I fell in love with my husband after we were married, which marriage took place 3 weeks after we met for the first time. To marry him was a choice I made once, to stay married to him was a choice I had to make over and over again, but one that strengthened my marriage each time it was made and helped me to fall just a little bit more in love with the man I am currently head over heals for – now nearly eleven years later.
How in the world did I meet AND marry a man in three weeks? Faith. A whole lot of faith. I’m not sure I can describe it better than that – my words don’t do the experience justice, but I will try:
I thought my husband was a serious man when I met him. One of my top priorities if I were to marry a second time is I wanted someone who made me laugh every day. When I met my husband he was pretty solemn, his divorce had only been final 10 days, he wasn’t eating, and he was working early mornings to be home with his boys by noon for the rest of the day. He had made spirituality and being close to God a priority, wanting to feel directions in the next steps he took in his life and feeling a bit misplaced (as all of us who have been through divorce do) in the unexpected turn divorce takes. He’s different from most men I’ve dated, very highly focused on his areas of interest to the point he doesn’t need many breaks – and highly, highly intelligent. His solemness brought out his ability to focus in this odd sort of intensity that gave me a completely wrong impression of who he was (though still great man). That man couldn’t have made me laugh. I was okay with it because I was attracted to his goodness, and the peace I felt when with him. Heaven’s I’m glad I’m not married to that man (though that imaginary solemn good man was sexy too). It only took about a day into our marriage before I realized he was one of the least serious people I had ever met, and heavens he could make me laugh (think putting on my nylons to dance for me as he pulled garbage cans out into what he was sure was an empty street, only to be greeted by headlights of an oncoming car…and other stories I’m sure he doesn’t want me to tell. Oh, and if you’re wondering about the nylons, they didn’t make it.).
We met on August 10, 2008 via an internet Dating Site (kudos to the LDS Planet site – we could be a face for their ads “Marriage in three weeks after sliding into one another’s DM’s, now going on eleven years – who else can offer you that!” Not sure I would have signed up with that slogan, but hey – someone might), we talked all night, met the next day, and then preceded to only leave each other’s sides to get a few hours of sleep each night for the next 3 weeks and four days, until we married on September 4, 2008.
It’s been hard for me to put into words how we made the decision to marry, as the decision was made based on a feeling between us and so few words. There was peace in our relationship. Complete peace. I can’t even say it was partly physical attraction, probably the first normal magnet for couples – it just wasn’t. We were both numb to life, to feeling, to existing; we were in the same space of upside-down-ness and complete world stopping – blah (what better word is there than that to describe your world coming to a complete stop while everyone’s around you keeps spinning). But we liked being together. I enjoyed holding his hand, I felt at home when I held his hand. I enjoyed kissing him, I felt at home when I kissed him. I could talk with him, I could mostly listen to him (an overriding characteristic of our relationship, one perfect for me as I’m a better listener) listen for hours, and I felt overwhelmingly like I was at home. I felt peace, such overwhelming peace. We would lie next to each other, his arm around me, my head on his chest, and talk until we literally drifted off to sleep without a thought. One of us would wake up and realize the inappropriateness of “sleeping together” (no guys we didn’t have sex before we got married, neither did we get married to have sex – can you tell we’ve been asked, or accused of that, often enough for me to blatantly state the truth – not minding who’s innocent eye’s I might embarrass with the statement?) outside of marriage and I would jump up, wake my kids who we’d laid down at bed time somewhere in his home, and I’d drive home – or toward the end of the first week (!!!), he started letting me stay at his home (I had a far drive at the time) and he’d leave and go to his Dad’s who lived near by. We just…fell into place from the moment we met. Like ying and yang, we were halves who somehow fell into a perfect whole. Marriage wasn’t a question. Neither of us remember even deciding to get married, or the conversation where it was decided. We slid into one another’s DM’s one Sunday evening, met the following day, were holding hands like they’d always belonged by Tuesday, and were picking out wedding rings the second Saturday (funny enough we had my cousin and her husband over for games right after getting back with our rings and she says they left sad for me because it was obvious how strongly I felt for him while they thought he didn’t feel the same…little did they know he had just bought both our wedding rings – he just doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve like I do. My sleeve. My collar. My pant leg. Anywhere there’s room.).
I do remember one conversation where marriage, was insinuated…I believe it was the second day we met (how weird does that sound – I just laughed out loud, MARRIAGE ON THE SECOND DAY WERE WE NUTS – the more time that goes on the more ridiculous it sounds; but we were just so…one…from day one that it wasn’t weird when we were together). We were sitting in his living room and he was talking about this desire he had to continue the flow of life as if it hadn’t stopped, as if he’d just come to a stop light on this straight highway and then continued going rather than crashed and shifted courses. I had not only felt the same desire, but I had also pictured it in the same way he described it. As he was describing it, it was like he was pulling words from the most private part of my heart and I knew, without even consciously putting it into words, I just knew – I had found my green light. Birth, preschool, elementary, high school, mission, college, marriage, babies, grand babies…the highway of life – that’s the one that we both had this innate desire to not pause, for us or especially our babies, (for our babies – I don’t think any of this was about us, I think we were meant to continue on for our perfect and deserving babies) but to continue moving on in fluid motion as pictured when we were young (tying in all the new strings such as exes, and such)…and that’s exactly what we did. I suppose we got married for that reason. And then we fell in love.
I felt a lot for him when we got married, peace when with him, joy at our compatibility, excitement for our future, awe at what a good father he was; an overwhelming amount of the good things that made it easy to jump into this thing we’ve somehow turned into a successful marriage head first. It was after we were married that I learned how he felt and dealt with pain, (most recently the pain from his divorce) how he argued, what he did when he was angry, what made him angry, his likes, his dislikes – I had to learn it all after we were married and there were many a times I wanted to just give up. It was hard to sleep next to a man and at moments feel I barely knew him (I did). There were many times in that first year I would let those moments get to me and I would start thinking about how easy it would be to divorce again and move on again (be better than me, don’t go there!), pretty soon those thoughts would have vigor behind them and I would feel like I just couldn’t go on because of some petty little argument we would have gotten into, I would create a mountain out of a mole hill, so to speak. But right as things started to peak I would have a nagging sense that I needed to pray, if I was going to do this, if I was going to leave and change everything for my kids and I once again, I needed peace that it was the right decision, so I would find myself in my closet away from everyone praying for that peace and justification of my thoughts and frustrations at my husband – and every time, without fail, all of those feelings which had prompted me to marry him would return and I would feel peace, but not peace about leaving, rather the same overwhelming peace that spoke to my heart of what a good man my husband was and how one we truly are together. That peace that I described as “home” when I met him, that peace that made me marry him – that peace that screams to me there is and has to be a God because this one experience (not to mention many more) stands testimony to His existence and His perfect plan. He knew me. He knew my husband. He knew we made one, and He had patience enough to remind me of that again and again.
So after once again feeling that peace, I would make the choice. The conscience decision to stop my negative thoughts, to apologize to my husband for whatever my part in my argument had been, and to show him the love I felt for him as I saw him when I was on my knees. The more and more frequent this habit became of choosing to not allow the negative thoughts in, to accept my husbands flaws and to see him for the good he is – the stronger my love for him has become until one day I woke up and realized I was laying next to my best friend, my better half, and the man I was totally in love with. I think somehow I loved the man I married, somehow through how whole I felt with him there was true love there even after only three weeks – but it took choosing him more than just once until I fell in love with him totally and completely.
A strong marriage is a choice. A choice to love your partner as they are, to stay blind to flaws that are inconsequential, and to be willing to change yourself so you can be a better partner. My marriage may have started out different than most, but I would say going on eleven years and having been through a lot with each other, we are probably now stronger than a lot of couples because we’ve chosen one another again and again, we’ve been willing to make changes to ourselves for each other, and we’ve accepted one another as we are. Marriage is a choice you make once, and then a choice you will make a million times after as you choose your partner over anger, over friends, over yourself, etc,. etc, etc.. You are meant to be one, that is the plan, and as you continually choose each other that is what you will become. Take it from someone who made that biggest choice after three and a half weeks, and doesn’t regret it, rather cherishes the decision and the many moments that have come after. My husband is my best friend, my partner in crime, my love. I wish for everyone to have what I have with him, because it makes life worth living. Make the choice guys. Choose your partner first, choose your partner every time.