Marrying at 23 years old: Best Move I Ever Made

11 years ago, at a place called Orlando Gardens off Watson Road in St. Louis, I married my wife Rachel. I was 23 years old, mostly clueless but sure about one thing. I loved this woman and everything else would sort itself out. That’s life. It doesn’t give you all the answers early on but when a beautiful tough and resilient five foot three inch lady stands in front of you, you get down on a fucking knee.

Rae and I

Around 15 years ago(add a few months to that), I proposed to my wife at a Dave Matthews Band concert. In a haze of reefer and great music, I decided to pop the question. I didn’t have a ring. Only a promise. As Dave played “Where Are You Going”, I took his lead and asked her a question. When you pop the question at a young age, nerves and uneasiness crawl up inside your body like insurgents. Most people fail because they do it to fix something in their life. Some do it because it’s cool. Others watch too many movies. I did it because I wanted to spend some time with this woman. The girl that burned a hole in my back outside Hatch Hall at Mizzou. The girl who left a note on my dorm room door asking me when I was going to ask her out(I was working the manual scoreboard that weekend!).

When you know, you know. There are no rules with romance. You make a choice, dig in and stand behind it. It will be tough. Parenting is a marathon but marriage can be a series of wind sprints followed by cozy walks. When you are Italian, it gets even crazier. But if the love is real, it will last. It’s sappy as maple syrup but true. Believe me.

So in order to celebrate right, I am going to borrow a list that a lovely lady posted about her husband on Valentines Day. A list of questions…and answers. Here we go.

1. Where did you meet your other half?
University of Missouri, Columbia. Hatch Hall campus(that sun dress!!! damn!)

2. How long have you been with your significant other?
On May 6th, it will be 14 years.

3. If you’re married, when did you say, “I do?”
August, 2002 at a Dave Matthews Band concert

4. What did you walk down the aisle to?
The usual wedding song music(lame I know)

5. Do you have any children yet?
One ferocious four year old named Vinny(and a cat named Jack)

6. What is your favorite thing about your significant other?
The way she can make a day seem so….fuck it, the woman can cook, has brains and very nice b__bs!

7. Were you and your significant other high school sweethearts?
No. College sweethearts.

8. Where was your first date?
An epic date night in Columbia that involved a movie called Deuces Wild and some making out in the rain afterwards(outside the dorm too, imagine if there was Instagram back then!)

9. How long did you date before you said, “I love you?”
A matter of weeks

10. How long were you dating before he/she proposed?
Less than four months

11. Where is your favorite place you have traveled with your significant other?
Kansas City(quiet, free breakfast and a perfect getaway)

12. How do you and your significant other celebrate Valentine’s Day?
We don’t. Wedding anniversary is four days later.

13. What does your favorite date night consist of?
Movie, dinner, talking, and maybe a child-less Walmart visit.

14. What is the best gift you have received from your significant other?
A brand new laptop before I went to cover the Winter Warmup last month. Caught me by complete surprise.

There it is. A different way to describe your love. 11 years ago, I made a good move. As I whisk through my beard with plenty of gray in it), I can tell you this about marriage.

Happily ever after isn’t an illusion. It’s a reality. It takes passion, work and sacrifice. If you ever find someone who loves you for everything you are, good and bad, ask them a certain question.


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