I don’t remember the day. I don’t remember the time. I just remember the feeling. The feeling when I knew that my husband and I were meant to be together.

We had been dating for a year and we’d endured more than most couples endure in a lifetime. A run to the emergency room, a divorce, a death, and several moments of “What am I doing?”

The 16 year age difference between us definitely posed some challenges. I was 21 and full of apprehension, uncertainty, and self-conscious habits. My husband was 37, going through his second divorce, and had let go of all inhibitions years ago.

An officer working nights, we’d often enjoy afternoon naps together. I’ll never forget the first nap we ever took. It was a cold October afternoon. He was staying in a spare room at his parent’s house at the time. The room was light blue and housed only one narrow dresser and a single bed. It barely fit us both.

We were just preparing to snuggle in when my husband turned to me and said, “I need to get my sleep apnea machine.” I was hoping my face didn’t appear as puzzled as my mind was. What the heck is sleep apnea? And what kind of machine are we talking about? I didn’t have to wonder long because soon my then boyfriend was strapping what looked like an oxygen mask to his face. Apparently, it helped him sleep and stopped him from snoring. I remember thinking, “Is this what dating an older man means?” I was horrified.

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Not as horrified as I would be weeks later when I was rushing him to the emergency room for severe abdominal pain only to discover that he was “backed up”. This was followed by a colonoscopy and the use of countless over the counter laxatives and suppositories. I was starting to have doubts.

If the medical complications in our first few months together weren’t enough to scare me off, you’d think a crazy ex-wife would be. But no. My husband handled that situation with grace and respect. The same way he handled his father’s death the following year. He asked me to stand beside him at the services, introducing me to each and every person that attended. Even in a moment that was both sad and difficult for him, my husband made sure to hold my hand tightly and honor who I was to him. I knew then, that I had found a good man.

I’d soon realize that this good man was a great man. And I slowly learned what made dating older men so appealing. It wasn’t the money (he had none) or even the maturity (older men are still big kids at heart). But it’s the life experience and appreciation of the simple things in life.

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My husband isn’t a fighter. We don’t argue - not because we don’t have issues or disagreements, but because my husband knows most fights aren’t worth having. He’s laid back and non-confrontational. But his easy personality should not be mistaken for complacency. My husband is passionate, hardworking, dedicated, and full of life. His personal and professional life have also shown him the darker side of things. He sees and handles some of the most difficult things the world has to offer. It makes him hold our family a little tighter and love a little stronger.

So if a life with an older man means facing low testosterone, doctor’s appointments, and dentures, sign me up! Because the humility and passion with which my husband approaches life has no number and makes him the best partner I could ever ask for.