I feel a bit strange doing this one. I’ve promised to show her before I hit Publish because I don’t want to embarrass her. I struggled with thinking about what I was going to write and then it came to me.
When I popped the question (all the way back in 2011) as we bobbed up and down in the sea off Juan Les Pins in the South of France, I knew I’d picked a great location. I had a nice plastic ring with a massive stone, I had a proper ring box to keep it in, I had the great weather and a lovely, exotic location. What I didn’t have was the words. I blurted out the question after very little in the way of preamble.
“Will you marry me?”
Luckily, everything else worked in my favour and I got the answer I was hoping for. Here we are about to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary and all’s well that ends well, etc.
However, I’ve always felt that I should have said a bit more at the time. Maybe I’m just better at writing stuff down than saying it out loud. Is there a difference? The words come from me regardless of how they are conveyed. So, that’s what I decided to do with this post. It comes about six years late, but it’s always been true and I’m sure I’ve already told her in bits and pieces as we’ve made our way through the journey that is ‘marriage’.
So, if I could Marty McFly my way back to the summer of 2011, I think this is what I would say to my girlfriend, Serena. She who is now my wife of five years and the mother of our son.
“You don’t complete me. You’re not my other half and I’m not yours. We’re both whole people and we both have goals and dreams that are our own and not tied to each other’s.
What you are is a magical person who makes me feel like it’s OK to be me; like Richard Austin is someone worth being around. At the same time, you make me want to be more than I am; a fine feeling of aspiration like I’m worth some of the praise I get and that if I try hard enough, I might just be everything I’m capable of being and more.
You give me encouragement when I’m feeling down and you keep my feet on the ground when I’m floating away. You’ve unlocked a place deep inside of me that was never before accessible to anyone. Marriage and relationships, I’ve discovered, are rarely easy and require lots of work. The truth that I have fallen upon, however, is that the work is the enjoyable part of the whole thing. Like most other things in life, you get out what you put in. I’m so proud that we make such a great pair and that we share out the things that need to be done so well. We pick up the slack for each other and always have each other’s backs. That doesn’t sound very romantic but then romance is a lot easier when you feel like you’re on an equal footing. As the cabbie said to us in Delhi, ours is a ‘love marriage’
I never thought that I would find happiness the way I have with you. Your playful and adventurous spirit and your desire to always see what’s round the next corner has always been the kickstart that I needed to plunge myself into new experiences. I know that I move like a glacier at times when it comes to change and this must be frustrating for you. On our honeymoon, when we went to Ile au Cerfs in Mauritius, I would have been happy to sit down on the first beach we came to. You pulled me on and on until we found the perfect, empty stretch of sand that looked like it had been reserved for us. You always want the best and it’s what you deserve.
That’s you, my love. Whether you’ve got a lemur on your head…
or you’re taking some guy’s guitar who you’ve never met and playing Tracy Chapman for him and his mate.
That’s who you are. You see the best in everyone and you make me see it too. You’re a beautiful whirlwind who never fails to reach out for opportunities to have fun and do things that make a difference to the world.
At the end of our first date, the 5th October 2009, when you went to leave and we shared a hug, I knew there was something special about you. I felt it that moment and I feel it still, every time we hold hands or dance in the kitchen. Every time we put our arms around each other. Every time I write a chapter of my book, I feel the warmth of your encouragement in me. We’ve climbed mountains, dived into the ocean after dolphins (you being so much more successful in that than I was); we’ve taken a toddler on a transatlantic flight!! We’ve done these things together and I’m immeasurably richer for being with you in these moments.
I love you with a depth and strength that I cannot adequately express in words, except to say that the feeling itself seeps into the core of who I am and enhances even the most mundane parts of my existence.
As your husband, I hope I can always be worthy of the special love that you give. I hope I can be a rock for you as you are for me, helping each other raise our son in an atmosphere of love, mutual respect and trust. I hope he will one day grow up to find a relationship like ours where each person is an equal partner.
I hope we will always dance together, sing together, be silly together and face hard times together. The journey I am on is so much sweeter because I travel with you.
Well, that’s that. I’ll see what she thinks tomorrow (I think that’s fair that I tell her all this stuff before I tell the whole world) and then post it after.
Thanks for reading,
I’m reaching the end of my A to Z Challenge now. Just 7 more letters to go. I’m enjoying the process of laying myself out for everyone to see. It’s a very therapeutic experience. If you want to read more, then please check out my other posts in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge