I woke up on Oct. 31, 1997 with a need to talk to my good friend at the time, Ann. She was the type of friend everyone dreams of having. She supported and agreed with me ALL the time. I needed to see her, that weekend, so that she could assure me that breaking up with my fiancé was the right thing to do.
Ann lived five hours away at the time so it was a little bit of a production to get together. We figured it out and I was able to spend Halloween in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I knocked on her door at about 10:15 PM. First words out of her mouth, “Do you want to go to a party?” Of course. About 11:00 PM we arrived. As I walked in, I immediately noticed Chris. I shoved my engagement-ring-adorned-left hand in my pocket and smiled at him. The deceit had begun.
As the evening progressed, I knew that breaking up with my fiancé was inevitable. If I were this attracted to someone else, I was obviously not ready for marriage. Chris was incredibly charming, extremely handsome and a good conversationalist (although that could easily have been because of the 64 ounce rum and Coke he was drinking).
We stayed up till 5 AM talking and kissing. It was really nice. He gave me his number and then I had to punt. “Um…well...you don’t really want my number. I’m…ummm…complicated…I just broke off an engagement.” (The ring was sitting at the bottom of my pocket). He was so great about it. He just smiled and said, “I’m complicated, too. I’m not quite divorced.” I knew he had a son, and that he hadn’t lived with the boy’s mother for about two years, but this was still a surprise. I smiled back and gave him a fake phone number! (I am still ashamed, so please don’t admonish me. You need to know I told myself I would never see him again.)
I went back to Minneapolis. Officially broke it off with my fiancé. Moved back in with my parents (which I’m so grateful for now due to my mom’s illness.) Heard that Chris had tried to call me at the fake number. Called him back and our relationship began about two weeks later.
We dated irregularly for awhile, probably due to the fact that we lived five hours apart, but talked on the phone a lot. I discovered him through those conversations. We were both cathartic, but it wasn’t a “Let’s Bitch About our Ex’s” fest. I learned he was intellectual, sensitive, caring and a loving father. He wasn’t just a pretty face. (Believe me, there were times that I thought the immense amount of lust I had for him was clouding my judgment.)
Our years together since then have been difficult. We’ve endured a nasty custody battle for his son, living in a town we both disliked to be close to his son, raising two babies – one of whom had health concerns and colic, financial stressors and home remodeling nightmares that would rival anyone’s. (This is the part where I’m supposed to say that we’ve become closer and stronger because of all the stressors, but I’m not so sure.)
I truly believe that our marriage would be in a better place if we hadn’t had to go through as much as we have.
I also truly believe that our marriage is in a good place right now.
Our move to Utah, as many of my family and friends already know, has been an epiphany. We know what’s really important. We try harder to focus on the positive things in life. We have ridden ourselves of most of the stressors we have in our control.
We brought our family to the mountains so that we could focus on us - the four of us, but with an underlying purpose of repairing the two of us.
On this Valentine’s Day, I want to tell the world that I cherish my husband. I also need to tell him that.
He has never been a romantic, but he shows his love for me in many other ways. I would love it if he gave me jewelry and flowers occasionally, but my heart still flutters when he runs out in the cold for me and starts my car in the morning.
Most importantly, he supports me at the deepest level – he wants me to be a better person and pushes me in that direction. My aspirations and my dreams are as important to him as they are to me. I yell at him sometimes if he “reminds” me to run once too often, but he knows I want to run a marathon some day. He compliments my photography skills and schemes to figure out ways that I can make money taking pictures. He lets me invite people for dinner, even when he’s too tired to entertain, because he knows I’m a social being. He wants me to spend money we don’t have on professional clothing so that I can present myself with confidence and finesse in my new position.
Chris is a playful and loving father, an extremely ambitious and smart businessman and an extraordinary partner.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Christopher.