Debra J. Saunders
4/10/2002 12:00:00 AM - Debra J. Saunders
He met me through the newspaper. A liberal who had just written a book with Ralph Nader, he said that I was the columnist he loved to hate. He would yell at my wiseacre mug that ran with my column in the Los Angeles Daily News.
I met him through the radio. A column I had written so infuriated him that his producer asked me to do an interview by phone one day when he was guest hosting on KGIL. We sparred. We agreed to disagree. A good time was had by all.
We met in person at a station event.
We became friends.
Later, we became more than friends.
When I told my editor Tom Gray that I was going to marry Wesley Smith, he laughed out loud. It took five minutes and an engagement ring to convince Tom that I wasn't joking, and that we really were engaged.
At the tender age of 37, I married Wesley. A few months later, The San Francisco Chronicle called, and here we are, 10 years later, celebrating our 10th anniversary.
In one area, Wesley is like a kid. He covets the moments when he shows up in my column, and is a little disappointed that he doesn't turn up in this space more often. Still, he understands that I have a more conservative approach to column-writing. I downplay the personal and strive to focus my column on issues and arguments.
Also, I started writing a column as a single woman, and it annoyed me how many female columnists wrote about their husbands and kids.
Just this once, I'd like to use this space to thank Wesley for the 10 best years of my life.
By the time we met, I thought the odds were pretty high that I would not marry. That was fine. Better no marriage than a bad one.
But a good marriage with an esteemed soul mate -- well, nothing beats it.
The late Bob Forsyth -- the legendary journalist turned spokesman -- used to say that writing a book required so much discipline that he only knew one person who has written one, Wesley. In fact, Wesley has written more than 10 books.
And the books keep getting better. Author Dean R. Koontz wrote that Wesley's latest and best, "Culture of Death, The Assault on Medical Ethics in America," provided "the best survey of utilitarian bioethics written for a general audience."
When I hear people talk about how difficult marriage is, I'm always stunned.
Marriage is the easiest thing I've ever done. If you respect and trust your love, if you don't want to change your mate, the rest is all negotiations.
Wesley has made me a better person. Years ago, he decided to stop lying. (Of course, we've never lied in print. The pledge was to end telling little lies and white lies.) I joined him. I won't say that we never lie, but I will say that we can go months on end without lying, and I feel better for it.
I can honestly say that in 10 years of marriage, I have never lied to Wesley. And I know he has never lied to me.
I'm even writing this column on the sly on Sunday, so that when he asks me what I worked on Monday night, I can tell him the truth and still keep this column a surprise.