Today I celebrate with Donna who has faithfully stayed with me for 31 years. On this anniversary, I’d like to remind ourselves and our friends of our history. Don’t fret, it’s an overview, and don’t miss the ending!
“Fourteen or more hours we talked. A “normal” American couple likely has light banter on the first several dates. They talk a little on quite a few more dates. Couples take time before they open their emotions and come to know each other. We shoved something like twelve dates’ worth of communication on this first day together.
We walked most of the day. Breaks from walking occurred on various benches, a porch swing, and steps of classroom buildings. Late in the night, we sat on a bench outside her dorm. In the moonlight, we kissed. No couple has ever been more different, had as little in common, or been more in love.
We had more walking talks several times a day. This allowed us to learn each other rapidly. We were inseparable. Long discussions on family life and child-rearing, Christian beliefs, and where we used to work. These in-depth talks also had conversations about children and how many we wanted. I believe God placed the number four in my thoughts, and I said it. This was a bit of a surprise to me, and then I learned she desired five or more.
So how does one go from a strong dislike to a strong like in a day? While infatuation at first sight is understandable, and lust at first sight exists, I place little stock into seeing a potential mate and having a deep love at first sight. I never said she was not attractive. Donna is very nice looking. I cannot appreciate good looks if the inside is bad. Once I knew more of who she is, I learned her attitude differed from what I assumed and her inner beauty complemented her outer beauty.
Genuine love comes by knowing someone. Not satisfied with just knowing, I wanted to know more. After 30 years, I am still enthralled to learn things about Donna. It also seems crazy that there would still be things unknown. In 2017, I wanted to spend more quality time together as a family in a simpler setting, getting exercise and teaching our daughter outdoor skills. Donna and I had camped often when we were young, but many years had gone by with no trips. I thought her fondness for camping had passed. She did not just agree, but dove into it with passion.
Despite all we have in common on a spiritual level, we have learned we have little else in common.” – from God Is In the Doubt, excerpt from pages 27-29
Very little has been common in our life and even less has been easy. We both have come from nothing and worked our tails off for years, 110 – 135 hours a week between us, just to buy a home. Fifteen of the first eighteen years, we struggled to have children and have lost three of them. We spent years fostering seven children long term and many more short-term kids, but we could adopt none of them. Multiple businesses destroyed, one by fire, and a litany of other hardships, but we have persevered! Despite all of this, I still want to walk around campus with you, moon-gazing, and stealing kisses. Happy Anniversary, Donna! I love you more!