Seriously, the first nine years were the toughest. This last year has kind of smoothed out a bit.
Amy and I eloped to Jamaica with her sister, Rachael, and her brother-in-law, Jay. The rest of her family has not forgiven us yet. They respect our decision to go away and get married, but whenever it's mentioned I get the feeling that they feel a teeny bit cheated. OK, they feel a lot cheated. But I just think they feel cheated out of going to Jamaica.
While Amy and I were sitting by the pool soaking up the intense equatorial sun, we vowed we would go back to Jamaica for our fifth anniversary. We were busy changing diapers then, so we vowed we would go back on our 10th anniversary. We are planning a trip to Disneyworld instead.
Maybe we'll go back to Jamaica on our 20th anniversary and invite the whole family. Unfortunately, most of them will be too old by then.
I have to give Amy a lot of credit: she had no idea what she was getting into when she married me. I'm fearful of just about everything. I have anxiety about roller coasters, vehicles that travel over 65 mph and foul balls. I can hardly go to a baseball game because I have an irrational fear of getting hit by a foul ball. I also fear getting hit by a hockey puck. In addition, I don't like camping because I'm afraid a snake will slither into my tent.
One reason I love my wife so much is because she accepts my strange fears. I know she truly loves me because she finds my odd behavior cute and endearing.
Oh, she teases me about it, and at times it annoys her — but she understands why we can't go to Cedar Point, why it takes us so long to get places when I drive, why we sit in the upper deck at ball games, below the glass at hockey games and why we camp in a trailer.
Another reason I love Amy so much is because she is so faithful. Amy stays in touch with almost all her friends from high school. I don't mean she merely follows their every move on Facebook, she actually visits them and calls them. Their children have played with our children.
Every winter, Amy flies to Florida to spend a weekend with her grandma. She spends time with her sisters and brother and their kids even though they're scattered throughout the state. She stays in contact with her aunts, uncles and some of her cousins.
Amy is a true friend and a faithful human being. If she gives up on you, then you would have had to reject her completely or hurt her deeply. I feel fortunate that I'm not in either of those categories.
I'm grateful for the wife I have because she encourages me to have friends. Amy knows how to be a friend, and she's taught me how to be a friend.
She taught me that if you want to have friends, you have to accept their invitation when they ask you to go to a car show or to hang out in the garage. She also taught me that you have to invite them over for a cookout or a game night now and then.
Because of Amy, I have more friends than I ever thought an anxiety-filled loner like me could ever have. If it wasn't for her, I'd go to work, come home, take a walk alone, eat supper alone, watch TV alone, sleep alone and live in fear of hockey pucks. I know that's what I'd do, because I did it before I met her. Amy has taught me to trust people and to like them; and, in return, they like and trust me.
In the past 10 years, Amy has given me comfort, encouragement, friends and so much more. And all she has asked for in return is for me to love her, and for me to watch the kids once in a while so she can develop her own friendships.
I'm telling Amy now that I do love her. I love her for cracking my shell and shaping my lonely, meager existence into something rich, meaningful and filled with people and new experiences. I love her for accepting my fears with a chuckle and a slap on the forehead. I love her for helping me to see the trivial nature of my anxiety without belittling me.
I want Amy to know that If I could go back in time 10 years, I'd take that same plane ride to Jamaica, sweat in the same black suit, stand before that same minister and marry her all over again. But this time, I'd invite the family.
— By Grant Berry, Tribune community columnist