Being both a pack rat and sentimentalist is a BAD combination. While going through my boxes of correspondence last week, it occurred to me that maybe I don’t need to hold on to every…single…wedding, baby shower, birthday and holiday card received over the past 15 years. I bravely tossed about 85% of the contents.
Among the saved were dozens of sentimental cards elaborately written and faithfully given to me by DH each year on my birthday, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. While sifting through, I also came across some old, long-forgotten printouts of emails from DH dating back to the early days of our courtship, when our thoughts throughout the day were often disrupted by thoughts of one another, when we’d rush to see each other after work daily, when our hearts were giddiest in each other’s presence. They were short, casual emails, only 2-4 lines long, and yet the most touching and dear because they were spontaneous sweet-nothings.
“Hi sweetie, I got your last page but I’m tied up so I can’t talk right now. I totally miss you too. I wish we didn’t have to go to work. You know, on top of disrupting my life, I’m really starting to resent working late. Wonder why?”
“Hi sweetie. You look great with or without make-up! It doesn’t matter, you make me weak all the time.”
“Hey honey, of course I’ve been stalking you! 😉 Actually, that’s weird. Why would anyone [at church] have suspicions for a “long time” when we’ve only formally been dating a month. Must be the vibes we send each other, the stolen glances and obvious smiles when our gazes meet though but for a split second… I miss you!”
As I perused this correspondence for the first time in over a decade, tears began to well up in my eyes. I sat there on the ground, hand over mouth, choking up — in part because I was moved by his sweet, loving words but mostly because I could not recall the feelings that must have once inspired such doting sentiments. For DH and I – our courtship was fast and furious. We’d each had our share of long-term relationships but at no time during any of them did either of us feel, as we did with one another, the certainty that “this person, (s)he is the one.” So we were each caught offguard when that conviction came for both of us…for one another, so very early on. When, less than a month into dating, DH calmly began, “I hope this doesn’t sound strange or doesn’t scare you off, but I think you’re the one I’ve been praying for my whole life,” the hesitation I would’ve, should’ve felt, with any other, just wasn’t there. “You know, strangely, it doesn’t. Actually, I feel the same way about you.” We were officially engaged within several months and married fifteen months after our first “date”.
And the rest is history.
Right. Love is never that simple, is it? So, this first chapter marks “the honeymoon period” (that is, in the context of dating, not marriage) – when DH and I were deep in the midst of falling in love with one another, when we were utterly clueless as to what the future held for us, when we were not yet married and living together, when we couldn’t fathom what long commutes, work stress, the pursuit of home ownership, the daily grind, and having and raising one, then two, then three, children together would be like…and how all these things would put our love to the test.
So the rest isn’t history. Not yet anyways. It remains history in the making and the end, if we’re lucky, won’t come ’til one of us departs from this earth. But I’ll continue sharing key pieces of our love story to date over the next few weeks. It may be only one woman’s experience and paradigm, but I imagine parts of it may belong to you too, my friend, and if I may be so bold, I imagine that parts of your love story would resonate with me as well.
Before I leave you today, I realize “The Evolution of Love” series has begun with what seems a bit of a “downer”, at least in tone. But stay with me. For while I often joke with friends about our blissful, ignorant honeymoon period, I’m quite grateful for it. And that’s so, even if that stage was more our past than our present and even if I miss it some. For I can’t help thinking that maybe, just maybe, some, or most, of us need a “honeymoon phase” in order to – excuse the cliché – “take the plunge” and steel ourselves to commit to someone “til death do us part.” For if we knew, or if I knew, all that would unfold over the course of marriage (or even just the first dozen years of it), would I nevertheless have been hopeful, brave or strong enough to say “I do”? To be continued…