"Marriage is an adventure, like going to war." - G.K. Chesterton
Thirty years ago I was standing on Camp Bowie Boulevard in Fort Worth on a Friday night in May in the old Stripling and Cox parking lot when I first met Danae LeMond.
She was a 15-year-old strawberry blonde with a smile the size of Texas. She was not impressed with me at first I would learn, but some efforts from our friends and a month later we were dating.
On another Friday night the next month we kissed behind her house and so began our journey.
We were just kids, but we were always looking down the path. I had plans to host NBC Nightly News and she had plans to escape Fort Worth, Texas. Those plans changed, but we were now on the sojourn together no matter the changes.
Did I know when I met her we were going to get married? Hard to say with time now in the way, but I was a planner. Why she agreed to say yes I still don’t fully understand, but her hand was the greatest gift for my life. I gave her a promise ring in 1989 on a boat dock on Eagle Mountain Lake. She said yes again when I formally asked on Christmas Eve 1991.
She is direct, decisive and determined. She never missed a day of school in her life. She had a full paid scholarship anywhere in the country. She went to college, moved out on her own, worked, and graduated right into her field.
Our driven personalities may have been our demise, but a couple named Don and Helene Staton invested in us and put us on defined a path for life long commitment.
If anyone tells you their marriage is easy, they lie. Dismiss them instantly and never take their advice. If they tell you however that marriage requires more attention and work than anything in their life, listen to them closely.
Over thirty years Danae has shown me a wealth of grace, mercy and forgiveness. She honored me when I deserved none. Encouraged me in my darkest moments. Gave me space when I needed it. If I have done the same, she will have to answer.
We’ve had health scares, not known our future, moments of depression, much uncertainty, not unlike anyone in this life, but together the burdens were much easier to carry.
Every tough moment though is matched by a thousand incredible moments. We like “making love at midnight and getting caught in the rain.”
When we kiss, I am still that 17-year-old boy standing behind her house and just as taken.
We always adventured together since the day we met. We drove our car as far as our gas money would take us in the 80s. We are still adventuring today. Our shared experiences are countless: from the birth of the kids, quiet Sunday afternoons, the wilderness of the American West, the evening bells of Europe, the terrible twos, listening to Buffet on the beaches of the Caribbean, homeschool, to getting lost on purpose in Alaska’s largest park. Too many to recall, but so great when a reflection comes to the mind.
Why have we made it together for thirty years? Christ is the glue. Our vows have meaning. We look at the best in each other and forgive the worse. We invest time into each other. We discovered our shared passions and chase them. We did not give each other the silent treatment. When we disagree we do so with passion as well. We don’t worry about tomorrow. We are committed no matter the obstacles that arise, and as life proves, there are any more to come. We make time for all the relationships in our lives: family, friends, and work. We do not hold the other back, but encourage each other to rightly pursue our visions.
We’ll start our 30th trip around the sun together next month under the lights of Paris - A fitting city for love and romance. “He who contemplates the depths of Paris grows giddy,” wrote Victor Hugo. I can only hope fro thirty more years.