How The Most Unromantic Man In America Made His Wife Burst Into Tears

How John Reilly, the self-described "Most Unromantic Man In America" made his wife burst into tears.

Don’t take my word for it.

John Reilly will tell you he is “The Most Unromantic Man in America.”

“I’m a chronic and habitual underachiever when it comes to birthday/Christmas/anniversary gifts for my wonderful wife,” he confessed to me in an email this week.

As people do.

They like to tell me stuff.

Like giving a vacuum cleaner for Christmas?

“Oh, I’ve done that,” John told me over the phone.

It’s not that wife, Carol, didn’t make suggestions over the years.

Holding hands?

That worked.

“At least until the time my palms started sweating,” John said. “Public displays of affection make me uncomfortable.”

And so it was.

John knowing he won the wife jackpot.

John not doing much to express his love.

For 25 years.

Until last year.

Something started to shift.

John can’t say exactly.

Getting older?

Their two kids growing up and moving out?

John decided to take a risk.

To stretch every creative, love-declaring muscle fiber in his quaking heart.

He’d do it by taking a picture.

A lot of pictures.

A year of pictures to make a video for YouTube.

“Happy 25th Anniversary. It’s June 1st, 2016,” John says as he looks into a camera mounted in his car. “I’ve never been the most romantic guy. What if I could show you how often I think about you? Turns out I can, with this.”

He holds up a 17” x 23” white board.

“For the next year, I will do just that. I think I’ll start today.”

“Happy 25th! 6/1/16,” he writes in big dry erase block letters, as the video cuts to the a new message every day after that.

“You’re a little mad at me today, but I still love you. 6/10/16.”

“Love you exactly 2 months more than when I started. 8/1/2016.”

Some play on puns.

How John Reilly, the self-described "Most Unromantic Man In America" made his wife burst into tears.

How John Reilly, the self-described "Most Unromantic Man In America" made his wife burst into tears.

Did I mention John is an engineer by trade?

Some make use of his cartoon skills with little drawings.

How John Reilly, the self-described "Most Unromantic Man In America" made his wife burst into tears.

John gets mushier as the year goes on.

“My dream come true? Mine would be you. 10/14/2016.”

How John Reilly, the self-described "Most Unromantic Man In America" made his wife burst into tears.

For Mother’s Day 2016, John included their two kids.

The daily messages go on until June 1st of this year.

Their 26th wedding anniversary.

John says Carol never had a clue.

Never caught onto that dry erase board he schlepped around in his backpack for a year.

“How’d you show her the video?” I asked?

“I put it in an email sent it to her at work.

“At work?” I said thinking of Carol getting the shock her life sitting at her desk.

“Sure,” said this ever-practical engineer.

It wasn’t long before Carol texted John, “I’m sitting here bawling my eyes out.”

There you have it.

It’s possible for the most unromantic man in America to make his wife cry.

Cry happy tears.

Lots of them.

And though Carol got the love letter she’d dreamed of for more than 25 years, it looks like John is the one who ended up with the real gift.

Just by making the video.

“People lose sight of the little things while they wait for the big things to come,” he reflected thinking of a quarter century with the best person he knows. (11/14/16) “It’s really the little things that happen day by day that ultimately make your life fun and happy.”

To John and Carol, Happy Anniversary.

“26 down. Forever to go. 6/1/2017.”

Got about 20 minutes to fall in love with John and Carol?

Here you go:

How John Reilly, the self-described "Most Unromantic Man In America" made his wife burst into tears.

John and Carol Reilly. Happy Anniversary, you crazy kids. And many more to come!

((Please catch my column each week in The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Dayton Daily News and other Cox Newspapers across the country.)))

And if you enjoy this column about family and finding love, you might enjoy my book,

“Hope Possible: A Network News Anchor’s Thoughts On Losing Her Job, Finding Love, A New Career, And My Dog, Always My Dog.”

final front cover

 

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How The Most Unromantic Man In America Made His Wife Burst Into Tears

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