| posted in: relationships 

In December 1995 my life, my world, was turned upside down. And I have been happy ever since. You see, that December a decade ago I met my future wife online in, of all places, an AOL chat room. One or two online chats quickly grew into a phone call. And that initial phone call blossomed into more calls until we were talking for several hours every day.

She was living in Colorado and I in Illinois so after three months on the phone I traveled to meet her in Colorado Springs. That initial meeting was both terrifying and uplifting. Returning to our separate lives afterward was hard for both of us. Our daily phone conversations expanded to multiple calls a day, and by mid-summer we were ready to see each other again. Since neither of us could afford the plane trip we agreed to meet in Salina Kansas, which was almost perfectly halfway between us. The motel was old, and bed painfully swaybacked but we had fun for three days getting to know each other even better.

It would be November before we saw each other again. Our relationship had deepened, and we were both thinking about living closer to the other. Michele’s job was in jeopardy as the psychiatric hospital she worked for was going out of business. The November weekend we spent together in Salina was when we both realized that being together was what we wanted, what we needed.

Michele made the trip to Springfield the first time during a bitter cold, snowy week in January 1997. We had been talking on the phone for a year and we were ready for a life together. Although initially dismayed at the stark flatness of central Illinois after living in Colorado, Michele was ready to leave her crumbling job situation behind and move. I flew to Colorado Springs Valentine’s Day weekend to help her get ready for her move a couple of weeks later. Instead we ended up packing her entire apartment for the movers, and driving back to Illinois together a week early.

We’ve only been apart two nights since, both for employment interviews I had.

Shortly after moving into the duplex where I had been living by myself, Michele and I announced our wedding plans to my family and hers. This coming Tuesday, July 26, 2005, we will have been married for eight years. We have lived in four states, moving as many times, during our marriage. Together we have faced financial hardships, the death of loved ones, and the loss of a cherished pet. We have also laughed and grown, explored our spirituality and come to a greater understanding of who we are as individuals.

Michele once said that marriage is where you resolve the issues from your childhood. I believe that to be true, and I know that we have each grown in our own ways to address those issues. We are happiest when we are at home, together, sharing life.

After ten years of knowing this amazing woman, of learning to see myself through her eyes, of anticipating her smile, of wanting to share all of me with her; after all these years I still can’t wait to be with her at the end of the work day.

Michele, I know we have said this more than once, but I would marry you again in an instant. Honest and for true. You complete me, you provide the light in my life, you allow me to be your hero, and you are my hero when I need one. I am truly the most fortunate man alive in the universe; for I get to share my life with you.

Thank you for being my friend, companion, lover, partner, hero, buddy, and wife.

I lov eyou //\ichele

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.