My story is not a fairy tale romance. I had my fair share of dates growing up, but I always seemed to pick losers of one type or another. Eventually, all of my friends got married and started their families. I was always included in their outings, but I felt like a third wheel, and some of them were even a little afraid of having a single woman near their husbands. I was stuck in a rut and I knew that my biological clock was ticking away quickly. In my twenties, I was told that because of numerous back operations, it wasn’t likely that I would be able to carry a child to term, so I stopped looking for a husband and resigned myself to growing old—alone. Boy, was I wrong!
It was 1984. I was thirty-six years old and single, with no kids, no siblings, and no steady boyfriend. My mother was in the hospital, dying of cancer. I went to visit her just before she fell into a coma and an old friend of ours was there visiting her, but he left when I arrived. During our visit, my mother said to me, “That man loves you, and I would be more than proud to have him as a son-in-law. I know that he could never hurt you, and I could die knowing that he was there for you.” Well, he was like an older brother to me and I had no romantic notions about him. Plus, he was a married man. I told my mother this, and her reply was, “He is not happy!” He had always felt close to my mother, and he had told her that he had been pressured into marriage to a woman who he had never loved and was getting a divorce. That was one of the last conversations my mother and I were able to have before she lapsed into the coma and passed from my life.
Well, I always did what my mother told me to do! She was rarely wrong. She was a very smart, intelligent, and loving woman, who would give the shirt off her back or her last penny to help someone in need. Plus, she was also my very best friend. At the time, I was lonely, afraid, and sad about her impending death, so ten months after she passed away, I married the man my mother had picked out for me. I married my best friend, but I didn’t love him at the time. I was always waiting for my toes to curl and my heart to skip a beat when he touched me or was nearby, but it never happened. We were together because we had a lot in common, and were both lonely and hurting.
Now, almost twenty years have passed and we are still together—and in love with each other. Now, my heart does skip a beat when he comes near me and my toes do curl when he kisses me. I’ve realized that a person does not need instant fireworks to have love. Love takes time, commitment, caring, and experience. I guess my mother really did know what was best for me!
—Bev Stephens, Alberta, Canada
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