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You don't know what love is

No truer words have ever been spoken to me, “You don’t know what love is.” With me, they accompanied a lecture on “You are too young to be in love.”

It was true. I was too young to know what love was, but to my credit I had never been shown consistent love. I did not regularly experience love from those with whom I lived. In retrospect, I should have echoed back that statement and added “either”.

I met Micheal through a friend and I fought wholeheartedly to not be fixed up with him. I had never seen him, but my friend didn’t advertise him well, “He’s sweet and fun.” I read between the lines...simple-minded and ugly.

I got thrown into meeting Micheal. He was aggressively pursued me that evening; and once he moved too far with where I was comfortable, he sat beside on his tailgate as I cried. If he had been smart, he would have driven home and forgot about the crazy, crying girl. Instead, he looked for me every weekend or so after that.

As fairy tales go, well, it wasn’t. For a month after our tailgate night, he never called or even asked for my number when we saw each other. That made me angry that I would avoid him or I would ride around with other guys so he could see me.

We he finally called, I endured the conversations for about 4 days. Geez! This guy did not take a hint. On day 5, our phone conversation surrounded physics tutoring and how much he loved reading the book, The Last of the Mohicans. (If you’ve never read this book, it is dry...long-winded...and required a thesaurus throughout page 1. Please note that I never read it either. I tried. I tried reading chapter 1. It was the worst.)

Eight months later, we maturely sat across from his parents explaining that we were in love with one another. Due to this overwhelming love, we would not be attending college after our high school graduation, nor would we be using the full-tuition-paid scholarships that we both had received. Our freshmen year in our separate colleges...30 minutes away from one another...would not let us be together.

That conversation did not go any worse or better than the one we would have later with my father and stepmother. The theme was the same, “You two are too young. You don’t know what love is.” And all 4 of them were right.

Micheal was broken. Any therapist who is reading this just said, “Well, duh!” For any of you who have not spent years in therapy, I need to give you a quick rundown. Hurt people hurt people. Broken people break people. Broken people find other broken people. I promise you that this is the foundational reason that the divorce rates for 1st time marriages is 50% and the rate rises to 70% for all subsequent marriages.

But I thought Micheal was a healthy, happy young man. His parents were still married to each other. He lived in the same 3 bedroom rock him in which he and his sister were born. One set of his grandparents lived 1/4 of a mile down the road. The other set was 2 whole miles farther down the road. He was a part of a big, happy family.

I was an ignorant 17-year-old. (Definition of ignorant - to not know.) I did not know what a happy family looked like. I just had an imaginary idea of what I should see. Married parents. Real home. Grandparents nearby. Jobs. Micheal’s family fit the bill.

I would love to know what Micheal really thought about my family. He tells me (because he is kind) that he knew I was from a messed up family. I can almost hear the evil cackle. He had no idea.

Eleven months after we officially started dating, I nervously exited the car and peered down the rock steps at the city park to see if Micheal had actually shown up for our wedding. What a surge of relief when I saw him standing down there! He looked as nervous as I felt, but he was there.

It was a quick wedding on a Friday afternoon. Most of Micheal’s family showed up, but I had not invited my father on purpose. I had my brother walk me down the aisle which still brings a smile to my face. My mother and sisters were also there, but that was the end of the family. My granny was mad at me. My aunts and uncles felt that I had been selfish for choosing a Friday afternoon for a wedding. My Nanny, though, did not officially attend. My dad would have been mad, so she stood at the top of the steps away from the actual ceremony. I believe she probably prayed over that wedding. She left quickly, but not quick enough that I didn’t snap some photos of her.

It’s been nearly 26 years since that wedding day. These years have been magical and perfect. We’ve hardly fought and rarely endured any hardships. STOP! Reread the my first sentence. This was a marriage that was broken before it started. Two wrongs don’t make a right. Two rights don’t make a left. Two broken people don’t make for a good relationship.

But two broken people who are willing to do anything to no longer be broken can create a very good relationship.

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