After 23 years of marriage, the one thing I would say to my wife Melony is thank you for loving me enough. Thank you for being the love of my life.
I’m originally from Virginia and didn’t even know there was a Union County, South Carolina, until the summer of 1989 when I heard about the possibility of getting a job at The Union Daily Times as a staff writer. I applied for the position and came down here for a job interview. Shortly thereafter I was hired and moved to Union and went to work.
My life here in those early days was, outside of work, pretty solitary as I am not the most sociable of human beings. I would go to work and, when the work day was done, go home to my apartment to watch TV or read. Weekends were often equally solitary with more reading, TV watching, and trips to the movies. I came to believe that this would be my life, a life that would be lived alone, a life in which I would never know what is was to have the great love of my life.
God, however, had different plans and he sent a beautiful angel named Melony to be the great love of my life.
It has been said that God works in mysterious ways and that was certainly the case where my relationship with Melony was concerned because at first we hated each other. We were — and are — two very different people and, at first, these two opposites not only did not attract, but very much repelled each other. It seemed like we would be enemies for the rest of our lives.
However, God had a different plan for us. His plan was for us to be together because, despite our differences, He made us for one another and because of that our attitudes toward each other began to change.
Readers of my original “Just A Thought” column will remember the story of how this change of attitude began when I first saw Melony with her daughter, Elise. I saw a tender, loving, adoring mother whose eyes lit up with love and delight and whose face was home to the sweetest, happiest smile as she held her daughter in her arms. It was the first time I saw what a truly warm and loving heart and soul Melony has and what a good person she really is.
My attitude toward her began to change that day and gradually we got to where we could speak in a civil and even friendly manner toward one another. This continued and, eventually, Melony felt comfortable enough around me and trusted me enough to come over to my apartment one evening and just sit and visit and do what she’s done many times since: listen to me babble on in my usual stream of consciousness, cracked in the head manner.
Fortunately, my eccentric and egocentric monologue did not send Melony screaming into the night in terror. Instead, she invited me to her home for dinner suggesting I bring a movie for us to watch. I brought the horror film “Night of the Living Dead.” Remember: cracked in the head.
Even that didn’t dissuade her from wanting to continue our relationship and soon we were dating, oft times having dinner at her house. We didn’t dine at my apartment because my cooking usually resulted in the smoke detector going off. It was there that I also got to meet Elise and she and Melony and I often dined together, beginning the process of becoming a family.
In the course of time, we did become a family as I gradually fell in love with Melony, realizing she was what I thought I would never have, the great love of my life, yet here she was. Melony had opened her heart, her home and her family to me and before I knew it, the love she had for me I had for her and I finally found it within me to say to her the words I’d never truly said before in my life: “I love you.” Then, I said to her the words I thought I would never have the opportunity to say: “Will you marry me?” and hear the reply that I thought I would never hear: “You know I will.”
On Jan. 1, 1993, Melony and I were married and we, along with Elise, became a family. That night, down at Myrtle Beach, when Melony and I checked in at the hotel for our honeymoon, I said some other words I thought I would never say: “Mr. and Mrs. Warner.”
It’s been more than 23 years since Melony and I started dating and, on Jan. 1, 2016, we will celebrate our 23rd wedding anniversary. I can say without hesitation that those years have been the best years of my life.
In that time I have become a husband, a father, and going on four years now, a grandfather. I have become part of Melony’s family and we have formed our own family. I have a home, the home that Melony opened to me all those years ago and which we continue to share to this day and will continue to share until God calls us to our eternal home.
All of this and more I owe to God. He would not let our differences in temperament and personality prevent us from recognizing and embracing the love He placed in our hearts for each other. Because of that, we became the great loves of each others lives. I owe it to Melony who, sooner than I did, saw God’s plan for us and, with patience, kindness, compassion, and above all else love, helped me come to see it as well.
So thank you God for giving me my beautiful angel, my beloved bride, my precious wife, my great love Melony. Thank you, Melony, for being all those things and more. Thank you for all you’ve given me and thank you for loving me. I love you and always will.
Charles Warner is a staff writer for The Union Daily Times and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.