We met almost sixteen years ago when you rescued my kittens from a neighbours tree and I rewarded you with a coffee. You helped me celebrate my birthday just a couple of days later, and we have been together ever since.
Looking back I can't understand why you wanted to take on me and my two young teenagers. We were all going through a really tough time and my life was upside down. There was no-one who could fix things, but you were a great support. Sometimes it was rocky, but we made it with a smile.
I always knew you wanted children of your own and even though I was getting older I wanted to provide you with at least one. It took a while but we ended up with three! I always remember your reaction when after having two girls we found out we were having a little boy and you danced down the corridor in the hospital.
We've had some rocky times too but always made it through. We've had the usual hiccups in our relationship and sometimes we've been bickering a lot, but somehow we kept going and worked it out. Sometimes when you are in a long term relationship all it takes is to talk things through but it's easy to forget that.
Then on New Years Day I was admitted to hospital where I spent two weeks in bed mostly on my back. I couldn't move and I had plenty of time for thinking. I was so grateful that you kept everything going smoothly at home. I'll admit that I knew deep inside that you were not coping anywhere near as well as I would but my mindset started to change. Instead of focusing on what you may be doing wrong I accepted you for who you were and that you were doing your best.
When I came home I still couldn't do much and you had to carry on. At first I'd get annoyed that you didn't do the vacuuming or the washing up as good as I would have done if I could. Soon, I stopped that and realised that you were doing ok really, it must be hard having to keep up with everything when you were not used to it. For so long I'd been the one to do everything, but it wasn't because you were lazy, it was because I'd stopped you from doing anything, because I had to be in control.
You've asked me many times to marry you but I've always thought there was no need. I didn't realise how unhappy this made you feel. I was thinking just because I'd been married before and in the end it had meant nothing, that I couldn't see the point in going through it all again. To me marriage was just a certificate, and I didn't really need it.
After a lot of thought I changed my mind and realised that getting married seemed to make our family closer. It's not just a change of name or a certificate, it's about accepting you as a family member rather than the father of our children. It's a union between you and me and together we are stronger.
My older children are still very much a part of our family even now that they are grown up, and they always will be. We are family, all seven of us.
So next month we will be married and the celebrations are all planned. It's going to be a very special day and I can't wait.
I've been a Mrs for 30 years but now I will be Your Mrs at last.
Thank you for being there all this time, and thank you for being willing to stay when things got rough. You are a great Dad and I'm sure you will be a great husband too.
I love you forever,