In high school I was forced to read Pride and Prejudice with a group of kids that I would have otherwise never talked with. Well, not true. The only other girl I paired with in history once. The skateboarder and I had a few conversations during English on other assignments. And the jock, I once had a crush on him and made sure during Powder Puff I strutted my stuff and showed him I was the best girl out there. So, I guess our misfitted group made sense. Either case, we took our assignment and somewhere in between understanding the book and seeing the jock as a complete tool I fell in love with the writings of Jane Austen.

At first I had a difficult time reading Pride and Prejudice. It was written in a different time where rules, language, body posture was different. Nonetheless I could relate to the spunky Elizabeth Bennet and her headstrong ways. And then there was Mr. Darcy. Over sixteen years later there is still something about that Mr. Darcy. Why does Darcy have such a pull?

Darcy walked into the ballroom with his head on his shoulders, his shoulders straight back, an air of arrogant confidence. Whispers circulated about his wealth, his education, and his loyalty to his best friend. At first sight Darcy appears to readers as a man of conceit but as the book continued Jane Austen is able to bring his heart to light. It was his heart which we fall in love with. Our first meeting with Darcy he seemed like a douche, and yet, after every unseemly circumstance he showed good judgment and kindness.

During the times dragons needed to be fought he would, without hesitation, slay those dragons. A runaway sister of his love who needed help, an innocent sister who was being manipulated, he took care of it. He didn’t look for accolades. Rather, he did it to protect the ones he love.

There is nothing more special than a woman feeling she is loved for exactly who she is. Darcy fell in love with someone who society felt wasn’t good enough for him. He fell in love with her not to spite society, but because she proved to society she loved deep, was loyal, didn’t care about wealth, and educated herself to be better.

Willing to change. Darcy proved that whatever Lizzie saw as disagreeable in himself he could change, and he did. He became the man she needed him to be. A man with a humble heart and still was her knight in shining armor.

Challenged Lizzie’s mind to be all that she wanted to be. Darcy was intellectually fun. He challenged Lizzie in knowing who she is. Not the Elizabeth Bennet the daughter, or the sister, but, the person. He believed in her that she could be whoever she wanted to be.

Darcy at first was disagreeable. He was infuriating and downright obnoxious at times. But, we can all be that. And as I thought about it, all of the above are the reasons after over two centuries we still pine over him. And as I sit here ready to celebrate my husband’s 36th birthday I realize, with a smiling heart, the loving qualities in Mr. Darcy echoes that of my husband.

His heart is good. I don’t deserve to be loved by this man. And yet, day in and day out, he showers it on me. He will fight to the death to protect me. He’s not a fighter, at all. But, he continues to keep me safe. I have a lot of baggage. And yet, he still loves me for all the baggage I carry. He also still loves the mouth that I have. I don’t know how he does it but he does. He continues to grow himself that we may grow as a couple. We aren’t the kids we were when we first married. He believes I can do and be anything I want. For as long as I can remember he was the one that told me that I should be writing books. It took me sixteen years to believe him.

On this day 36 years ago my mother-in-law was blessed with a beautiful baby boy. I am blessed 36 years later to be in love with my best friend. Jane Austen wrote Darcy correct. Every person’s dream is to be able to love someone who loves them with purity and intensity that cannot be measured. Lizzie Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy had that. I am lucky enough to share that same kind of love.

Today, my darling Jeremy, I thank you for being the man I need to feel loved, cherished and adored. I thank you for being a steadfast in my life and my partner through Christ and life. You’re all that I want or need. Here’s to another year and 36 more to come.

Happy Birthday, Luga. More than all the stars in the sky thank you for being my Mr. Darcy. xoxo