Fourteen years have gone by since Tony and I made vows to one another. People seem to forget the importance of those vows these days.

“I, bride, take you groom, to be my spouse, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”

So far, we’ve done a pretty good job of upholding them. We’ve had more worse, poorer, and sickness than we’ve had better, richer, or health, but when you have and hold and love and cherish, the rest seems to fall into place.

We clash and argue. We get mad at each other a lot. The wonderful thing about it is that we’re rarely mad at one another for more than a few minutes. Then one of us has something funny to tell the other, and then we have to make up so we can laugh.

Tony and I have known each other all our lives. We drifted through childhood only seeing each other a scarce few times, and then, fate intervened in December 2000. I was standing by brother, A.J., helping him catch candy at the Christmas Parade.

Mama called out to me and asked if I knew the boy and lady standing next to her.

I said, “No.” And turned back to A.J. Tony ended up walking down Main Street with me that night. While I was looking for a friend, he was covertly looking at me. He told me later than when he set eyes on me that night, he knew I was it for him.

I wish it had been that easy for me. For the next eleven months, he called me most days. We’d talk for hours about anything and everything under the sun. He did hard time in the friend zone for months.

During this time, I thought he was dating. I thought surely there was no way that he was single. I didn’t realize he was waiting for me.

One night in November 2001, he finally told me his big secret. We came out of that night a couple. A month later, he said he knew he was going to marry me.

Fourteen years ago, he did just that. We recited our vows, and as we leaned in to kiss, he had a nosebleed. Since then, he’s been my rock. No matter what, he’s in my corner. He accepts my shortcomings. He knows my weird quirks. He loves me anyway.

We have never been a traditional couple. We’ve never really been a modern couple. We have odd ways of working things out and so far, that’s worked for us. I told him before he married me that I did not believe in divorce. He just smiled and said, “Good because we’re not getting one.” So far, he’s been right.