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Did I Just Say “I Love You”?!

February 11, 2011

When I was just 18 years old and in high school, I’d dated a few girls but never said “I love you” to any of them.  I thought those words were special and were to be saved for my someone special.

Then I met Mary Jo.  She was pretty, talkative, funny and outgoing.  After a couple meetings, we met again at a local dance.  After the dance I asked if she could use a ride home.  During a passionate good night kiss I heard myself say, “I love you.” She responded with a simple, non-committal, “You’re sweet.”

During my drive home, I asked myself, “What did I say?!?  Why did I say it?”  I didn’t know her very long or very well and the special words that were meant for my someone special just came out.  Did she even really like me by only responding, “You’re sweet”?  Was it just the moment? Was it just infatuation? Why?  Was there something really there that made me instinctively say, “I love you”?

During the next few months, we also dated other people, but finally we only dated each other.   I was now in college but I couldn’t wait to come home most weekends to see her. I got to know her values, her attitudes and her family until, instead of referring to us as Mary Jo and me, it just became we.

We knew we were in love and we thought we knew each other, so after dating for about 4 years we made the commitment. We got married in December during my last year of college.

Only then, with each new change and pressure in life did we really get to know each other. We were newly married, moving from home, dealing with school pressures, going through the birth of premature twins and starting new jobs.   It was not always happily ever after but we had made the commitment to love each other.  We enjoyed the good times and overcame the bad by compromising, giving in to each other, working together and supporting each other.  Now we both know that marriage isn’t only about feeling you’re in love but a commitment and decision to love and to communicate with each other.   I still need to get better on the communication part.

We’ve now been married 38 years and have 4 children with spouses and a tenth grandchild on the way. With life’s changes we are still getting to learn more about each other. We may not always be happily married but I am always happy to be married to my someone special. We really enjoy the good times and support and help each other through the bad.

I don’t remember the second time that I told Mary Jo, “I love you.”  I’m just happy that I did say it the first time to the person that became my someone special.

Dave Enneking

Media & Outreach Supervisor

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