Tomorrow I am celebrating a true milestone in my life, and the life of another. My amazing wife Debbie and I will have been married 25 years !! It’s incredible to think that we have literally been married for half of our lives (so far).
So, if you will allow me, I’d like to step away from penning an HR post to share our story . . .
I moved to Cincinnati back in 1986 after graduating from Ohio University. I only knew a small handful of people in town and had no social circle. One day at work a flyer came across my desk for Young Friends of the Zoo. This was a group of young adults from all over Greater Cincinnati that met to volunteer at the world famous Cincinnati Zoo. It sounded interesting so I gave it a try.
At the first meeting I attended, the leaders of the meeting were looking for a Chair for the Beastly Ball – the group’s largest fundraiser. I have never been one to shy away from things, so I volunteered to chair the event. The group was a bit shocked I stepped up without being “known,” but they gave me a shot. The Ball was a huge costume party and we transformed an empty warehouse into an Egyptian tomb.
Every meeting I stood up and introduced myself, “Hi, I’m Steve Browne, chair of the Beastly Ball. I need your help to make this happen and I’ll be around to see all of you during the meeting.” The extrovert in me was glowing, and my future wife would make sure to leave the meeting or shuffle around so as to not meet me on purpose. She thought that I was too over the top and brash to want to intentionally meet everyone.
We had several work nights to make the decorations for the Egyptian tomb, and Debbie was there every time. One night she came over to me (after having avoided me for months mind you) and she asked what I was doing that weekend. I said, “Nothing.” (because I’ve always been good with words). And she responded with the best line of all time – “Want to do nothing together?” I was floored and said, “YES !!” immediately.
Our first date was a movie, The Princess Bride. We had no idea that we were seeing a movie about true love and saw this merely as a first date. In this classic film, the main character Wesley, always responds to Princess Buttercup with “as you wish” regardless of what she asks. We loved every moment of the movie and felt connected from that point on.
Fast forward about one year and Debbie and I were going to the monthly Young Friends of the Zoo meeting yet again. I asked her to come a little early and meet at the King Cheetah area. It was there that I proposed to her because the King Cheetah is one of the few animals who mate for life. It just felt right to do. She fortunately said, “Yes” and here we are 25 years later.
Debbie is the perfect balance for me. She is the organized, introverted, brilliant, loving and sensible side that I lack. I am thankful for every moment that I’ve had with her. She is an amazing wife, mother and partner who stepped out of her comfort zone to connect with me.
We come across people every day who can impact our lives. They may be reaching out to see how they can connect. Are you paying attention to this? You never know, you may find someone who will be with you for the rest of your life !!
So, now, I look forward to what will truly be a new adventure as we move towards our next milestone. We are more of the exception in today’s society by being married for 25 years and I dig that. We have found true love just like the movie and, I get to be Wesley, now and forever, who will look to Debbie to respond “as you wish” !!