Do you believe in it?
I used to snicker at the idea. But I still remember the first time I saw the man I would end up marrying 5 years ago today. I saw his shoes first. Brown loafers coming down a steep set of stairs. I didn't know what to expect of this man named Nik with the funny accent who had called me in to interview for a position for which I was clearly over-qualified. He later told me that my cover letter sold him: perfect spelling, perfect grammar, perfect punctuation and perfect formatting. To someone who deals with print media those things mean a lot. I remember sitting through the interview feeling embarrassed because I was so flustered by my reaction to him that I couldn't put two words together. He hired me and even though I was his assistant we didn't spend a lot of time together, which I was grateful for seeing as how I couldn't breathe when he walked into the room. I was excrutiatingly, wonderfully, profoundly uncomfortable around him. In a good way.
Six weeks after I started to work for him I found another-- better-- job, and left. A few weeks later I worked up the nerve to call him and ask what he was doing for New Year's Eve. He didn't answer the phone that night and I couldn't quite work up the courage to call again. But as the fates would have it, I met him again at a party a few weeks later and we have been together ever since. After our first date I told a friend that this was the man I was going to marry.
I think about that time a lot these days. How unlikely is it that Love At First Sight would end up as a marriage that really works? Those days when the fresh rush of love offered no hint of the times that were to come seem like just yesterday. When we were preparing to be married, a friend who is a Catholic priest, sent us a "marriage test." We each took the test separately and without comparing answers mailed them off in an envelope to be scored. A few weeks later we received a summary of the results along with a note from our friend that read: "You two will either have a marriage made in heaven or you weren't answering honestly!"
When we took the test I remember thinking that I had no idea how Nik felt about some of the questions. I don't remember if the test asked "What if your child is born with a disability?" or "Would you give up your financial security so that your child might feel more emotionally secure?" or "What if 'Date Nights' turn into 'I need a break' nights?" If it did I probably didn't give them much thought. Those things happened to other people, after all.
But I chose wisely. Or I was in the right place at the right time. Or there was someone watching out for me. Or I was just plain lucky.
Five years ago tonight on that little dance floor at the Inn where we were surrounded by our closest friends I probably couldn't have imagined the ins and outs of our life today. After Oliver was diagnosed with Autism last year I remember reading some scary statistics about how many marriages don't make it. But now I know the answers to all those questions that wouldn't even have occurred to me pre-Oliver and I know for sure how we will weather other challenges that come our way.
I understand now why couples choose to trade vows more than once in their marriage. Nik and I are not the same as we once were -- as a couple or as individuals. We have probably learned more about each other in the last year than some couples learn in a lifetime. And even so, I would do it all over again.