Happy Friday! I'm at a retreat deep in the woods of south Georgia getting my camp on! Here to check in today is Ray, who married my great friend Jamie. I talked a lot about their relationship after their wedding, but I'm always willing to reiterate again just how much I love them together. Some people just click and everyone around them sees it. That's Jamie and Ray. Today he's talking about he knew she was the one. His post brought tears to my eyes - I love hearing how she knew our girl was his girl.
And, in case you've missed them, catch up on the previous Five Facts from a Guy posts. (also I know some of my internal back links are broken - the designer who moved my blog said it should be fixed today. Sorry for the delay!)
1. Respect. I do not believe that any relationship can exist without mutual respect, but the respect that I had for her from the start was very different than any other relationship I had been in.
When we met my wife was living at home and teaching in the suburbs. I still shutter at the thought of the few weeks I lived at home after graduation, but as much as I dreaded that experience I respected her for it. When I was the impatient guy that needed to move right to the city and go out 6 nights a week, she was the thoughtful measured girl who lived at home and saved money. While I wanted to go out and act like an animal and spend every penny that I made she was thinking about the long term and doing what was best personally and professionally. I have so often thought about how much more money I would have saved and how many hangovers I would have avoided had I gone that route and the lack of everything that prevented me from doing that I immediately respected in her.
2. Go with the flow. This is not always easy for me and I am pretty regimented in some of my routines and beliefs, but she became a calming presence.
My wife has celiac disease and when we first started dating in 2010 gluten free everything was not nearly as prevalent as it is today. After a few dates we were out in the city and decided to go to lunch. We picked a place with a cool patio and great food, sat down and she ordered…a salad. It was the only thing she could eat on the whole menu! I was mortified and felt awful, but she just shrugged it off and went with it. I could have never reacted with the ease that she did and since day one she has been a calming presence for me and my anxiety.
3. I wanted to be better. It is a little thing and we all have many superficial concerns when we are dating someone, new or not so new, but for me I started to think about the more substantial improvements that I could make in my life personally and professionally and it was no longer just about what I wanted.
When Jamie and I met I was in a pretty comfortable job and doing really well, but it was not challenging and I felt kind of stuck in neutral professionally. I had a level of comfort and freedom that kept me where I was, but that fall when I got my “raise” I thought, there is no way I could ever support a family if I stay on this track. It was no longer just about my own goal setting; my professional goals had become bigger than just myself and I was starting to think about what I could do to build the best foundation for us, not just me.
4. Subconsciously thinking long term. I am not talking about planning a vacation for next spring, but in the back of my head I started contemplating timelines. Serious timelines.
It was not that I was actively planning out every detail of my life, but I started to consider how long we were together, how old I would be when we got married, how old I would be before we decided to have kids, and the list went on and on. I was imagining major milestones in my life and she was a part of all of them. I stopped short of naming these hypothetical children, but I will admit that I was concerned about them have celiac disease and whether or not I would ever be able to have a beer with my hypothetical son. And then, the most startling thing that when I stopped and thought about what I had just imagined none of it seemed weird at all. And I was happy.
5. Just look at her. From the very first time we met I was laughing and admiring her and it has not stopped.
The first night we met there was a large group of us around my kitchen island taking shots, but Jamie, thinking she was crafty, ran 10 feet over to the sink and dumped hers out and then pretended to take it. When she turned around I was staring at her and we both began cracking up. The laughter turned into a serious discussion about teaching and working with kids and her passion was so obvious and I could tell that these kids really meant something to her. I was laughing, I was attracted, and I was hooked.
We were dating for about three months before I attended a wedding with Jamie in Naperville and met her parents. Since Jamie was in the wedding party and was off taking pictures, her mom took the time to introduce me to some of their family. After introducing me as “Jamie’s friend” three or four times she threw in the towel and started introducing me as “Jamie’s boyfriend”. I didn’t react or argue I just went with it.
Later that night at the wedding I told Jamie that her mom had started introducing me as her boyfriend and there was a look of shock and “oh god what do I do?!?” on her face. I smiled and told her that, I guess, it was accurate and she saved us the trouble of the whole drawn out conversation. When she smiled back and me with her eyes lit up then it was I who threw in the towel because I knew that I was toast and this was it.