Twelve years in love, eight years official

You should have seen her. She wore denim overall shorts and a shirt that rose up over her hips. Everything about her turned me into a 13-year-old boy. The bare section of her midriff made me crazy. She let me take her to Shakes for a pizza–shrimp on whole wheat crust–and let me talk for two hours. She barely ate. At this point, I knew she was the one and that one day I would marry this woman. I started thinking about engagement rings immediately and how to make her my wife.

My friend Joey Two-Hands asked about her. What’s her name, he wondered when I introduced them. For the first time ever–and it had already been a long ever with Joey–I turned to him and said, “No.”

I had no claim on her. She was uncommitted, but unyielding. I was a beer-gutted wanderer, aimless and unsure. Some forty days later she let me kiss her in the middle of a crowd at the Blue Note. She saw something in me–in us–that I couldn’t define. I was beside myself and confused. It was what I wanted, but it didn’t make sense–someone like her with someone like me. We didn’t make it official for a couple more months. There was something about us that had a hard time making things official. It was rarely a decision. Between the two of us, things just happened.

Two years later, we stood in a dive bar in Springfield, Missouri. I had a diamond ring in my pocket that I planned to spring on her a week later. I had already been looking at antler wedding rings and been thinking about potential wedding venues in anticipation of her answer. Plied with Corona and Jager–a romantic cocktail if there ever was one–I was like I’ve always been: unable to control myself. Even though the moment was horrible (the bar singer was singing “How Do You Say Fuck You In Spanish?”), I let it happen. I asked her to marry me. She said yes, and I was honestly surprised.

We spent the next two years wandering from Missouri, to Mississippi, to South Carolina. By the time we reached the Palmetto State, we had a dog named Scoop and no wedding rings. Sure, we’d considered some moissanite rings, some diamond rings, so many different kinds, but still we hadn’t chosen one. Finally, on this day in 2000, we stood on the Eastern Continental Divide and said we would.

I have lived a fortunate life. In spite of my aimless ways and wanderlust, my life has settled on a direction I couldn’t have planned so well. I owe most of it to the woman I call my wife. There are few people who would put up with so much, expect so little, and give back more than they’re getting. I have not been a perfect husband. I’ve been a bad one at times. It’s taken me eight years to realize how much I owe her.

It’s now 2am on my eighth anniversary and my wife is asleep in bed. We will celebrate when we wake up. But, as I sit here tonight in a quiet house, I can’t help but wonder what my life would’ve been without her. It’s selfish to think, but I do anyway. I can’t imagine it. I don’t want to.

I don’t know where we’ll be in another eight years. I don’t know where will be in eight months. I can only hope I’ve been a good enough husband to earn her love every day. I can only hope I make her as happy as she makes me.

I can only hope she knows how much I love her.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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18 Responses

  1. Michael Sage says:

    Great blog entry! I dig the way you write.
    Have a great day with the wife!

  2. Pauly says:

    I got goosebumps…

  3. iggy says:

    a superb tribute. congrats on the anniversary!

  4. Da Goddess says:

    Happy anniversary! Everyone should be so lucky to have what you two have.

  5. Dr. Chako says:

    Happy anniversary! We stole a few kisses at the Blue Note in Columbia, MO, too. Got engaged on a golf course in Lake of the Ozarks. Took three more years to finally get married.

    Enjoy the day, and all those that follow.


  6. Uncle Ted says:

    Eight is great.

  7. KenP says:

    She may not always get it right. But, on that one I have to compliment her:

    Good read, Mrs. O!!!

  8. Bam-Bam says:

    A great read Otis! Well done.

    All the best and only the happiest times to you both.

  9. Annie says:

    Your wife is lovely and you’re both lucky! This post made me more teary (times 10) than that silly Sex and the City movie…

  10. Falstaff says:

    Made me tear up a little. Congrats to both of you.

  11. Su says:

    Congrats, you two! Love you both!

  12. fejsez says:

    I got a little teary reading that.
    Yesterday was 8 months married to my wife, loving her more every day. You inspire me as I begin this journey with her.

  13. MGM says:

    Sweet. Congrats to you both. Amazing how fast time flies, isn’t it? Me and mine have wondered how in the world 11 1/2 married years have passed so quickly.

    Hope you enjoyed a great celebration!

  14. Buckeyetimmy says:

    Your words and the order in which you put them are certainly above average, to say the least.

    Your heart-felt honesty amazes me.

    Your wife, well, she amazes me, too…..and she’s hot.

  15. The Wife says:

    That picture of your wife is adorable and you are a doll . . . congratulations!

    DrChako and I just hit our #13!

  16. 2hands says:

    You win.

  17. Golden says:

    I don’t know y0u other from reading what you write. However I suspect that you married a lot better than your lovely wife did.


  18. JAR says:


    Your writing is as brilliant as ever. If only I could express myself with your eloquence and passion. Best wishes to you and Michelle.