My wife, Cinda, and I were married on this date (January 22nd) in 1983. That’s right, 37 years ago we both said, “I do.” As I look back and ponder all that we’ve been through over these years, I remain amazed that God chose her for me. I am even more amazed that she chose me, and that she continues to choose me everyday.
Neither one of us (or our families) had much money, so she couldn’t spend a lot to obtain an extravagant wedding dress (though, I must say, she certainly looked extravagant in that dress!). And yet, she still loved me.
We could not afford a fancy venue for the ceremony. It was held in the relatively small church we both attended in Tempe, Arizona. It was very nice, but a far from what others experienced. And yet, she still loved me.
Our wedding reception, too, was non-descript. It took place at the clubhouse in the mobile home park my family lived in. And yet, she still loved me.
We had no money to go on a honeymoon. We spent our wedding night in a semi-upscale hotel in Phoenix (after being incessantly chased in our car by one of my groomsmen) – that was it. And yet, she still loved me.
Just days after our wedding, I uprooted her from her close-knit family in Phoenix, and moved her to Vallejo, CA, the location of my first shipboard duty station. And yet, she still loved me.
We were both very young (I was 21, she was not quite 20) and immature (emphasis on immature for me), and so we made a lot of mistakes. Again, especially me. And yet, she still loved me.
Over the next 3 years, I would spend days, weeks, and even months at sea, away from her. In those days, the ability to communicate at sea was limited at-best, but generally non-existent. And yet, she still loved me.
When I was discharged from the Navy in 1986, I decided to go to Arizona State University to obtain my engineering degree, and did so knowing full-well that we had no source of income or any true plan. And yet, she still loved me.
During those college years, I worked part-time washing trucks, and she worked several full- and part-time jobs, many times simultaneously, so we could pay rent, pay tuition, buy books, and buy food. We barely scraped by, living an numerous roach-infested apartmens. And yet, she still loved me.
It was also during those college years that I decided to go back into the Navy, this time as an officer. While I’d be working as an engineer, and not have to go to sea, it would mean once again uprooting her from her family and moving her to the Washington, DC area. And yet, she still loved me.
Both of our children were born while we lived in the DC area. I was not the greatest of helpers as a new dad. I was clueless, I was impatient, sometimes I was just downright stupid. And yet, she still loved me.
We purchased a house while we lived there. But in my ignorance, I think I rushed us into the purchase without give much consideration to her thoughts or concerns. And yet, she still loved me.
Five years into our stint in the DC area, I announced that I wanted to attend law school at night while working full-time during the day. That meant she had to bear an inordinate share of the parenting load and spend a lot of her waking hours not seeing me. And yet, she still loved me.
Oh yea, and remember that house from two paragraphs up? When we tried to sell it after I graduated law school so that we could move back to Phoenix, it took much, much longer than anticipated and we barely broke even. And yet, she still loved me.
Our time here in Phoenix has been blessed. We moved back in 2000, and we cannot see ourselves living anywhere else. Our children are now adults and no longer live with us, and both are productive members of society. We are blessed spiritually, financially, and relationally. Nonetheless, I remain a fallen, sinful, broken man. And yet . . .
I suffer bouts of impatience and anger. And yet, she still loves me.
I am, at times, insensitive to her true feelings and desires. And yet, she still loves me.
I can be selfish. And yet, she still loves me.
I remain a weak communicator and poor listener. And yet, she still loves me.
Despite my weaknesses, my failures, my poor decisions, both past and present, there is one thing that I have come to realize, one thing I take solace in, one thing I know without a shadow of doubt to be true – not only does she still love me, but she will love me, and love me always.
And you know what? I will always love her.
Happy 37th anniversary, Cinda Kay Amrozowicz. I would be lost without you!