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"And no one should separate a couple that God has joined together."
I was fourteen-years-old when I met my husband.
Actually, it was just a few months away from my fourteenth birthday when I first noticed my new neighbor playing basketball with his cousin. That is when I turned to my best friend at the time, who was then, only twelve-years-old and said to her, "I'm going to marry that guy someday."
How can a girl of only thirteen know in her heart of hearts, without any shadow of a doubt, that the perfect stranger she is beholding is her future husband? I was seriously having a Laura Ingalls moment -- at long last, I had found my "Manly!"
That is when my friend retorted, "Well, what if he wants me instead?" I just looked at her and laughed. The words that fell from my lips in response to her were less than becoming of a young lady, so, I won't repeat them here. But I can tell you this, they weren't very pretty, or even Laura Ingalls-like.
From that moment, the chase was on. I was head-over-heals-in-love. And I was going to get my "Manly". Umm... I mean, my man!
Nothing was going to stop me. Not even a language barrier. Though he spoke no English, and I hardly spoke a word of Spanish, I was determined to make him mine.
I did everything I could to get his attention, from dressing far sexier than any thirteen-year-old girl should, to striking ultra sexy Madonna-like poses whenever he'd walk by.
A few weeks later while waiting to catch the bus for school my handsome new neighbor approached me and introduced himself. My heart was aflutter, and I wondered if he noticed me blush.
Our introduction was pretty basic. No fireworks. No circus show. Not even a cupid with his bow. But it was magical nonetheless.
How it really went down.
How I felt when he uttered his name...
As the weeks went by, my beloved "Manly's" cousin was kind and generous to bring over some baby clothes to give to my cousins whom my mother and I babysat almost daily.
Christmas day 1993, is a day that I will never forget. This was the day that my "Manly" would become mine. I prayed and I prayed. Then, I devised a plan. I went down the street to the local convenience store and bought a lovely "Thank you" card written in Spanish, and a single yellow rose. I came home, tucked that card and rose into his newspaper box, knocked on the door, and ran inside my apartment.
You must be thinking, "Girl, you are totally nuts!"
And you'd be right to think that.
I am totally nuts, and just a little devious too! 😉
Why I will never forget Christmas day, 1993.
It is the day that my beloved husband confessed his undying love for me with a beautiful drawing of God's hands putting a broken heart back together drawn on a sheet of yellow legal paper. On the bottom of the page was a beautiful rose and scroll drawn. On that little scroll, the sweet words, "Dearest Clara, I think this can be the start of a beautiful relationship," were written. Though I no longer have that sweet confession of love, I will forever remember the way my heart fluttered in my chest like butterflies dancing and swirling about, when I first read those beautiful words. With that precious note of love, he gave me a beautiful amethyst necklace with a little man hugging it. Then he left.
Wait a minute! He did what???
That's right. My "Manly" left for a party!
More than just a little perturbed by this, like a typical fourteen-year-old girl in love, I waited up for him to come home. I literally stared out the window four hours waiting for him to come home. When he finally came back, I went outside to meet him. I was cold, shaking and could hardly speak. So I handed him a small pink teddy bear that held a tiny heart with the words, "I love you" inscribed. Then he kissed me goodnight before we each turned in to our apartments for the night.
How it really happened.
How I felt.
Our relationship moved at lightning speed.
The very next day, my sweet "Manly" asked me to come to his room. Shocked, crushed by his request, and afraid, I explained to him that I was not ready and wanted to wait. I told him about the abuse I had endured, and that I was afraid.
However, it wasn't long before I decided to give into to his request. Only two short weeks into our budding relationship, I gave him my virginity. In my naivety, I reasoned that since he was a gift to me from God, that it would somehow be okay in the eyes of God. However, this just isn't so.
It wasn't long after sacrificing my virginity, things started to change.
My beloved "Manly" didn't seem to love me at all. Or at least that is what the Enemy of my soul whispered in my ear each time he would break up with me.
"Manly" had a problem. One that he couldn't hide. Each time he would break up with me, he would come back home drunk, begging me to take him back. This would happen two or three times each week. And one night, he came home high on cocaine.
I didn't know what to do. I loved him and cared for him immensely. I wanted him to love me too. I feared for him and wanted desperately to help him, somehow. So, I always took him back.
NOTE: Even though I have never called my beloved husband "Manly", my husband and I both LOVE Little House on the Prairie. I feel that the love story between Laura Ingalls and her beloved "Manly" accurately portrays the feelings that I experienced in my own love story of how a thirteen-year-old girl had fallen desperately in love and her sheer determination would cause her to stop at absolutely NOTHING to get her "Manly". Umm... I mean, man! ;)