The Fayette Citizen-Opinion Page

Friday, February 13, 2004

A very special Valentine


Some time ago, my wife was shopping with several friends and, in a little shop, one of them noticed a “proverb” which read, “Husbands may come and go. But a friend lasts forever.” First one lady, then another, expressed an opinion and, finally, my wife said, “But what if your husband IS your best friend?”

It’s true. Cindy and I are honest-to-goodness “best friends.” I would rather be with her than share time with any 10 other people I know.

This year, we will observe 33 years of marriage. She is my first and only and I am the same for her. Oh, it hasn’t always been easy — there was a time, if we could have afforded the $200 in legal fees, we would have resumed our separate lives. Fortunately, we were a great deal poorer in those days.

There was a time when I used to actually pray, “You know, God, I could be a lot better, more effective, Christian, if I didn’t have this wife to hinder me — sooooo, if you’ll just take her ‘home’ a little early ... “ God, I learned, isn’t in the business of answering stupid prayers. We had our share of battles. I had a violent temper, Cindy had a sharp tongue — not a great combination for happiness!

But, somehow, we survived, endured, and eventually fell in love again and thrived. We really weren’t the other’s “dream spouse.” I wanted a wife just like my mom. Mom was a homebody, a country cook, a lady who was always home, and who spoiled me rotten. Instead, I got a strong-willed, career-minded, energy-filled, independent woman.

She, for her part, had always declared that she would only date men who were college graduates, were well-off financially, had a nice car, were at least six feet tall, of slim-to-medium build, and who were not jocks or military-types. But, alas, she married me — an ex-Marine, ex-football player, college sophomore (at the time), and a 5’ 10”, not slim or medium kind of guy, and a jalopy-driving person who bagged groceries part-time while working his way through college.

In fact, I used to wonder why this slim, brown-eyed, brunette even gave me the time of day at all! So, one day, I asked her, “Why did you marry me?”

“Because,” she said, “I knew you loved me.”

Okay, so it wasn't my charming wit, my dazzling good looks, or my wads of cash, but she was correct — I loved her. And during all those rough times, and there were hundreds, I loved her still.

You know, I think people give up too easily. I think football teams give up too early in the fourth quarter, runners fall out of the race too soon, I think preachers and churches give up too quickly on people who fall into sin, parents give up too quickly on teenagers, and I think that husbands and wives give up on their marriages much too early.

It took me all four years to make first-string center in high school, but it was worth it. It took 13 long, grueling weeks at the Parris Island Resort and Spa in sunny South Carolina to be come a United States Marine, but, again, it was worth it. Six years it took me to finish my undergraduate degree. Worth it. But it took nearly 10 years before we really began to produce our marriage.

We were really happy for, oh, the first six weeks. It was downhill from there. The first year wasn’t bad but, from my perspective, the next nine were varying degrees of hell. But the last 23 years have been more than I could have hoped or prayed for. All I know is that, against all odds, we rode through the storms and gales and came out on the other side. The storms break up a lot of marriages but, honestly, most “shipmates” bail out long before the full blast of those howling winds hit their marriage broadside. Many marriages, maybe most, could be saved if only the participants would just stay on board! I am so glad that Cindy and I didn't jump ship. It was worth it.

So, even though I am not generally a drinking man, I offer a toast to the most wonderful girl I’ve ever known — to my companion in life, my shipmate through the storms, my lover, and my best friend. Happy Valentine’s Day, Cindy.

[David Epps is rector of Christ the King Charismatic Episcopal Church, which meets at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Sundays on Ga. Highway 34 between Peachtree City and Newnan. He may be contacted at or at]


Back to thø Opinion Home Page| Back to the top of the page