Some couples remember exactly when they met, or even have a story around it. I don’t remember the first time I met her. We both went to the same church, and I knew of her before I knew her. She was a college student; I had already graduated. We had different social circles.
She graduated. Some of her friends were friends with some of my friends. We were all part of the same group of singles, and she made an effort to get to know everyone. We talked about books. She liked to read, as did I. We talked about movies. We talked about life. We talked until our favorite ice cream shop closed down and then talked for an hour more standing outside, downtown at midnight.
I liked her. She just wanted to be friends. I understand. I’m good at being friends. It’s safer that way anyway.
I move. To New Zealand. Everyone jokes that I’m going to meet a girl and get married. I’m enjoying single life. We keep in touch. Long distance friendships are not always easy, but we both invest the time to make it work.
I’m job hunting. It looks like I might need to come back to the US temporarily to switch jobs. Fine. I’m loving New Zealand, though, so I can’t wait to come back. I get a phone call.
It’s her. She doesn’t want to be just friends anymore.
I come back to America. We figure out where we fit in each other’s lives. We start dating.
I move back to New Zealand. Dating long distance. Long. Distance. It’s not easy. Even harder than long distance friendships. We both invest the time to make it work. It does work.
I cannot have my cake and eat it too. Either I’m free to travel the world, live in exciting foreign countries, and enlarge my boundaries; or I’m committed to a relationship. A relationship with a woman who does not want to live in a foreign country and who is happy with her boundaries in their present location. Travel, yes. Relocation, no.
I choose the relationship. Move back to the US. Again.
I ask her to marry me. She says yes. So we do that.
That is not where the story ends. That is where the story begins.
There’s nobody I would rather be quarantined with. Good marriages are not found, they’re built. My wife and I have worked hard and built a solid one. I have no advice for others on how to be as lucky as I am, other than choose a spouse of extraordinarily strong character.
Happy birthday to my wife.