fan the aroma of dinner in her direction. In the process, he inadvertently exposes himself, leading to the creation of what archeologists believe is the very first “Kiss the Chef” apron. Continue reading A man’s guide to romantic cuisine — Step one: Insert beer into chicken cavity

True happiness began 7 years ago for me, when she became my wife

imageI remember standing at the altar, watching as she crossed the courtyard toward the church. I remember smiling so much my cheeks hurt; I remember the pride and appreciation I felt knowing I was about to be her husband; and I remember a momentary breeze lifting a stray strand of hair away from her face, like God’s finger gently brushing it aside as she entered the chapel. As with any rare occasion when we don’t enter a room together, our eyes found each other immediately. So much was said to each other during that long walk to the altar. Not in words, but spoken between our two hearts — in a language we had been fluent in from the moment we met…

Seven years ago today, I became the man I was meant to be by marrying the woman I was meant to be with. The moments we have shared since then are more than memories — they are carried within each pulse that beats from my heart; like a constant and steady flow of warmth and wonderment inspired by her presence. We came into each other’s lives as parts of a fractured whole, survivors with scraped knuckles from time spent trying to repair broken marriages with parts from ourselves. Perhaps because of this it was easier to recognize one another when our hearts met for the first time. And perhaps because of our past experiences we were able to appreciate even more the rarity of what we felt. Continue reading True happiness began 7 years ago for me, when she became my wife

A saucy Valentine exchange with my wife

Admittedly, stopping in for some Cinnabon Delights at a Taco Bell on Valentine’s Day doesn’t sound particularly romantic. One might even see it as a precurser to the end of a relationship. But when I am with my wife, a romantic moment can happen anytime, anywhere.

Love has a way of doing that. Even in a random handful of hot sauce packets…

image

Happy Valentine’s Day from us to you

Men, show your love this Valentine’s Day by looking foolish

(As I mentioned Friday, I’m a guest at The Sisterwives today, where I’ve been asked to provide a man’s perspective on Valentine’s Day because — not to brag — but I’ve been called “a master of romance.” Or so I’ve been told while standing in front of my mirror…)

image Since the dawn of time, man has feared Valentine’s Day. I’m a journalist, so you can trust my facts on this. And because I’m a man, you can also trust me when I tell you our fear isn’t because we don’t want to express feelings of love and romance; it’s because we are afraid of looking stupid while doing so.

This fear has been documented as far back as prehistoric times, in a pair of cave drawings paleontologists say depicts a caveman named “Glork” trying to court a cavewoman.

Image one: To demonstrate his masculinity and win a cavewoman’s affections, Glork fights a saber-toothed lion

Image two: Glork is eaten

Millions of years later, though the risk of being eaten by a large predator is relatively low (not counting cougar attacks), men still fear that their attempt to express love could lead to a fate worse than death: Embarrassment. (continue reading at Sisterwives!)

A love note for no reason doesn’t mean I’m in trouble

image “If I had three wishes, none would compare to the one God already granted when he gave me you.”

I wrote those words on my wife’s Facebook today, as well as my own, inspired by no other reason than being the lucky man who can say them to her.

It’s not our anniversary;
Valentine’s Day is still more than a month away;
And no, I didn’t do something stupid.

I just love her.

It’s been that way since the moment we met. Honestly; the moment we met. And the only reason I didn’t say it right then and there was because I didn’t want to seem like a weirdo on our first date; there was plenty of time for her to figure that out later. I can’t explain how I knew so quickly and completely that I loved her. The closest I’ve come to describing it is that, even though we’d never met, somewhere in my heart I already knew her — so she was easy to recognize. I’ve been thankful for each day since and I make sure to tell her so. Today it just happened to be on Facebook. Continue reading A love note for no reason doesn’t mean I’m in trouble

Because my wife makes every moment better

image Six years ago today I stood at the altar, watching as my wife crossed the courtyard toward the church. I remember smiling so much my cheeks hurt; I remember the pride and appreciation I felt knowing I was about to be her husband; and I remember a momentary breeze lifting a strand of hair away from her face, like God’s finger gently brushing it aside as she entered the chapel. As with any rare occasion when we don’t enter a room together, our eyes found each other immediately. So much was said to each other during that long walk to the altar, not in words, but spoken between our two hearts — in a language we had been fluent in from the moment we met…

Oct. 28, 2006:
My search for a red rose after making the hour-long drive to Salem for our first date had put me behind. Coupled with the fact that I hadn’t been on a real date in nearly 20 years, had lost 23 pounds since my divorce several months earlier, and was driving a Plymouth Voyager mini-van, I technically had four strikes against me already. Plus, after several weeks of chatting together on Match.com and long evening phone calls, she had finally posted her profile picture. When I saw it, I realized I wasn’t only in danger of striking out before our date even started:

Heck, I was batting out of my league. Continue reading Because my wife makes every moment better

Men: time is runing out if you want to avoid being a Love Dunce

As a public service to men everywhere, I am hereby issuing the following announcement:

Love Dunce Valentine’s Day is this FRIDAY!

If you are married, have a girlfriend or, for reasons of your own, feel a need to continue the charade of dating a Swedish airline stewardess who is always out of town, it’s time to start planning something romantic. For those of you in the latter category, this will be easy since the only person you have to worry about pleasing is yourself.

And, yes — I plan to clarify that last statement immediately.

What I mean is that every male currently in a relationship with an actual living female could, by Feb. 15, all be dating the same fictitious Swedish airline stewardess should they fail to impress their Valentines. As a result, men everywhere are panicking because we know that impressing the women in our lives isn’t easy. We realize that you are complicated creatures who need more than a physical connection when it comes to romance; you also need an emotional outlet in order to feel satisfied.

Men, on the other hand, just need an outlet located near the television. Continue reading Men: time is runing out if you want to avoid being a Love Dunce