VALENTINE'S DAY ESSAY CONTEST WINNERS
Cindy Michael, a marathon runner, says her husband, Doug, is her biggest supporter and is ready at the finish line with water bottle and towel. Mrs. Michael won second place in the Valentine's Day contest. (David E. Dale/Herald)
Growing up together has made life loverlyCindy Michael, Grove City, writing about her husband Doug
WHAT has made our love last? So many thoughts and memories run through my mind. This August my husband, Doug Michael, and I will celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We began dating when we were teen-agers, I 15 and he 16, and married when I was 20. We have truly grown up together!
Looking back over the last 25 years, I realize how truly blessed we have been. In a day and age when so many marriages end in divorce, people still comment on the ``look of love'' that we still have. We have a deep commitment to our marriage and to each other.
This wonderful husband of mine has always been there, not only for me, but for my family. When my Mom needed a place to stay for a while, my husband welcomed her with open arms. When she got her own apartment and was moving out (after three months), he told her that she didn't have to ``rush off'' and meant it.
When my dear, wonderful mother was dying of pancreas cancer four years ago, she told me that my husband was one of the few men in her life that she had ever been able to count on.
After our Mom died and my sister needed a place to live during her final year at college, who opened the doors of our home again? My husband! He proceeded to treat my little sister like the daughter we never had. His kindness, wonderful sense of humor, compassion and generosity toward me and others never ceases to touch my heart.
He cooks and bakes for all of our friends and relatives. He has invited my Mom, sisters, female friends and cousin out to dinner with us for Valentine's Day, their birthdays and other special occasions so they wouldn't spend their special occasion alone.
When I'm training for my marathons, he has cooked gallons of spaghetti sauce and tons of potatoes to supply me with my carbohydrates. After I finished my first marathon, I hobbled back to our hotel room to find a red rose he had gotten me sitting on the dresser to celebrate my accomplishment.
At the end of my races, he is always at the finish line waiting for me with my water bottle and towel. In fact, my whole life he has been there for me, supporting me, encouraging me to reach for goals that I never would have had the courage to try to achieve without him. He has believed in me and made me believe in myself. He had helped me to become a better person with him than I could have without him.
What has made our love last? It's compromise, patience, romance, caring, loving, giving. After 25 years together, he can still make my stomach do flip-flops!
Do we have the ``perfect marriage?'' No, we both have our faults and habits that can drive each other crazy. But it's loving each other in spite of those faults, through good times and bad times, that has made our love last. We have been blessed with something special and we both know it. He is my best friend, my lover, my husband. He is a sweetheart in the truest sense of the word, for this man truly has the sweetest heart I know.