June 7, 1997
I’ll probably catch hell for this at home, but 20 years ago today my wife and I walked the aisle and said: “I do.” It’s hard to believe that much time has passed, and we’ve actually been together for 25 years, having our first date at the end of our freshman year at Southeast Missouri State University. So to mark the occasion, here are 20 reasons I love my wife, Lisa. I look at them as bragging points which will likely embarrass her, but this comes from the heart.
1. She loves me, even when I’m not the most lovable person. My sleep schedule is not the best in the world and often I’m grumpy due to a lack of z’s. Despite my moodiness, I know Lisa will love me.
Family time at Garden of the Gods
2. Lisa is an amazing mother. We were married about a year when she talked about starting a family. We got a dog instead and delayed the family building for about six months. She stayed home (running an at-home daycare) when our boys were small and up until our daughter started school. That time she spent with them has molded them into three pretty outstanding young people (if I do say so myself).
3. She’s a straight shooter. We don’t sugarcoat anything, even with our kids. If they have questions about things, we answer them as directly and honestly as possible. We were never parents who said “weenie” or “private parts.” We speak pretty bluntly here, which can sometimes sound crude, but I think our kids appreciate the real talk.
4. Right before our daughter started kindergarten, Lisa decided to go back to school and get her Masters. She worked hard balancing school work, internships and raising a family. I’m proud of the career she’s chosen as a behavior analyst and the differences she’s making in people’s lives (and our family).
Four families, one pic
5. She loves my parents unconditionally. I know not all in-laws get along, I’m happy that our families do.
6. She has helped two other families welcome children into the world. Lisa “rented her womb” and served as a surrogate. In 2009 she delivered a healthy baby boy and 18 months later she had twins (a boy and girl). You can read the reasons behind the decision here.
7. Lisa has pushed me to strive for better things for myself. When I first started looking for a job in TV news, I struck out more times than any Cubs team prior to 2016. There was a point I was ready to throw in the towel and pursue a different career option. But Lisa pushed (sometimes nagged, okay I’m kidding) to keep moving forward. A couple months later I landed my first job.
8. That job included a move to Alabama (from St. Louis) and a cut in pay. I was actually making more at the part-time job I had at the time. The hours sucked; I worked holidays and I had to go out and buy a new wardrobe. She never complained and only continued to motivate me to do my best as my dream of becoming a TV journalist came true.
9. She’s had my back with all of our moves. Southern Illinois is actually the third stop on the path (and probably the last). We lived in Alabama for almost 18 months and then Indiana for four years. We rooted ourselves in southern Illinois 13 and a half years ago. Lisa hasn’t complained once about the moves.
She’s cool with my crazy Opposuits and other nerd things
10. She supports my wrestling habit, craft beer drinking and odd suit wearing. She joked with my buddy Tom Harness recently telling him “you’re better than heroin.” I know I probably embarrass her with my antics sometimes, but the fact that she has my back every step of the way is an awesome feeling. In fact, she’s encouraged me to add more Opposuits/Shinesty suits to my wardrobe.
11. More on the wrestling thing, the first time I wanted to go to WrestleMania with my friend Chad Smart. The price tag was going to be about $1,200 and I knew it would be a hard sell. But to my surprise, Lisa agreed to it. I remember walking into the All-State Arena that night and telling myself to soak it all in because it was a once in a lifetime opportunity. But Lisa is cool and I’ve been on my bromance trip to WrestleMania a total of nine times. Also back in the early days when I had no friends who liked wrestling, Lisa attended multiple live events with me.
12. Lisa is the handy one around the house. She and my dad have done more home improvement projects together than I’ve even thought about doing. So yeah, take my Man Card.
13. In addition to the handy work, she handles 95% (probably more) of the budgeting and bill paying. The more I think about what she does, the more of a slacker I’m learning I am.
Skiing in Michigan
14. She’s up for adventures. I’m pretty plain in terms of my travel ideas. I’d be content going to Disney World or the short trek to Holiday World for vacation. But Lisa has planned out several memorable outings, including a trip to Mexico for the two of us to celebrate 10 years of marriage and a family ski trip to Michigan last year. Despite my fear of skiing, I really did have a good time. While I’m not ready to sign up for another round on the slopes, I have no doubt we will once again be swooshing down the hills in the future. Also when she worked as a tax preparer at night and on weekends years ago, she earned a trip to Branson for our family. We had a blast at Silver Dollar City and the other parts of the city.
15. Despite my opposition, she pushed for us to buy our boat 10 years ago. I’m not an outdoorsy or water person, but Lisa grew up on the lake, so I played along. Boat ownership isn’t all that bad, even for a land loving guy like me. Having it and getting to take the kids to different places around southern Illinois and western Kentucky has helped us bond. I’m fortunate we both have careers that have allowed us to participate in these kinds of activities. If it weren’t for Lisa’s love of water this would have been an opportunity our kids would have missed out on.
A stranger Halloween
16. Halloween! From getting in trouble in the dorms in 1992 (I’ll tell that story another time) to this past year as the characters from Stranger Things, we love dressing up for Halloween and getting into the spirit. For years we also had a New Year’s Eve party and each one had a theme. We dressed up like Han Solo and Princess Leia, Juno and Bleeker and Minnie Pearl & Larry the Cable Guy. Fun times for sure.
17. In 2009 when the iPhone was relatively new, I wanted one really bad. I’d never had my own cell phone and one day I got an email at work with the subject line “This is coming from your new iPhone.” She went out and bought me a phone, starting my addiction to Apple products.
18. When I started running a few years ago, Lisa laced up and joined in. We made it a family affair, running a few 5Ks together. Our schedules don’t allow it as much, but we still sometimes run together, but it’s something I’d like to do more.
19. And with the running, she surprised me in 2015 when she got up with me the morning of my first marathon. She informed me she was coming along to cheer. It blew me away. Lisa waited the 4 hours and 35 minutes it took me to finish the race. She positioned herself in several spots along the course and motivated me to keep moving. I cried at one of the stops because I was fatigued and so grateful that someone cared enough to spend most of a Saturday morning standing in the rain and cheer for me.
20. Thinking back to our wedding day 20 years ago, I wanted a few things that many women would probably cringe at. I wanted to wear a Mickey Mouse bowtie and vest with my tuxedo, I wanted to come to the aisle via zip line (like Shawn Michaels did at WrestleMania 12) and I wanted Ric Flair’s theme song 2001: A Space Odessy played when we entered the reception. I got two out of the three. I really knew the zip line wasn’t going to happen, but I shot for the stars.
It’s been an incredible 20 years as husband and wife. I couldn’t have picked a more quality human being to spend the rest of my life with. It’s been a quarter-century since that first date in May 1992 and we’ve been together ever since. Lisa, I love you more than you’ll ever know. Thanks for everything and I hope this post isn’t too over the top for you.
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