Ben Maley can’t blame his onetime roommate, Kevin Cannon, for telling Andrea that he “talks a lot of trash.”
Ben feels fortunate each and every day that Andrea didn’t heed that warning and that she chose to go out with him anyway. He admits that he was at least a little bit of the man Kevin said he was at the time.
He also knew Andrea was different from the jump. From the moment he met, he just knew he wanted to see her more and get to know her better.
Andrea was magnetic.
“There was something about Andrea,” Ben said. “I just couldn’t get away from her.”
Not that he was really trying. Now, 17 years of marriage later, Ben still wants nothing more than to be by Andrea’s side. He knows he is miles better than he ever was before he met her, and he says he can be “a moody fellow” who can find peace when she’s around.
“She has this look that notifies the kids that ‘It’s not time to mess with Dad,’” Ben says. “But at the same time, she can give me a look and tell me to chill out.”
Andrea still plays that role in the house, not just for Ben, but their sons Eli (15) and Owen (12) and her oldest daughter, Haley. She keeps the peace there and is there for all of her children, making sure they’re all happy and thriving and that the family sticks together.
Not that Ben didn’t know it from the moment he met Andrea, but watching her in action now is very much a reminder of how good he and the kids have it.
“She’s just a wonderful mother,” he said. “She’s compassionate and very much puts our kids first and foremost before herself. She’s just genuine and kind-hearted. I definitely outkicked my coverage.”
It just so happens the very same Kevin Cannon stood by Ben’s side as his best man when he married Andrea. Kevin’s honesty at the time was all part of the story of how Ben and Andrea reached this point with 17 years of happiness already and a bright future ahead.
Ben loves that he feels relentless support from her and that she never hesitates to put her family first. Andrea is honest and real and lets Ben and the kids know exactly where they stand with her at all times.
She is also an inspiration to Ben and helps him understand what the big things are in life and how to keep his focus on them. He knows for a fact that he is a better person today than he was 17 years ago.
“She tries to make me realize that it’s not as serious as I’m trying to make it,” he said. “She helps me realize that it’s OK to step back and take a breath and the world is not coming to an end. And again, she just makes me want to be better as a person.”
Mission accomplished, for Ben, her family, and many others. Ben and the kids are all grateful for Andrea for everything she does to make the family whole.
“I can’t say it enough, and I can’t convey what she means to me and the family,” Ben said. “She IS our family. There are no words to put into context of what she means to me and how much I love her.”