When I got married, I was eighteen. We didn’t have jobs, and we couldn’t afford to rent our own place. But we got married, anyway. Some guys might call me crazy for this, and say that I was too young to know what I wanted. Sometimes you hear men say that marriage is nothing but a way to get men into legal slavery, so the longer you can hold off on tying yourself to marriage, they say, the better. But for me, the day that I married Tonya was the day that I married my other half, teammate, and best friend. And that reality, I’d argue, makes all the difference.
Other half. When I’m not with her I can feel something missing. I think about her day and night. I dread going to work because I have to leave her, and I can’t wait to clock out so I can come home and see her. We are two completely different people, yet I feel as if we are one. We can tell what the other person is thinking before anything is said. She knows what I’m going to do before I even do it. Also, I can feel her emotion. When she is happy, I feel happy. And when she is upset, I feel upset. When she smiles, I smile.
It’s not that every day is sunshine. We argue just like every other couple, but by the end of the day we have sorted out our problems. We refuse to let little things that life brings us get in the middle of our relationship, and we try not to take out our anger and aggravation on the other person.
Teammate. Just like any team, if one person doesn’t do their job or part, it upsets everything. We both have to be on the same page at all times. As the parents of three beautiful children, this is really important to us. We try not to make any important decisions without consulting one another. Before we make any decisions or choices we have to think about how it is going to affect the other person. How is it going to make her feel? What will she think?
Also, like any team, we have a plan, a playbook. Our playbook describes the way we would like things to go so we can make it through the day. Of course, we all know that life has its own little way of messing things up sometimes, and when that happens you have to be able to come together and come up with a back-up plan that makes you both happy. You have to be able to talk to each other and compromise, you have to keep an open mind and heart.
Best friend. She’s the best friend I could ever have and will ever have. Like any best friend, she keeps my head straight. She calms me down when I’m angry and tries to talk some sense into me. For example, one time I came home and all the furniture was moved around and rearranged. For some reason it made me mad. I started an argument about how things were fine the way they were, don’t fix things that aren’t broken. She explained to me that if I just gave it some time I would get used to it. And sure enough, after a day or two I noticed that the way things were placed was more convenient.
And like any friend, she puts up with me. I’m not always the easiest person to live with: Just like any person, I have my own way of doing things, and she doesn’t always agree with it.
She also has the ability to put up with my odd sense of humor, which is not easy to do. She accepts me for who I am and loves me for who I am, good and bad. And I love her for who she is, good and bad.
So was I crazy for getting married so young?
Well, I could tell that Tonya was becoming all of the above: my other half, my teammate, my best friend. And after six years of marriage, that is even truer: I fall more in love with her every day. I truly believe that there is no other woman out there that I’d rather be with. I know that there is nothing in this world that I wouldn’t do for her, to make her feel happy. You can call that slavery if you want. But I’ll just keep smiling and laughing and making sense of this crazy life with the woman I promised to always love and cherish.