“I am prepared to offer you three camels, 50 goats, and 100 sheep for your daughter.”

That was how my new fiancé chose to break the news of our engagement to my parents. My dad laughed in appreciation of the joke.

Mom managed a wan smile. It was mid-December. Ed and I had met that September, and hadn’t started dating until November. A mere six weeks later, here we were, announcing to my family that we had decided to get married.

No way, I had always told myself, will I make such an important, life-changing decision without prolonged, careful and logical analysis. Yeah, right. Our first date was at a restaurant in Portland, where we had lunch together. I hardly knew him.

“So, Ed, tell me about yourself.”

“I don’t want you to have any illusions about me.” He then outlined his life to me, including a past divorce, with humble honesty. Perhaps it was that honesty, or the kindness in his face and eyes. Whatever it was, before he finished his story, I already knew. This is my husband. I’m sitting here munching a (messy) sandwich with the man I’ll spend the rest of my life with. How crazy is this? I don’t understand why or how I know, but I’m going to marry this man.

Dad was happy. He liked Ed. Mom accepted the news, but a few days later she felt the need to take me aside.

“What do you want to get married for?”

Before my dad had come along, my mom’s life with each of her previous two husbands had been, at times, terrible.

“Because we love each other, and we want to spend our lives together.”

“Marriage isn’t as wonderful as you think,” she responded. “You’ll be sorry if you do. You’ll wish you hadn’t.”

“Come on, Mom. I know what I’m doing. I’m not a kid, and neither is Ed. We know what we want.”

After a few more back-and-forths, she saw that I would not be deterred.

“Well,” she finished up with grim foreboding, “just remember that he’s only a man, so don’t expect too much.”

She was dead serious. It was undoubtedly meant to be her best advice to me. When I shared her advice with Ed later that day, however, we – wicked, ungrateful creatures that we were – couldn’t contain our howls of laughter!

I usually listened to Mom, and often heeded her advice, but in this case, I didn’t. I was sure she was wrong. Ed and I got married five months later.

How did it turn out? Twenty-five years later, we are still on our honeymoon. I am his best friend, and he is mine. Dad has since passed away, but he liked Ed right to the end. In time, Mom learned to like Ed, too. I have no regrets.

Just because someone gives you their best advice doesn’t always mean you have to take it, right?

 

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