My husband and I have officially been together for a grand total of 10 years, 7 of them married. Its quite a number when you really think about it. We are an oddball pairing; he’s 11 years older than me, soft spoken and rational. And I’m…well…me. But at the end of the day, by some unlikely karmic dance, it works and I am pretty certain that when anyone thinks of Luigi they also think of Marie and vice versa.

I love talking about how we first got together because the truth of the matter is: it almost did not happen. But through divine intervention (or maybe not quite so divine but we’ll get to that) and a tremendous leap of faith, here we are today.

I had known my hubby’s name for a while: he was a good friend of my brother’s and he used to mention him in conversation. So I knew he existed, but we only met years later by accident. He was sitting at the canteen at university with a mutual friend, Michaela, and I took a seat at their table. When introductions were made, I immediately knew who this person was and the first thing I noticed was a man with very kind eyes. I did not think much of the whole scenario at the time, but those kind eyes stuck with me.

I had just turned 20 and I was truly discovering myself: I made friends with a more diverse and slightly older crowd and I was learning that it was ok to just be me and I did not have to please anyone. I was bullied rather harshly during secondary school, it takes a while to get over it and realise that in the adult world, very few people care that you are skinny or spotty and perhaps a little socially awkward. At the age of 20 I realised that I had a lot to offer and I was finally happy with who I was. My then future hubby was often around this crowd of friends so all of a sudden I started seeing him everywhere. We used to talk a lot and there was a connection and I always felt very safe with him. He was always giving me lifts home. He respected me and already knew what my family was like. Most importantly of all- he thought I was special and he liked me because I was that little bit different. For so many years I was scorned for being just a little off-beat, naïve and maybe just a little too good. And here was someone who saw these things as attributes rather than faults.

After months of build-up and rather ridiculous situation of being together but not being together, he asked me if we could be together.

Via e-mail.

I saw it at around 7am. I know it must not sound romantic, but with hindsight it really was. One thing you need to know about my hubby: anything which is important to him is done in writing. It was the most honest and heart-felt piece of prose I had ever read.

So I panicked and immediately rejected him. Yes, horrible, I know. But truth be told, I was terrified. I knew that if I started anything with this guy it would have to be serious, because otherwise there would be serious breakage of hearts on his behalf and mostly on mine. I had been hurt so many times that I could not bear the thought of it happening with this particular guy who I could actually see a future unfold with. He was not just anyone. If I had failed at this, I would never live it down. Plus at the time I was kind of wild and all over the place.

And he took it like a man, wrote me a very polite response and let it be.

I took to MSN messenger (hey people, we are talking ten years ago) and I spoke to my friend David and told him the whole story to which he very compassionately said ‘YOU FOOL! WHAT THE FUCK? WHAT DO YOU WANT, SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T LIKE YOU? WHAT AN IDIOT!’ Well what was done was done. I could not go back. That was it.

However, my brain would not let go. I kept thinking and thinking. I did not eat. I kept pacing up and down the house.

Later that evening, there was the opening of a new bar called Club Naasha and David and I decided to go and get my mind off things. None of us had a car, so Michaela agreed to pick us up and we all went together. I told her the whole story in the car. Her reaction was slightly softer than David’s, but she did disclose to me that my hubby had liked me the very day he had met me that time at university.

So we were all having rather pensive drinks, when all of a sudden he walked in with a friend. I said hi, and immediately walked out for some air and to clear my head. At that moment I just knew that if I did not take the plunge I would regret it for the rest of my days, wondering what could have been.

So I called him over and stated simply and honestly in true Marie style:

‘I changed my mind.’

And with that I changed my life.

And its still changing: together.