So, tell me…
How did you and your significant other first meet? Was it love at first sight or did your affection develop over time? And how did you know he (or she) was The One?
My dear husband is out of town for the next four days so this seems to be the perfect time to sit down and write this out. Of course, me being the wordy writer I am, it grew much too long for Betty’s comment box, so I’m posting it here. I’m sure I’ve written it out before; but who can resist telling such a good story one more time?
It was definitely not love at first sight. In fact neither of us really remember the first sight. We know we were both at the same small church young adult gathering at the same time but neither of us recalls the other being there.
The first time I remember seeing him was at Mass. He was the lector, we shook hands at the sign of peace and after Mass my roommate introduced us. He was just one more new face in a new place. (I’d just moved from Texas to Salem, MA to go to grad school in Boston.)
We saw each other occasionally at church, at big parties. Once I tagged along when my roommate went to drop something of for him at his house. They used to get together to play chess and smoke cigars. I actually wondered why they never dated.
Then one day, several years later, we ran into each other at the grocery store and suddenly he decided I was cute and he wanted to ask me out. That was his moment. But I just thought it was nice to meet a friendly face and then thought nothing else of it.
So the next week out of the blue he called me up and asked if I wanted to join him and some other church friends at a local pub. I said sure and he offered to pick me up. That should have been my first clue; but it wasn’t. I just thought it was odd because I was perfectly capable of driving myself.
So we went to the pub and no one else showed up because of course he hadn’t actually invited anyone else. We had a great chat over Guinness and pub food, all about our favorite books. Then we chatted some more in his car in my driveway. Almost an hour before I finally asked him in. And then we talked more.
And then he totally ruined the evening by asking for a kiss. Keep in mind I had no idea I was even on a date. It was awkward and he soon left. I called my sister the next day and asked why guys are so stupid and why did he have to go ruin a perfectly nice evening?
So we didn’t do anything together again for more than a year. By then I decided that it had been long enough that maybe the awkwardness was gone a bit so I agreed to go with my roommate to a young adult Bible study he was leading at his house. It seemed safe enough with a big group there. And I was starting to realize I wanted to get more serious about my faith.
So after several months I found myself consistently the last person to leave Bible study. I’d stand at his front door with my coat on and my purse over my shoulder for hours, talking with my hand on the doorknob but not quite able to leave. And still we weren’t dating. I still insisted to myself that I wasn’t interested. But everyone else in the young adult group was talking about us and I knew it.
Eventually we started going out to movies and dinner and such and I admitted maybe we were dating. And finally one night I allowed him to kiss me.
He was always one step ahead of me. I could see it in his eyes for months that he wanted to say “I love you” and I kind of hoped he wouldn’t because I was not ready to say it. Eventually he did and I didn’t and it was awkward for a while until finally I did.
Then I had to warn him when he came with me to Texas to meet my family that he was not allowed to ask my dad for my hand in marriage. My dad is not the kind of father who would appreciate that gesture. Instead, I was worried that if asked he’d probably say something rude about it not being any of his business. By then I was pretty sure that so long as the meeting the family went well he and I would eventually probably get married. But I wasn’t ready to be engaged. That didn’t happen until almost Easter time.
Knowing he was “The One” was a slow realization and there was never a sudden moment of insight or “just knowing.” I spent a long time wrestling with worries that I was jumping into marriage just because I was lonely, because I was about to turn 30 and didn’t want to be an old maid. Was I making this move out of fear or because it was really the right thing to do? But I did know that he was solid in his faith and that I really needed that in a husband because I was pretty weak. And I knew from watching him with his nieces and nephews that he would make a good father. Those were the two biggest criteria for me. Add to it the fact that we were such good friends. That I could never imagine running out of things to talk about. Remember even before we were dating we could talk and talk at his front door till 2 in the morning.
And then while we were dating his roommate got engaged and while we watched him and his fiance go through their wedding preparations we had many kind of bizarre conversations about what our ideal weddings would be like. In short, our ideals were rather different from his roommate and roommate’s fiance but were strikingly like each others.
We had similar visions of what marriage was about and family and all our big priorities were the same. Most of all I felt a deep peace when I was with him and when I thought about being with him for the rest of my life. I knew I could count on him. And I still know it.
The first time he asked me to marry him he was a bit crazy high from too much caffeine and it was kind of a joke. I got really mad at him for asking such a question so lightly. But not mad enough to break up with him, fortunately.
It took a long time for me to be convinced; but once I did say “yes” it went fast. We were engaged for a mere five months, just long enough to plan a very simple wedding. Then I got pregnant on our honeymoon and had a beautiful baby girl nine months later. Now we’ve been married five years, have three children and one miscarried baby in heaven and another baby due in February.
There, Betty, is that enough detail for you?
Photos: Honeymooning in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island