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Til Death Us Do Part (or until Stephen kills me!)

I am a hopeless romantic and am always asking married couples how they met and when they knew this was "the one"... I absolutely ADORE hearing how couples met and the often convoluted path to their getting together .... But when people ask Stephen and I how WE met ... well, it just doesn't sound that exciting ....

You see, Stephen and I had known each other for YEARS before our first date ... in fact, a full four years passed before sparks began to fly ... We first met about fourteen years ago when we were asked by mutual friends to be the godparents of their son. I don't actually REMEMBER our first meeting, but do remember later thinking that he was a really nice guy and amazingly good with kids.

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And that was it - for about four years. In my eyes, Stephen remained a nice man, slightly enigmatic, hugely popular with both children and adults, but not the kind of man I was looking for. You see, at that stage in my life, I was looking for someone - damaged. Some poor tortured soul that needed rescuing from the emotions that tormented him but that he refused to let anyone else see. You know the type - a Mr Darcy, a Heathcliff, a Jason Statham. Good guys with no issues, unfortunately, just did not feature on my radar screen... and Stephen was the epitome of a good guy with absolutely no issues and no chips on his deliciously broad shoulders.

And so, I never really bothered much with him. I would greet him at the various children's birthday parties, but he would then be dragged off outside by our godchild, while I stayed inside and moaned about the fact that I was never going to meet my soul mate.

Little did I know that my soul mate was, quite literally, right in front of my eyes!

Anyway, a few years and a few men later, I found myself sitting next to Stephen at the dinner table. Our godson was sitting peacefully on his lap, while Stephen and I chatted about nothing much in particular.

When it happened.

Something that would change our lives forever. Stephen began telling me about his girlfriend. And I got annoyed. In fact, I got VERY annoyed.

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"We're going away this weekend," Stephen informed me while topping up my wine glass. "It's going to be so nice to have all that time to ourselves with no distractions."

"Really ..." I snapped quite coldly, mentally slapping myself for sounding jealous when I didn't even LIKE the guy.

"Yes," Stephen smiled charmingly. "I really am so lucky ... Megan is such an amazing woman."

"I'm sure she is ...." I replied, trying very hard to sound bored, when in fact, I wanted to hunt this Megan down and rip out her throat.

I quickly excused myself and went to find my friend in the kitchen.

"What's wrong with YOU?" Robyn laughed as I slammed the door in a huff.

"Stephen is what's wrong!" I fumed. "All I have heard since dinner began is 'Megan this' and 'Megan that'! It's driving me insane."

Silence as Robyn studied my face for a while.

"I don't believe it!" she gasped. "I actually don't believe it! You. Are. Jealous!"

"Oh rubbish!" I snapped childishly. "I'm just annoyed, not jealous!"

"I am FINISHED!" Robyn squealed. "I have been trying for FOUR years to get the two of you together. And two weeks ago, I decided that it was never going to happen, and that I should just give up! And NOW look at the two of you!"

"The two of us?" I asked. "But he's got a girlfriend!"

"Oh please!" Robyn sighed. "The man has liked you for YEARS and you never gave him a second glance. Trust me, this girl doesn't feature in his life as much as you do...."

Silence. This was too much for my poor brain to handle. I quickly grabbed my godson and sped upstairs, claiming that I needed to read him a bedtime story. My mind was racing - what on earth was wrong with me? I mean, me .... like Stephen? It was just not possible.

Later, as my godson was on the verge of sleep, Stephen came upstairs to find me.

"I just wanted to say goodnight," he whispered. "I'll see you soon ..." He then bent down and kissed me gently on the cheek. I actually blushed!

As he disappeared downstairs again, I knew. I just knew. That this man was going to change my life.

And that he did.

One month later, having broken up with Megan, Stephen and I had our first date. Coffee at the Mugg & Bean in Killarney. For four and a half hours. We just couldn't stop talking - there was too much to say.

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That was the 6th of June just over twelve years ago - and we have been together ever since.

And you know what? This man is without a doubt the best thing that has ever happened to me. He has filled my life with so much goodness and happiness, that I sometimes wonder if it is possible to be TOO lucky. (Stephen wouldn't know, he looks more and more miserable as the years go by. But the main thing is that I am happy!)

And so, while Hollywood will never make a movie of our relationship - I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that ours is the greatest love story ever. It really is.

Now if only Stephen would stop watching the Crime Channel. While making notes...

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