April 3rd, 2012. It's not a day that's special, or important to anyone except those who associate some special event in their life with it. e.g. I had a son born on tomorrow's date and it too is special in its own way. But today is our wedding anniversary; our 41st wedding anniversary.
I was 30 years old when Maureen and I were married. She was only 18. Some would think nothing of the fact that one day after we were married, a son was born ... but only to me, not Maureen and his birth was in 1967, not 1971. His mother was my second wife. When it came to wedded bliss, one might conclude that I had known very little of it. But, thank God, I was learning about life all the while and experience had a value of its own when it came to the future.
Confidence was not something I was familiar with up to the day Maureen and I were wed. Bad choices and other personal short-comings resulted in some major failures for me. I thought I had been "IN LOVE" twice before. Neither of those times ending up badly gave me cause to believe that I was correct about my feelings of being "IN LOVE" the third time. Something was different about the third time that I couldn't pin point exactly. I WAS older and also hoped that I had been paying attention, learning what I had done wrong, or could have possibly done better than I had in the other two relationships.
And now, 41 years later, no one is happier than myself about how it has transpired. I can honestly state that there has never been one moment that I have said or thought ... I wish I had never gotten married the third time. I will continue to tell anyone who will listen that marrying Maureen K. Houp was the wisest decision this fortunate, blessed man has ever made.
Did Maureen and I discover some unknown secret formula for establishing and maintaining the perfect marriage? Well ... NO! I don't think we did. Then to what do we attribute the longevity and joyous contentment we have known over all those years? I'll need some time to ponder that question. There must be several thousand reasons that run through my mind every time I stop to contemplate our situation. Our daughter, Kellie will tell you that we ARE the perfect pair. Over the years I've heard her make such a statement to a large number of people.
Over the years, I have written hundreds of thousands of words trying to explain just why things have been thus and so. I've written a score of love poems for Maureen and composed endless compositions about our successful relationship.
I have not however, boiled it down to any one specific thing. How could I? Was it fate or destiny? I'm not sure. I have, on several occasions described our union as Heaven sent, believing that God had a hand in it ... and I still do think HE did.
At one point I DID ask God into my own life, to allow Him to show me the right path to follow, to listen closely for His voice as I made my way through this world. I believe He has and will continue to do so.
I've lost count of the times I have thanked Him for bringing Maureen into my life. The same can be said for all the miracles I've seen Him do on my behalf. Our union produced one child, a daughter, who today is a Godly woman, a daughter any parents would be proud to claim as their own. More than a year ago, I feared we were going to lose Maureen, that her failing heart would take her from us. But God heard the prayers of those who loved and cared about her and brought her back from the brink of death.
So, today we celebrate another year together. It hasn't been the best year we have know but thank God, we are still together, able to say "Happy Anniversary" once more and remember all that we have shared together.