This weekend, the husband and I will celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary.
I don’t know where the time has gone. It seems like only yesterday that I remember telling friends I was getting married, when just a few days before I had been very much single!!
Yes! Ours was a bit of a whirlwind romance…
In early January 1990, my parents told me that they were going to a dinner party and I had been invited too. I knew immediately it was just a wheeze for my mother to introduce me to another “suitable” man. She had been introducing me to them from my 21st birthday, although I kept telling her there was no need as we weren’t part of a Jane Austen novel. She wouldn’t stop though and I met a number of doctors, lawyers, doctors, engineers, doctors and more doctors. It was highly embarrassing as these men were usually half my height, boring and bizarrely, most of them looked like Charlie Chaplin! After each contrived meeting, my mother would look at me hopefully and expectantly until I dismissed each of them with a pointed “No”
If I ever brought a boy back home, she would cook him a veritable banquet in the hope he would then whisk me down the aisle. In fact, she seemed to be so desperate for me to find someone that once, she actually asked me to look closely on my tube journey to work to see if there were any suitable doctors getting off at my stop for Hammersmith Hospital !
Anyway, my mother’s friend had invited us all to a dinner party and she said another friend was bringing his young brother along who was on holiday here from America. I categorically said no as it was mid-week and at that time, I was working overnight on BBC1’s “Breakfast News”. However, even though my dad was sympathetic, my mother wore me down and I ended up going, even though I was tired and grumpy. I made no effort, and I turned up in an old black dress with my unwashed hair scraped back into a ponytail and no make up whatsoever.
And there he was. Surprisingly tall and broad, like a rugby player….and nothing like Charlie Chaplin! In fact, he had a lovely, kind face with smiling brown eyes
We hit it off straight away and spent the whole evening chatting to each other, completely oblivious to the other guests. He was very easy to be with. This was no Jack-the-lad that I was normally used to, but a really warm, genuine man. He wasn’t setting out to impress, which actually made him highly impressive.
We arranged to meet the next day as he was flying back to America the morning after that. We had another lovely evening talking openly and easily about past relationships and what we wanted in our future partners, unspeakingly realising that we were a perfect match. As I was giving him a lift back to the station, we stopped at some traffic lights and he just looked at me and simply asked “I don’t suppose you’d be interested in marrying me, would you”. I was so shocked that I just blurted out “Yes, OK then” because it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to say.
I took him home then, as he wanted to ask my Dad for permission and do everything properly. Fortunately, my dad said yes as if he had known him for ever and my mother…. passed out!
He went back to America and the wedding was set for the 21st July. But actually, although we spoke and wrote every day, we didn’t meet again until late June, when he returned to get ready for the Big Day. When I think of it all now, it was so risky. I said yes to someone who I hardly knew but the thing was, I did know that he was The One as soon as I met him. And he says he felt exactly the same. Twenty-three years on, I guess those gut instincts must have been pretty good as we are still together.
I admit to being a difficult woman to live with – a bit high maintenance perhaps, but he’s very laid back and very attentive and always makes me believe that he is so proud to be with me. My friends all seem to love him and often tell him they feel sorry for him having to put up with me. But I say he is lucky to have me….and he smiles because he knows it’s true !
He is a great dad to our two children and over the years, we have settled into a comfortable family routine together. Some may call it a rut but it seems to suit all of us. We get on well and enjoy each others’ company…..most of the time!
It’s a simple life where we get by – living together and looking out for each other
I would like to say our marriage is a blissful union full of almost unimaginable love and fulfilment ! I’d like to say that but fairly regularly, our idyll is shattered with a massive argument. At these times I am sure we must be a living, breathing reassurance to all our single friends, who suddenly realise that they may have made an excellent lifestyle decision
Our sources of conflict are many – usually centering around money, or his lax attitude to timekeeping, or his refusal to follow my directions in the car and then daring to blame my weakness with my lefts and rights…
But then on occasion, I quite like him. For instance, as I was watering the garden last night, he came out and gave me a very sweet kiss, telling me that I was still a beautiful woman.
That’s the sort of thing I like to hear and it makes me realise that after twenty-three years, I don’t want to be without him.
In fact, if I’m honest, I can barely remember what life was like before him.