My father never offered his advice about girls, though I understand he was moderately popular with them; and after thirty years of marriage you think he’d have something valuable to say. He never spoke about the secret of his marital success or how to make relationships work. He never shared that a woman’s character and integrity are more important than her personality or hair color, he never counseled me to look through her eyes to what hides behind them, and he didn’t caution that in this world there are ordinary girls and girls of a different kind – or how to tell the difference.
That neglect would plague me for two decades.
My impression of women and relationships, for most of my adult life, can be summarized like this; if she was marginally alcoholic, somewhat trampy, overly desperate, and just attractive enough to keep my ego afloat I believe she had sufficient criteria for a girlfriend, and if she stayed faithful, maybe even a wife. And I would gladly negotiate on any of them for the right set of implants. I’m profoundly insecure and without a more accurate compass I would drift towards whichever showed the most interest, but narcissistic enough to mercilessly change direction should another have the same attributes in greater abundance. Tissue-thin character is exceptionally unreliable.
But sensuality can never compensate for sincerity and shallow relationships quickly dry up from the heat of bourgeois passions. But it would take the failure of a marriage, four years of what Renée Pascal termed ‘licking the earth’, and a helping of heavenly inspiration before I finally learned this lesson. Enduring one failed relationship after another taught me that anything permanent will never thrive in a cesspool of self-indulgence.
The Queen came into my life as I was emerging from the darkness and isolation of an emotional winter. I had lost my way and needed time alone in a splintered wasteland wrought by the turbulence of a thousand bad choices. To survive, I spent those lonely frigid months reading, praying, and relearning everything I once knew about women, love, and relationships. Walking out of that desolate labyrinth my confidence was utterly ravished but my spirit rejuvenated. Being laid bare to the realities of my past – understanding the motives and accepting responsibility for my deepest regrets – I was ready to set foot on nobler paths that could lead to a better places.
She and I are convinced this relationship was sparked with the flint of divine intervention; the timing was no mere coincidence; something so good doesn’t happen by accident. She too had spent the better part of a year ‘looking in the mirror’, which had led her to step out on a different path. No two people could have been more prepared for each other. The best evidence of this was our first date, the next morning, sitting side by side at the church we unknowingly both attended. What better way of getting to know someone than over a helping of Revelations.
Over the years I have come to cherish the time I spent in that emotional wilderness, because without it I could not have developed the clearness of vision or the cleanness of soul to recognize this woman, just as broken and no less restored, was not some ordinary girl but was, in fact, what I had prayed for during so many cold nights alone.
This week makes our fifth year on this journey together and I still struggle for the proper words to describe the influence it, and more importantly she, has had on my life. The Queen is the one and only woman on the planet or off it. She is first and every other is nowhere. I want to spend the rest of my life near her.
Her patience and understanding are majestic, virtue spotless, and her salad making skills are now legendary. My respect for her is limitless and her wisdom and motherhood inspire me to be a better father. She is my greatest friend, my deepest desire, and recently became my future bride – and it’s all because she was, and still is, a girl of a different kind.
My Queen, thank you for making me the happiest man in the world. I love you most!
Click below to read my previous anniversary posts: