Every love story starts out the same: two people meet. There's a dizzying array of possibilities after that.
Sometimes the connection is instant; other times the pair loathe each other. Sometimes one person doesn't know the other exists. Sometimes it takes a few false starts before the romance becomes apparent. Or maybe they're friends for years before they start seeing each other in a new light.
"Tell me how you met." That was my favorite part of meeting new patients while I was a hospice social worker. Because no two stories were the same, even if they both started out at the same dance hall in Chicago.
I often marvel at how marriages come to be. If he had not stood in that particular corner, if she hadn't been running late for a meeting. Or she was dating someone else but he patiently waited just the same. Or, and this may be my favorite, if she hadn't asked him to dance.
At times, it seems a miracle that people fall in love and walk down the aisle.
On the days that I seem particularly bewildered by the notion of true love, I repeat to myself: it only has to happen once.
I've hated Valentine's Day for a long time. It's a cliche, I know. The single girl hating the Hallmark holiday. This past year I've intentionally appreciated the love already in my life, as inspired by this moving post from Tea. I know that I am very loved, even if my great romance hasn't yet occurred. I am amazed by the wonderful people in my life. Love really is all around us (bonus points if you name the movie).
Something about Valentine's Day makes me feel like friends and family aren't enough compared to Mr. Right. It makes me angry that my mind and heart so easily forget. I don't want to go down that tired road again this year.
In November 2011, I was struck by an idea. My own way of redeeming Valentine's Day. Starting February 1, 2012, I'm kicking off a new series called This Is How We Met.
(The Twitter hashtag will be #TIHWM, since it's apparently not a blog series until you have a hashtag. Or something like that.)
I've asked real life friends and blog friends to share their stories of how they met their spouse. After all, every marriage began with a first date. Something singles can relate to all too well.
I want this series to encourage those of us still looking.There's an intangible quality to why some relationships work out and others don't. Dating can be awkward, complicated, and exciting all in one. I hope that by hearing these stories, you will walk the path before you openly and adventurously. Because, seriously, we don't know how or if it will happen so you might as well enjoy the ride in the meantime.
I also want it to encourage those of you who are married- to look back and reflect on how your relationship has changed and grown since those initial days. Selfishly, I hope that by remembering those days before you knew your spouse was the one, you will better understand the single people in your life.
When I asked my friends to share their TIHWM story, I was blown away by the response. What was to initially be a February feature will now be an on-going series. I am so beyond words excited to share these stories with you.
If you've been married at least one year and you'd like to have your TIHWM story featured here, please read the guest post guidelines. The piece should be between 400-800 words and should include a short bio. If you're really awesome, include a picture of you and your spouse from that time. You can decide which aspect of your dating life to focus on- whether the first time you met was inconsequential, the stuff of fairy tales, or no one believed the relationship would work. Don't give us the overview though- tell us about the beginning of your relationship, before you knew how it would all work out. You don't need to have a blog to contribute.
Submissions for TIHWM are currently closed.
Maybe one day I'll write my own TIHWM post. Until then, I'll enjoy and learn from yours.