That was me…right after I heard those words from the very deep voice of Reverend Duane J. Rice stating that I am now a married man. And that girl you see right there next to me…was now…my bride.
That day…was 17 years ago, today.
You know, it seriously just seems like yesterday we were teenagers (man how time passes quickly)…where I chased her all over the place, taking every free moment I had to drive up to St. Charles just so I could be with that beautiful blonde bombshell I loved to call ‘Mis’. It’s hard to describe how crazy I was over her. You can ask the friends I had then…I was mad for this girl. If I spent the night at a friends house…I would pull out a framed picture of her, prop it up next to my bed and stare at it before I fell asleep. Ok, typing that kind of sounds a little ‘stalker-ish’ now…but then it seemed completely normal as it was just another way I could see her. When we started dating in April of 1994 – I may have been only 15 years old – but dude…I KNEW this was the girl I would one day marry. I would dream about it…she was perfect in every way and even at the age of 16 years old – her love for her God was something I looked up to and respected more than anyone I knew.
When our relationship grew to the point where we both knew we were ready to get married, I cannot even attempt to write about the enthusiasm I had in my heart. I’m not sure if I can say my father-in-law shared that same feeling as we were only 18 years old. LOL!
When I asked his blessing, his response was simply looking at me for a solid 2 minutes without saying a word, he then looked down at the ground and muttered ‘I’ll pray about it.’
Two months later – I guess the Lord FINALLY spoke to him (I would check in every couple of weeks or so to see if God ‘spoke’ to him yet, and his response was every time, ‘still praying’). But like I said, 2 months later – He shook my hand and I received that blessing from a man who would end up becoming one of the greatest people I have the honor of knowing today.
To experience that wedding ceremony…on that cold December night at Harvester Church of the Nazarene…was complete bliss for me. This girl I was ‘gaga’ over…was actually going to be my wife. I’ll never forget seeing her come down that aisle…I’ll never forget the tears that started to well up in my eyes as I was in awe of the beauty, both inside and out…that was approaching me toward that stage. I get to be HER husband.
It’s been 17 years since that night. And I gotta tell you – they have been the most incredible years of my life. I know preachers are known to exaggerate to make a point, but hear my heart, this is no exaggeration. I’m telling you…my marriage today is as fresh as it was the first night it began. The love I have for her STILL makes me tear up. The beauty she possesses STILL has me staring at her (in a non-stalker way). The love she has for her God is STILL something I am trying to possess in my own life and am trying to chase down for myself…she is the greatest person I know. She is STILL the wife of my dreams. She is the mother of our two incredible boys, who have no idea now…but the example she is setting for them will no doubt bless their lives in providing a standard they will seek when they become men seeking their wives one day.
She is Melissa Kay Quiroz, and I am so very proud to STILL call her my bride.
Happy Anniversary Mis. Thank you for choosing me. Here’s to another 17 years…