A letter to my wife on the occasion of our tenth anniversary

When it’s hard to believe in anything, it seems silly to believe in fate. It’s a fanciful concept built on hope, acquiescence, or desperation. Yet, I can find no other reason we ever met, no other reason we’re still together. You didn’t mean or want to end up in the place we met. I didn’t ever intend to be in the room either. Even then, it probably shouldn’t have been. Your life was taking you in so many different emotional directions. I was lost. We were as likely to wander away from each other as we were to end up as we are now. And yet, as ridiculous as it sounds, I knew the very moment I saw you that we would be together forever or I would end up as unhappy as I thought I deserved to be.

It still amazes me, the weird road we traveled in those early years and how we managed to navigate it to the point we actually had a life together. If not for love–and it can be nothing but that–our relationship should have ended when I moved hundreds of miles away and to a place I hated. I left you, a woman I no doubt loved, and moved to a place I hated. I worked a job I hated. Nothing was right except those long Friday nights I spent driving up I-55 through the darkness and the moment I fell in bed with you. Those were the times I felt right, felt whole. Careening at breakneck speed through midnight, through 2am, through the bugs and dirt of I-70, and finally into the only place that made me happy. If I didn’t believe in love before that, I was sold then. It didn’t matter I had to leave less than 48 hours later every time. I’d still do it today if I had to.

Most women would’ve left me for pulling out a ring in the middle of a dive bar and proposing marriage, I probably should have checked out and done some proposal ideas to help me plan it better, my mistake! Most women wouldn’t have waited for two years after I popped the question to get married. Most women wouldn’t have put up with everything you’ve endured with me. It’s been clear for so many years that you are not only unlike other women, you’re unlike most people.

No, you’re not perfect. You lose your mind when your hungry, you occasionally go unwound in ways I don’t understand, and you don’t like steak or pork chops. These things notwithstanding, I can’t imagine myself traveling this admittedly odd path with anyone else. Even in your imperfections, I find beauty. Your passion, your patience, and your endurance are hard to fully comprehend. You’ve taken those traits and used them to become the mother that every child wants.

When we had kids, I thought it could drive us to opposite sides of the bed. I thought it might suck the air from our passion for our lives and make us dull. Instead, parenthood as only made me love you more–so much more that I sometimes feel giddy.

Ten years ago, I couldn’t comprehend ten years. I couldn’t imagine being past my mid-30s, a father of two kids, and in an odd job that tonight finds me listening to the street noise of Lima, Peru thousands of miles away from you. At this hour ten years ago, I was sitting in a bar and trying to figure out if I was cut out for marriage. Twenty-four hours later, I was married to you and the happiest man I knew. I’ve remained that way from that day until now.

I don’t know what will happen in the next ten years. I don’t know if life will continue to deal us such a great hand every time. I don’t know if things can stay so perfect. I only know this:

I wouldn’t believe in love if it weren’t for you.

June 3, 2000

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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16 Responses

  1. Karol says:

    This was seriously beautiful.

  2. Polcyn says:

    Funny, I forgot our weddings were a week apart. I’m still glad Trish and I made the trip to Carolina to see you two tie the knot.

    Happy anniversary to you both.

    (Damn, 10 years went fast)

  3. April says:

    Congratulations to you!

  4. The Wife says:

    Sometimes I want to be married to you just so you’ll write me a letter like this.

    Sometimes I wish I was married to her, just because she has the patience of a saint to put up with you, you beautiful oddness, and take care of your family like she does.

    You’re both so fortunate – congratulations!

  5. Congratulations!!! I’m a bit numb after reading this and not sure my words can do justice to your 10 years….thus, happy anniversary!

  6. KenP says:

    LOL! you even filled that with angst. You are the perfect Puritan.

    Relax O! I’m pretty sure she likes you too. The crowd here will testify that she’s not just doing it for the kids.

    Very nice though.

  7. Erika says:

    Yours was a beautiful wedding and everyone fortunate enough to be in attendance knew it would be a beautiful marriage as well. Happy anniversary!

  8. Su says:

    Happy Anniversary you two! Your wedding was one of the most beautiful ones I’ve been to. I can’t believe it’s been 10 years. Oh, how time flies! Love you!

  9. Jen says:

    I’m so lucky to say I was with you guys to celebrate. Ten years roars by so fast. Hugs to both of you as you extend the celebration later into the month.

  10. Drizztdj says:

    No pork chops??!?!?

    Seriously, congrats you two.

  11. trodoss says:


    It was a beautiful wedding, and I was honored to be there for it 😉

    You have (at least) two great women in your life–Your awe-inspiring mom and equally awe-inspiring wife.

  12. change100 says:

    Tears in eyes….our fifth is next February and Jesus Christ is the bar set high now.

    Congratulations to both of you. Hope you are well, my friends.

  13. 23skidoo says:

    That’s a sweet post otis.

    To paraphrase a quote; ‘I think Mrs. Otis and Mrs. Skidoo should get together and go bowling’ It’s a good thing to know there’s that much awesomeness so close.

    Here’s to the next ten.

  14. Helene says:

    I found your blog quite by accident, but I just wanted to tell you that this was one of the most beautiful declarations of love I’ve ever read, and I’m an incurable bookworm, so that’s saying something. More over, you’ve almost made a believer out of me, maybe the “love conquers all” concept, isn’t so absurd after all.. Thank you for making my day a little bit brighter..

  15. freddy says:

    Oh, how difficult it is to open up and let your heart open out to your dear one and pour everything inside of it…

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