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  • When I met my husband, Perry, my heart fluttered. My heart - fluttered. As a serial monogamist, dating my way through the US Navy one sailor at a time, that was a first for me. My heart fluttered, my breath caught in my throat and I could see only him.

    Perry was nothing like the men who came before him - he wasn't married, he wasn't gay, he wasn't drunk, he wasn't a sailor. He was a fly fishing journalist who wore bow ties and, for pleasure, he'd get on his mountain bike for 20 miles at a time, several days a week. I knew I could love him when I discovered as much Nanci Griffith in his music collection as I had in my own. Somehow, that made him feel very safe to me.

    Our weekends came to consist of, among many things, trips to Telluride where I'd drop him and his buddy Robert on one side of Mt. Sneffels, a 14,000 ft mountain, then drive over to Ouray and wait for them to come down. Three hours up, one hour down.

    After about a year of dating we decided to live together. We had already adopted a puppy, Sydney, from the local shelter, my gift to him. She was four months old and looked like Benji but came to be a 40 lb shaggy Bearded Collie mix.

    Neither of us were interested in marrying. We were both shy of it, him already once divorced and me without significant role models to have learned from. We were content being committed to each other with no need for the State to tax us for our loving. But we had this little game where I would say to him,

    "You should marry me."

    And he would say, "How come?"

    And I would say, "Because we can re-fi through the VA and save $50 a month on our mortgage!" or "Vacation time!" or "We could use a new set of dishes!" or some other arbitrary bullshit answer.

    Then one night, with our heads on our pillows, nearing sleep, I quietly said,

    "You should marry me."

    He said, "How come."

    I said, "Because you love me."

    And he said, "Oh. Ok."

    We married five years to the day after our first date. We'll be 18 come April. Sydney is 17 and still a really happy dog. Marriage hasn't ruined us, after all.
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