Why I still love him after 19 years

My friend had insisted so much, I finally agreed to drive an hour from my hometown and meet the American martial artist who was visiting Reunion Island for a week.
I stepped out of the car and had my first glance of his 6 foot 1 frame. “Not bad” I thought to myself. Five minutes after we were introduced, he asked to take a photo together, a request that surprised me to say the least.
He proceeded to wrap his arms around me and smiled as the camera captured for eternity the moment that marks the beginning of OUR story.

Photo of Burton Richardson and Sarah Badat Richardson on the day they met
Only five minutes after we met

Destiny was hard at work that day and we must have sensed it.
In that photograph, there is a joyful twinkle in his eyes and a glimmer of mischief in mine.

Tall. Broad shoulders. Dark hair. Hazel eyes. My definition of handsome.
Kind. Considerate. Thoughtful. My definition of a gentleman.
He was quite the catch.

Eight months later, we married.

He’s been my handsome gentleman of a husband for 19 years.
He is as kind to me today as that first day we met.
He sees in me what I cannot see in myself.
He loves me more than I love myself.
He will do for me what I wouldn’t do for myself.

If I crave a special frozen drink to go with my Sunday breakfast but am too lazy to drive to the coffee shop, he’ll go.
If I have a hankering for fish curry but am too tired to get dressed and get out of the house, he’ll go.

He gives me so much and yet never demands anything in return.
If the laundry piles up and he’s running out of clean underwear, he’ll put a load in (although this is my responsibility as per our agreement).
If he’s hungry and I didn’t have time to cook (I’m the appointed kitchen manager), he’ll just fix himself something. Not begrudgingly, not passive aggressively but because he doesn’t want to burden me.

He lives to bring me happiness and comfort.

He still opens the door for me.
He still serenades me.
He scrubs the toilets so I never have to.

Of course we’ve had our ups and downs.
There is one memorable hotel room scene during our first year. Him kicking our duffle bag out of frustration and despair after getting the silent treatment for three days. Me running to him, regretful, calling out his name repeatedly, as he attempts to free his entangled foot from the piece of luggage.
It makes for good laughs now.

The tumult of the early years has passed, replaced with peace and contentment. Through the tears and laughter of every day living, the two strangers we were, painstakingly crafted an intimacy that now binds them as family. Through the joining of their hearts, minds and bodies they have become so much more than they ever could have been on their own.

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Aristotle must have learned this from marriage.

I have spent half my life with this human being.
He knows my faults. He knows my quirks. He wants me still.
I am never more beautiful than when he looks at me.
Together, we created and birthed a miracle. Our daughter. A manifestation of our love in flesh and blood, walking on two feet for the world to see.

We’ve strung the days of our 19 year marriage into a peaceful, happy, fun, fulfilling life.

Tonight, as I drift to sleep holding his hand like I do every night, I will smile…
…thankful for yet another day together and very much looking forward to the next.

Photo of Burton Richardson and Sarah Badat Richardson
December 2016- Photo by Kyle Santos

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