My husband and I were married in November of 1989. I was twenty-two years old and he was twenty-eight. I was a single parent at the time, raising two year old twin boys and had just lost everything I had in a hurricane down in the Caribbean where I Iived.
As a young woman those days, I went through one relationship to another, looking for “Mr. Right” and always found myself in dissolution with every relationship. One day I met someone who was already married and didn’t really care much about being a faithful husband. I was nineteen at the time and although I avoided this man’s persuasion every chance I had him in front on me, one day I said to myself “if I give him what he want, I know he’ll leave me alone”.
Well, I did give him what he wanted but I found myself quickly submerged into an unwanted relationship, and difficult to break away. The relationship lasted about a year and a half, I got pregnant and he had decided to mend his broken marriage for once. At the time he left I didn’t know I was pregnant until three months later. In conclusion, he was afraid to admit they were his and never wanted to do anything with them.
I tried other relationships after that, but now I needed to find a father for my kids, and none of the relationships I tried resulted in anything positive. One day, I got fed up with my last relationship and I said to myself “the next one who wants to be with me, he’s going to have to marry me and the boys and take me out of this island”. Well, about a month later, Hurricane Hugo brought a lot of destruction to the island I was living in, but it also brought my husband.
One day, my husband came to inspect my friend’s home and I happened to be sitting outside, drinking a cup of tea, still in my “nighties”. He told me he asked his guide at the time who I was and lucky for him, the guide knew me and told him “that is Iris”–to what my husband replied “Ooh, Iris’ looking good; that’s my future wife”. I saw him looking at me and I knew he was studying me and I said to myself “Ooh, he better not be looking at me!”
The very next day, I remember I had an argument with my aunt about something and I was really upset. My husband showed up at the door and stated “I’m looking for a guide to help me find these houses; would you be interesting in making a few dollars”? I said to him in a very upset voice “Look, let me tell you something, I have two small kids I need to feed and buy diapers and milk for. I don’t have time to be up and down with you, wasting time”. He said “Well, I’m going to pay you daily and buy you lunch”. I said “well, I need to pay my friend to babysit for me, are you going to take care of that, too?” He said “yes, I will”.
We got in the car, and I took him to his first house. I noticed he really didn’t need a guide or me for that matter, but he said he was going to pay me and I was happy to make a few dollars so I could buy my babies what they needed.
What really attracted me about him was his sweet talk. I immediately responded to that and began to look at him differently. I thought for sure this one, too, will leave and I bet you he’s also married with children somewhere. However, I was in for the money he was going to pay me so I could provide something for my kids. On day two we talk a lot about what he’s done, I talked about my bad relationships and I asked him if he was married. He said he wasn’t and I didn’t believe him. So, he said at last, “okay, I’m married and I have five kids” and he gave me all of his names. I felt disappointed but then again, I wasn’t expecting much of him anyway. He was going to leave as soon as work was over on the island and I would never see him again.
Well, on the third day we did some more talking, and we felt very comfortable with each other to the point that he dared to kiss me and I kissed him back. I asked him again, “so, you are married, huh?”. He finally said “I’m not married and those kids names I gave you are the names of my nephews and nieces I have in North Carolina. I’ve never been married and I don’t have any kids”. We later got quiet and he asked me after a while, “I’m going to ask you something, would marry me?” I’m only going to ask you this one time and if you don’t want to, then I won’t ask you again, so, think about it”.
I didn’t know what to think and I thought for sure he was kidding. I said to myself, “He’s probably bluffing. Let me say yes and see what he does; if it doesn’t work, I can always get a divorce”. Well, after two minutes of thinking, I said yes and we immediately quit working for the rest of the day. We stop at one of the jewelry stores left opened after the hurricane and he bought us wedding bands. I was feeling numb and could not believe what was happening. In that same day after buying the rings, we stop at the court house and obtained our marriage license. The next day we shopped for our wedding clothes and I found this red dress in the only clothing shop standing on the island. We got married on November 7, 1989, exactly one week after meeting the first time.
It was a roller coaster the first eighteen years. Did we think we made a mistake after the first two weeks? Yes! Did we think about divorce and walking away? Many times! However, what really kept us together was our strong will to make the marriage work at all cost and to give our kids the great fortune to have a home and a strong family support.
You can make it work, if you are willing to commit, to honor and to love your spouse, no matter what. Today, I can say, “I know my husband and he knows me”. We grew together all these years and learned to accept each other as we were. He’s the man I hoped for to be and the father I wanted for my kids. Together we have three amazing boys. He adopted the twins and we had one more child together. He spoiled them and loved them all the same. The twins only know him as their dad and they love him very much. So, yes, it is possible to meet and marry someone in very little time and stay married despite the challenges the relationship may have. I’m not saying the same for all relationships; I’m just saying it is possible for this kind of fortune to come your way.