When I was in high school, I never had boyfriends. I dated about two people for approximately ten seconds, and that was my track record. My social scene back then largely consisted of performing in the marching band during halftime of the football games and going to the bowling alley with the other members of the school play. You get the idea.
Daria Morgendorffer and Angela Chase (pre-Jordan Catalano): two girls who hit pretty close to home for me in the high school years.
Once I got to college, though, I found myself with a boyfriend (Mr. O!) almost immediately. Considering how young we both were--I was actually still a few weeks short of my eighteenth birthday!--and how little experience we each had with serious (or.....any) relationships, it really sort of boggles my mind to think about how we got to be here, at this point in our lives, planning our wedding.
I think the process of putting marriage on the table is different for the really-young-when-we-met brides and the the first-real-boyfriend brides (or those, like me, who are both!) than for people who meet when they're a little older and wiser. I can promise you that when I was seventeen, the word "husband" was not, under any circumstances, crossing my mind. So how did I get here? I can't speak for Mr. O, but I can give you my perspective on the major experiences across the years that got me to the point of wanting to be his wife.
Year One: This Guy is Awesome
Like I said, back in the early days, "forever" was nonexistent to me. But I did find myself really, really liking him. Things between us were easy and fun. Something I've always cherished is the absence of drama and conflict in our relationship; instead, it was mellow and calm. Things just worked. We both loved trying new things and having little adventures, and we spent a lot of time laughing.
Year Three: Bon Voyage!
As a junior in college, I had the opportunity to fulfill one of my dreams--studying abroad for a semester (are there any other Semester at Sea alums out there in the hive?!). Mr. Octopus and I were separated for three and a half months, often going for long stretches of time without communicating at all. It was really hard for both of us, but he never said a single unsupportive word. His only message, ever, was how thrilled and excited he was for me. He was so selfless in his efforts to make the experience joyful for me, and I was so humbled by it.
Here are two little doodles Mr. O drew and e-mailed to me while I was studying abroad. It shows him, missing me, with little hearts above his head at Pitt, and me, missing him, with little hearts above my head on the ship. I ugly-cried for about two hours after receiving this.
Years Five and Beyond: Las Vegas
As college was ending, we knew we had to make a decision about where our relationship was going. I had been accepted to Teach for America, and I really wanted to join. We chose: I would accept the offer, and he would come with me. TFA sent us to Las Vegas, and we moved two thousand miles to live together for the first time. We had some really great times, and we had some really hard times. We worked through all of it, the little mundane everyday things, and the big, major, life-decision things. We built a life together. And I still have more fun with him than with anyone else I know.
And that's how I realized: this man is my other half, my best friend, and the love of my life. He's my family. In the first few years, we both went through some brief periods of wondering if this was truly the relationship we wanted, or only the relationship we knew, but as time progressed, I became certain: it's the relationship I want, and I want it forever. Every time we go through something, good or bad, we get to know each other a little bit better, we communicate a little easier, and we're a little more bonded than we were before. Every day of our relationship is a choice, and every day, I choose him. I'm so excited to get married.
How did you know that your significant other was the one you wanted to marry?