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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, August 31, 2004


It's about finding the Right One

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By Christie Wilson
Advertiser Staff Writer

During my morning walk in the park, I always see this same elderly couple. The wife is hunched over, intently pushing a walker with wheels, while her husband, who is pretty buff for his age, zig-zags at a faster pace in front of her or circles around so he doesn't get too far ahead.

It's just about the most precious thing I've ever seen.

Of course, I don't know these people. Maybe they've stuck it out all these years from sheer orneriness. Maybe the woman is trying her darnedest to trip him up and collect on the insurance while he daydreams about sprinting ahead to catch up with the cute lady walking the terrier.

But from the outside, they make a heart-warming snapshot.

What a comfort it must be to have someone with whom to share your later years, the years when you know what counts and can appreciate the small, quiet moments in life.

We're not quite hunched over yet, but this week my husband and I celebrate our 25th anniversary.

Well, officially it's our 18th wedding anniversary, but we shacked up for seven years before finally tying the knot.

I was the one who resisted getting married even though we shared a home, bank accounts and just about everything else. Then one day, it all became crystal clear to me: What was I waiting for? If he wasn't the one, then I was wasting my time and his.

Yet, the thought of life without him was inconceivable, so I proposed.

At age 30, I also was ready to have children, and there was no way I was going to do that without marriage first.

Cohabitation or not, this is where I'm old-fashioned. Sure, accidents happen, but couples who are not ready to commit to marriage certainly are not ready to make the biggest commitment of all, having a child together.

Once we agreed to marry, I was surprised at the immediate sense of relief that swept over me. It was like, "Whew, that major decision is out of the way. Now I can get on with the rest of my life."

I also remember thinking that this was the guy I wanted to grow old with, the guy I wanted to have zig-zagging in front my walker with wheels.

So far, so good.

Marriage is a work in progress, right up to the "til death do you part" bit. You have to find what works for your dynamic as a couple and be ready to rework it all over again when faced with the roller-coaster challenges of jobs, money, kids and family.

What works for us, at this point in our lives, is that we've learned to accept each other "as is," as they say in the used-car trade. We don't waste time and psychic energy on the minor dings and scratches that have nothing to do with how the engine runs, and we keep up with maintenance.

I guess that seven-year test drive paid off.

Reach Christie Wilson at cwilson@honoluluadvertiser.com or (808) 244-4880.