Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! AnnMarie and I thought it would be fun to share our love stories with you to celebrate. You can read AnnMarie’s love story here.
Don’t you love hearing how other people met and fell in love? Those kinds of stories are some of my favorites. Because people just light up from inside when they share them. Like, you can almost feel the love shining through their eyes and smiles! So I want you to picture me right now with a sappy smile on my face while I’m typing. Cause that’s what I’m doing. And the smile goes all the way up to my eyes.
It has something to do with suction.
Oh, get your minds out of the gutter! LOL! My first job after college was as an assistant manager at Macy’s department store. Then they filed for bankruptcy and my position was eliminated at the beginning of 1992. I quickly found a new job selling Rainbow vacuums. I figured it would be a way to earn some money while I was looking for something else.
About a month into my vacuum sales job, I was doing a demonstration for potential new hires. There was this cute guy in the group who kept smiling at me. And he decided to work there for the summer. His internship had fallen through and he still had one semester left at college.
Oh. Did I mention that I was engaged? Yeah. Plot twist!
Anyway, there was a group of 5 of us who were newer to the company. After work, we would often go out for a drink together. I always invited my fiancee to join us. And he always declined. I got to know my co-workers a little better and we all had fun working together.
Sometimes we would go out as teams to canvas neighborhoods for potential prospects. Quite a few times, I was paired up with that cute guy (his name was Kevin, by the way). I may have been engaged, but I wasn’t blind. ? And he had a long-term girlfriend so it was perfectly safe.
One Enchanted Evening…
About 6 weeks after we began working together Kevin and I went to do a demonstration for a potential client together. It was in a sketchy area and I was uncomfortable going alone. He didn’t have a demonstration scheduled that evening so he offered to come along.
Then the people blew us off! There was no one home when we arrived. Or at least no one answered the door. ? We didn’t want to go back to the office and make phone calls, so we went to a driving range to hit some golf balls. And then stopped at Baskin Robbins for some ice cream before heading back to the office.
It was the end of June. It was hot out. And we sat in his old El Camino eating our ice cream in the air conditioning while listening to John Miller call the Orioles game. After a while, he said he needed to tell me something.
Y’all? I had some serious butterflies going on in my belly. Because even though I was engaged to someone else, I was feeling a pull towards this guy. I had a suspicion about what he was going to say.
He turns to me and tells me he’s developed feelings for me. And he asked me to choose him and give us a chance.
I didn’t know what to say. This is not something you can really prepare for!
I told him I wasn’t ready to break my engagement. Yes, I was attracted to him too, but I was afraid to leave my comfortable relationship for a “what if”. I suggested we give it a few weeks and see if we were still having feelings for each other before hurting the other people in our lives.
Do you believe in fortune cookies?
The next day I confided to an older woman who worked in our office. I asked her what I should do. She said it was a decision I had to make for myself. She wisely reminded me, marriage is a huge commitment. And if I was having feelings for someone else when I was engaged, maybe that relationship wasn’t as strong as it should be.
I continued to waffle. I truly cared for my fiancee. But I kept wondering “what if.” And my friend’s words stuck with me.
About a week later we were all eating Chinese food for dinner at the office while working the phones to schedule demonstrations. I opened my fortune cookie and the little slip of paper inside said: It’s not too late to change your course.
I’ve never put any stock in fortune cookie fortunes. But wow, this felt like more than a coincidence!
Yes, breaking an engagement would be hard. But we hadn’t even made any real plans for the wedding, even after having been engaged for almost 6 months. Wasn’t that saying something right there? And a divorce down the road would be much harder. Because my friend was right: this should be a time in a relationship when our feelings are strong!
Changing Our Course
Kevin broke up with his girlfriend the week after our conversation. I ended things with my fiancee about a week later. And we took a chance on a new relationship together the next day.
We were inseparable the rest of the summer until he returned to college five and a half hours away. I drove to Virginia Tech to see him a few times that semester, he came home a few weekends, and we met in the middle once.
Our feelings only got stronger for each other the more time we spent together. I think we spent more time talking and sharing during the first few months than I had with my ex the three years we’d been together.
After Kevin graduated, we got an apartment together. Because let’s face it, when you know, you know. We both felt a sense of inevitability with each other. Some people might call it being soul mates. I don’t know if there’s a name for it? But we connected with each other in a way neither of us had ever experienced before. We just clicked.
Making it Official
In April of 1994, we went to my college’s Alumni Weekend. It was so fun catching up with old friends! So many of them had gotten engaged or married in the past year. I asked Kevin on the drive home when he was going to get around to asking me to marry him, LOL. We had that kind of relationship with each other.
He glanced over at me and joked he didn’t know why the man was always supposed to ask the woman to marry him.
I sat there for a moment thinking.
And then I said, “You’re right. Will you marry me, Kevin?”
He Said Yes
He laughed and said that yes, he would. And we got in touch with our parents when we got home (there weren’t cell phones then!). We set a date, May 6 of 1995.
Which means we’ll be celebrating our 24th anniversary this year!
Love is a Choice
Over these 27 years together, the one thing I’ve learned is that love is more than just a feeling. Love is an action. Love is a choice. Each day presents an opportunity to choose how we will treat our spouse.
There will be days when we disagree. And days when we drive each other nuts. There will be days when we aren’t looking or feeling our best. And there will be days when we’ve lost those giddy feelings when a relationship is brand new. Each of those days offers a choice for how we’ll react.
I chose this man to love, and to marry, and to spend my life with back in July of 1992. And so I continue to choose him, and our love, and our life together even on the days when it may be a challenge.
I’ve learned that making it through the harder times in life together, as a team, makes those good times together that much sweeter. And even 27 years later there are times when I see him walking towards me that those butterflies start fluttering around again in my belly!
So here’s to choosing love, and each other, for the rest of our years. ❤