The Woman I Love, by Phil Donahue


Phil, aka Marlo Thomas’s husband, expresses his love for that girl.

A Note From Joni Evans: We are romantics at heart and adore the way some of our favorite men love their favorite women. In celebration of that, we are starting a new feature written by good men expressing what it is they love about their women. We’ve reached out (keeping it a surprise from Marlo) to Phil Donahue, who kicks off this weekly series.  XOXO

Her entrance in my life’s second act was in my Green Room; she had to notice that I noticed. In Catholic speak she was an “impure thought” (see also “occasion of sin”). As I followed her size-four self down the studio hallway it was obvious she had whatever it is. And from any direction.

Marlo is passionate about our relationship – she shows a daily interest in forming a more perfect union and God knows she has her hands full with a towel-on-the-floor guy. Marlo always forgives and forgets; it’s probably the biggest reason we’re still together. It’s been her perseverance, her enthusiasm and keen interest in her one and only marriage that has brought us to our new millennium place. A place we occupy after a 30-year journey that began in 1980 when we exchanged vows before a federal judge in her parent’s living room. Her father toasted, “I haven’t lost a daughter, I’ve gained a fund raiser!” It was sometime toward the end of the reception that I realized I had married a hospital.

Marlo Daytime is a cacophony of telephone bells and motion blur. It is also where we have Marlo Evenings, a place for a James Taylor CD and candles, every night – candles. It is a peaceful, romantic place of her creation, a big statement about the marriage she has always wanted and sometimes (I’m just sayin’) has found.

By day I am married to a road runner; she’s here, there – wherever funds might be raised for St. Jude, the Children’s Research Hospital founded by her father. Marlo does everything but jump out of cakes so that the hospital can meet the enormous cost of research – as well as her father’s promise to treat all patients regardless of ability to pay. She is the face of a charity that a Harris poll recently named the Most Trusted Nonprofit Organization in America.

Added to this hugely noble purpose, Marlo’s career has earned her five New York Times bestsellers, four Emmys, a Grammy and a Peabody Award. She’s the Go in You Go Girl! She never gets through an airport without someone rushing up to thank her several times for her landmark creation, “Free to Be You and Me.”

And I’m married to her – you may have seen me running to catch up, firmly holding her latest award statuette.

But alas, all is not perfect in our union:

“Do you love me?” she asks.

“Of course I do.”

“Well then, say so.”

“It goes without saying.”

“It does NOT go without saying” (semi-loud voice).

“I love you.”

I hear the door close firmly. (Marymount girls don’t slam doors.)

Silence for awhile and then, not always – but I’m just sayin’ sometimes – I can hear James Taylor.

—Phil Donahue

Click here to read Marlo’s response to Phil’s public love letter.

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  1. […] TweetShareEmailEditor’s Note: In case you missed it, we wanted to show you how her man still overwhelms that girl. Below is Marlo Thomas’ response to her husband’s love letter. […]