A Wedding Anniversary, a Thank You and How Romantic Life Mimics Romantic Art

July 21, 2011

Sixteen years ago today I married my high school sweetheart. I still laugh to think we ended up together, because through three and a half years of high school I pegged him as an arrogant jock. It’s funny how things changed during one car ride home from school.

Back then, few kids had access to cars during the day, so if you knew somebody who had wheels, you treated the vehicle like a clown car and piled full, riding all the way home in discomfort. (At least it saved you the discomfort of riding the bus.) Packed in the backseat of a Geo Tracker, I was forced to listen to this arrogant jock tell jokes and, heaven help me, I had an up-close view of his beautiful smile.

When it was my turn to be dropped off, I remember pushing through the back screen door feeling like I’d been punched in the gut. It hurt to breath. My eyes burned and my head pounded right along with the heart in my chest. (My journal stands as proof.)

You see, the game had changed. And my life has never been the same.

I’m not sure what this point is called in a plot. (As a pantser turned plotter, I’m still learning the lingo.) What I do know is that in many romance novels the heroine has a similar experience. From Page One, for or one reason or another, she thinks the hero is a jerk, and she tries to ignore him religiously. If she can’t ignore him, she treats him with disdain and even humiliates him. But then in what seems like a single moment of clarity, everything changes. He’s smarter than she thought. Funnier. He’s better looking too. Or if she thought he was good looking to begin with, she notices something endearing like a dimple or his high-voltage smile.

I asked my husband if he had a similar moment with me, and he says he can’t remember. Maybe guys don’t think like that. Heck, maybe non-romance writers don’t think like that either. But the more I think about it, the more I see how life imitates art.

We’re living our happily ever after now, but our romance had its “rug pull”—when I overheard him talking to a friend about a girl he met over the summer, causing us to have our first real fight and question how serious we wanted to be—and “catastrophe”—when he accepted a scholarship to play baseball far away from me, causing us to choose between the doomed long-distance relationship or the pain of breaking up before he left.

I’ve heard people trash romance novels as unrealistic and as irresponsible because they set women up for lives filled with disappointment—real romances aren’t like the romances in fiction books. I disagree. Unless you’re reading a pirate, bodice-ripper from the 1970s, today’s romance novels can be downright autobiographical—all the better if you’re a showgirl or you’re married to a sheik or you’re the wedding planner to the stars. *grin*

Seriously, though, romance is a gift. On my sixteenth anniversary, I’d like to thank my husband for twenty years of heart palpitations and mind-numbing kisses, and I’d like to thank the authors of romance novels around the world who taught me a love like this was possible.


8 Responses to “A Wedding Anniversary, a Thank You and How Romantic Life Mimics Romantic Art”

  1. Joanne Robinson Says:

    I saw my O.H., and thought he was so up himself.. then I spied his tight butt, THEN… Oh then….
    Well I found out he was 3 1/2 years younger than me (not done so much all those years ago.)
    But hey he saw something in me (maybe because I was one of the few people who knew where his home village was) took a chance on an older (SShhh Hanging in by the scrap of her teeth to a terrible marriage with a 5 year old) woman… and here we are married over 26 years, 2 more kids and happy. Yeah ups and downs … when he gave someone a new years kiss, i er tapped them on the shoulder and said that was enough!!!, when we were short of money, and the kids needed stuff… the usual! But deep down theres a love that overcomes everything. I look at him, and think Ah now THATS what a relationship is all about!!

    • Elley Says:

      I love this story, Joanne. It demonstrates exactly what I mean about romance novels portraying real life romances. Neither is perfect. Sometimes the heroine already has a child. Gasp! Sometimes she’s even married when she meets the hero. Double gasp! But that’s life. And the beauty of it is that perfect isn’t a requirement for happily ever after anymore. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing.


  2. Aww Elley, you made me sniff in a good way, reading that and Happy Anniversary to you and your lovely husband 🙂

    I love hearing how other happy couples found each other. Each story is so unique, yet with a familiar ring to it. Knowing that this is ‘the one’ and your life is about to change forever.

    My lovely hubbie and I will be celebrating our 22nd wedding anniversary on August 10th, which is also Baby Markus’ due date. 🙂 It would be quite fitting really, if our last baby was born on our wedding anniversary. I was pregnant on our first anniversary, lol.

    Hubbie and I met on a blind date and I was halfway in love with his sexy telephone voice by the time we met up. Unfortunately the six foot something, handsome, dark hunk that I was imagining to go with that to die for voice turned out to be a six foot something, geeky stick insect. My face must have been such a picture when I opened that front door.

    He later told me, he thought I was just going to slam the door in his face and run away screaming. Whoops, always did have an expressive face.

    But, by the end of that first date my sides hurt from laughing so much and we just clicked. I tried my darnedest to not see him again, but he is nothing if not persistent and as he made up his mind there and then that I was ‘the one’ I never stood a chance. We were engaged three weeks later, married one and half years after that first telephone call at the tender age of 21 and 23. Two years later we were parents and my geeky stick insect grew into the tall hunk of my imaginings 🙂

    Certainly sounds familiar to many a romance novel!

    Enjoy your day Elley.

    • Elley Says:

      How wonderful! I adore how this due date acts as an almost validation of your love story.

      You enjoy your day, too, Doris. I’m reading your blog on the edge of my seat each day wondering if Markus will arrive early. Those blessed days of nursing and snuggling with a newborn are so yummy.


  3. taristhread Says:

    Happy Anniversary Elley!! Hope you two have something special planned.

    And….I totally agree, art imitates life. I’ll tell my story later, although I feel that I have already.

    Romance really is a gift, and those of us who have it are so lucky…….

    • Elley Says:

      Thanks, Tari. We have a wonderful evening planned. He made dinner reservations at a new place in town and then we are going to see Bridesmaids. (I like to laugh.) Of course, you already know about my gift. Squee! I’m responding now on my new HP. Like Nicole said, it’s better than flowers.


  4. LD Says:

    Happy anniversary Elley!!!

    Personally, reading romance novels helped me know that a happilly ever after is possible, and I’m glad that I’m living that belief even after 6 years of marriage to a man who swears that it was love at first sight the first day he met me. I believe that cynicism towards romance stories is about the best way one can be set up to fail when it comes to loving relationships with a significant other.

    • Elley Says:

      Thanks, Lara! I couldn’t agree with you more. Your last comment about cynicism towards romantic stories being the best way to fail at relationships is brilliant. Glad we didn’t fall victim to that misery. 🙂


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