the early years the friends the family the mom the wife the TV producer the ham the driver

Countless men have fantasized about what it might be like – what mountains could they scale, what armies could they defeat, what joys could they know, what wisdom (and riches) could they gain, if only they had been the right man at the right time? What would it be like to experience Sue Brophey, the Wife? That’s what a rich fantasy life is for, boys. I got the real deal. Or to bring it to a more mature level: that’s for me to know and you to find out – NOT.

(Okay, well technically speaking Mark Lysakowski knows because he has been her “work husband” for the last couple of years but for the sake of this piece we’re going to focus on legally sanctioned marriages.)

Sue is, of course, many things to many people, and she brings to each relationship a passion, intensity, warm humour and commitment that is incredibly enriching. She makes us laugh. She makes us think. She makes us think again, and think harder until we get it right. And she makes us appreciate her unfailing loyalty, vitality and joie de vivre. OK, now imagine that 24/7.

Sue and I were married March 21, 1987, after a relatively brief courtship. We just knew. There was no point in waiting. Turns out it was a pretty good instinct. In fact, we recently attended a wedding during which perhaps the most touching moment was the groom’s toast to his bride. To paraphrase: “I’ve never known anything with absolute certainty in my life except that I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Damn good line. Guys all over the room were shaking their heads thinking, “Why didn’t I say that?” I did, kind of.

When I met Sue, I was a journalist – a professional skeptic by vocation and temperament. Every story has at least 30 different versions. Those of you who attended our wedding might remember that when it came my turn to say, “I do,” I added a word. “I certainly do,” quoth I. (I have it on tape for any doubters.) It was, until the arrival of our children, the only thing I knew with absolute certainty that I wanted. (Oh, there were a few things along the way I thought I wanted, like the purple shirt with puffy sleeves in high school, but let’s not digress.)

The divisions of this web site are pretty arbitrary and artificial. In fact there really is no “Sue The Wife” persona, which is of course one of the reasons she is such a great person to be married to. She is Sue Brophey, the total package. And if you happen to be married to her, you get the benefit of having that total package as your life partner.

The old joke about marriage is that once you’re in one, the husband becomes the wife’s renovation project. (“Remember that great poker night you have with the boys? Well forget it. You’re going to church.”) Not Sue’s style, though to say that I have learned from her, grown from our time together and, I think, become a changed person, is an enormous understatement. She has taught me about a kind of quiet, strong commitment that I only had a vague notion of when I said with such certainty that I did. She has challenged me, shaken up my beliefs and forced me to be smarter in a desperate effort to keep up with her. (We both know that I don’t, but she mostly tolerates this, except when I choose the wrong lane in traffic or the wrong line at customs.) I am greatly different than I was 17 years ago, not because Sue ever said a word about changing me but because she made me want to build a life together and frankly, dammit, her way was usually better.

So to keep this relatively short, because it is a Web site, we’ve had a bunch of years to build that life together and what we’ve got is pretty fantastic. It’s embarrassing to say I would have settled for so much less if I hadn’t been the right man at the right time to grab hold of the Sue Brophey train. I appreciate that every day. Sure there have been arguments over important issues like the right way to load the dishwasher and who was supposed to pack the kids’ toothbrushes (sorry Sam and Katharine), but Sue makes the other stuff, like loving someone and wanting to be with them forever, as easy as breathing.

Happy birthday, honey, and thank you!

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