Have you ever sat and reflected on what it might have been like if you married someone else? I’ve thought about it before, and I’m always grateful that I didn’t. Everyone’s journey to “the one” is slightly different, and many are searching for that person. “How do you know when they are the one?” is a common question. For me, everything just clicked in a way that it didn’t with other guys, and I felt so at peace about it.
I’ll tell you a little about some of my experiences, in no particular order.
With some guys, it was almost immediately apparent that I’d rather gouge my eyes out than endure a relationship with them. Others it wasn’t quite so simple. I think of one guy who there wasn’t anything in particular I disliked about him. We had a lot of common interests, shared the same values, he was respectful, physically attractive, and he took me to Phantom of the Opera. Sure winner, right? I honestly couldn’t pinpoint anything that bugged me about him. But there was just something missing. The time I spent with him felt almost hollow. I was willing to keep spending time with him to see if anything changed, but he moved away for school and that ended it. When he got a girlfriend, I was surprised at what I felt–nothing. I really didn’t care one way or the other. Sometimes there’s no real reason why it isn’t. It simply isn’t.
There were others guys who had crushes on me at one point that I didn’t learn about until way after the fact. I was pretty oblivious to those things. I would just be talking to a guy who would mention it suddenly, and I’d feel slightly guilty as I thought to myself, “Oh…I hadn’t even considered you a possibility.” Some people you just never think of as anything more than a friend. Others were mutual, fleeting crushes that never really lead to anything. Not even so much as a date. I remember one guy I went out with once and it was kind of like when you rescue a dog– they just adore you after that. But I just wasn’t interested in him and didn’t even have a desire for a second date. I felt really bad when I had to tell him, but I knew it would just be harder if I put things off.
There was another with whom I fell fast and hard for, but looking back, it was based on such trivial things. We did have a lot in common, but it was things don’t matter in the long run when it comes to having a deep, lasting relationship. I hardly knew him but I built up this glorified idea of him in my mind. Once I actually got to know him better, I slowly realized I disliked his personality, he was dishonest with me, I didn’t find him attractive, and we had different opinions on a lot of critical issues. The idea in my mind wasn’t who he really was. But even then it was hard to let go because I was so attached to the illusion and kept thinking perhaps it could become reality. It didn’t. Moving away from that relationship was probably one of the best things I could have done in my life and I’m grateful for the wake-up call. Then there was another guy who I had a great rapport with and we engaged in many intellectual discussions. For some time, I lived for my conversations with him. We entertained feelings for each other for awhile but in the end I was pretty sure neither of us would make the other happy and we would do better moving on and not holding each other back. He disagreed and was upset with me when I said we could never work, but I was firm about it. We always got into arguments, and neither of us would have been able to make the compromises necessary for a relationship because we felt too strongly about the things we disagreed on. I haven’t kept tabs on him over the years, but I hope he found happiness and that he has forgiven me.
And then there is my husband. My high-school sweetheart who became my world. I liked him from the very first day I met him freshman year. The more I got to know him, the more I liked him. However I was painfully shy and it took awhile for us to become close. We were more like acquaintances than friends and never saw each other outside of school. Finally, junior year I realized that if I didn’t try to develop the friendship, senior year would come and go and I’d likely never see him again. I grit my teeth past my shyness and asked him for his email address, which I thought was a huge step. Soon I was inviting him to hang out with my friends and I. It didn’t take long after that for us to go on our first date. I was over the moon and just thought he was the most wonderful thing in the world. By senior year, we were dating, in whatever, silly sense of the word that meant in our youthful minds.
By the end of senior year, he dumped me. Whoops! And I have to give him a hard time about the fact that it was done over email. He still gets really embarrassed about that, but I have long forgiven him and just find it funny now. It was just one of many signs that both of us were too immature for a relationship at that time. We kept in touch a little, but not much. He served a mission for our church and I wrote to him once. I didn’t know until later on how much that single letter meant to him. I feel bad that I didn’t write to him more, but I honestly had no idea that it mattered to him that much, and didn’t want to seem like the stalker-ex. A few months after he got home, he messaged me out of the blue one day. At the time I was going to school 3 hours away. We started talking more from a distance, and he finally asked me if I wanted to go out next time I was in town. I shrugged and said whatever, already determined that it wasn’t going to go anywhere.
What I didn’t expect was how much I enjoyed myself on that date. There was one point in the evening where we were talking and he touched my hand and I lost my train of thought. Needless to say I was really confused when I got home. I had thought I was over him. He was history! But there was clearly still something there. On our next date, I had so much fun. I couldn’t remember the last time I had had that much fun on a date, or when I had laughed so much. At the time we went on our first date, he was semi-dating someone else. It was a long-distance relationship and they had both agreed to date other people and explore their options. But he said after that second date with me, he knew he was going to have to break it off with the other girl. He did, and we started to see each other more and more, and I found that when I wasn’t with him, I missed him. I felt restless.
I don’t remember exactly when marriage started coming up in our conversations. It just happened naturally. I didn’t feel shocked or surprised by it. I don’t know if I had one slap-in-the-face moment where I knew I was “in love” (although there is one special experience I might write about some other time), but simply at some point it went from thinking I could live with him to thinking I couldn’t live without him. I couldn’t envision the future without him as part of it and I just knew he was the one I wanted to share my life with. There was no anxiety, which was a weird thing for me because I tend to be a worrier.
As I think of wedding plans, I’m amazed at how smoothly things went. We had set the wedding date 4 months from the time we were engaged, which most people said wasn’t enough time to plan a wedding. But everything clicked into place. When we went to book a reception hall, the ONE date open that month was our wedding date. Same thing with the photographer. Everything I bought for the wedding was on sale, and I wasn’t even searching the sales racks. It just so happened that the things I picked out were on sale. There were countless other little things that I can’t even remember now. Wedding plans obviously aren’t the most important part of the marriage, but it was like the universe was saying, “Yes, this is supposed to happen.”
4 years ago today, I married him, and I have never looked back. I felt so calm and happy on the morning of my wedding! Marriage, of course, is work. There will always be ups and downs. But I can’t think of anyone I would rather share it with. Happy Anniversary to my sweetheart, my best friend in the whole world!