Grown-up, know-it-all adults are fond of scoffing at teenage “puppy love.” We can be so jaded and cynical and skeptical. Young love? It never lasts, we say.

But sometimes it does.

Dan and I met just after I graduated from high school. Bound for college in the fall, I didn’t mean to get tied down just before I grew wings, but there he was. The man I knew I would marry.

We got engaged the next summer. I was 19 and a freshman in college, he was 20, working as an apprentice electrician and living at home.

Our parents were less than thrilled by the news. My parents adored Dan, but they wanted me to finish college and feared I’d drop out. Dan’s parents thought we were too young. Or maybe they just thought I was totally wrong for him, I don’t know.

Few thought it would last, but it did. One year after I graduated from college, we married. Nineteen years ago today. I was 23, Dan was 24.

Crazy, right?

Not so much. Not in our families anyway. Of the eight siblings we have between us, all but two are married to their high school (or darn near) sweethearts.

wedding - my family

Our wedding day in 1994. This is just my immediate family. Dan has one at least this big, too. (Speaking of big…yeah, I was a wee bit heavier back then and now you know why you’ll never see our wedding photo in my house).

Dan and I are fortunate to have grown up surrounded by examples of enduring love, long marriages, and rock-solid commitments to staying together.

We were there when all of our siblings were married (Hell, we were in most, if not all, of their weddings). We’ve learned so much from them about what real marriage is.

We’ve seen our brothers, sisters, cousins and their spouses love and fight, joke and irritate each other, and grow up and grow old(er) together. We’ve been witness to marriages on shaky ground that were brought back from the brink of divorce, and two marriages that didn’t last because they probably never should’ve been.

We never bought into the Hollywood version of love — romance, roses and such — because we had first-hand knowledge that sometimes love was biting your tongue, going to bed mad, compromising, and choosing to laugh when you want to scream.

Were not for our families and for all those flawed and imperfect but infinitely beautiful examples of real enduring love, I’m not sure Dan and I would have been eating prime rib together tonight.

us at mrathon

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About Just Write
“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”