Imagine a young version of me with post-breakup short hair. Like, boy short. I was newly graduated from college, had just finished a multiple month stint getting over mono (thanks, ex), and was working at THE Mayo Clinic.
It was a precarious stage of life. I was old enough to have a full time job that dealt heavily on the foggy line between life and death; yet, young enough where I was still trying to establish who I was and what was important. I spent many a day leaving work feeling totally incompetent.
But when I look back, it was the best of times. I lived in a quaint townhome, just a five minute walk from work. It was bright and airy in the spring and summer and warm and cozy in the winter months.
My roommate, Ally and I were close friends. Dinner was sometimes popcorn and sometimes hamburger helper. It wasn’t out of question to be in my pajamas about ready for bed only to be asked to join a group of friends at the strip of bars in downtown Rochester. Oh, the energy I had, back in the day.
Life was near perfect, but it was missing something. Or should I say, someone.
I was encouraged by a friend to create an online dating profile. I’m a rather risk adverse person. It seemed daring. Almost too daring. But, on the other hand, I was already single… so what did I have to lose?
In walks Chad.
I was drawn to his profile by his cute picture, specifically, his smile. He looked like a fun guy and I couldn’t hold it against him that he was from Iowa.
We started messaging.
Well, actually, I messaged him first. My first words to Chad were, “What does an actuary actually do?”
Because, side-note, I thought an actuary took care of birds.
First we messaged back and forth on the website (eHarmony). Then, he gave me his number, prefacing it with, “Well, you don’t seem like some crazy person…”
Such a romantic. Little did he know what he was getting into.
You know how they say you just know when you meet your future spouse? I’d have to agree.
Our first in-person date was at a coffee shop in Rochester, MN.
Being the cautious person I am, I planted an undercover friend at the table directly next to us.
It was a cloudy January afternoon. I shivered on my walk to the coffee shop, but not because it was cold. The nerves of a first date are the worst.
I stepped into the coffee shop, inhaled the smell of espresso and tried to exhale my nerves. My eyes darted around. First, they rested on undercover friend. Check; security covered.
Next, my gaze rested on Chad. His blue eyes were more piercing than I had noted in his dating profile pictures. His smile was just as reassuring.
Conversation was easy. Chad had a calming presence. It was clear he was extremely intelligent, but not in an overbearing or cocky way. Best of all, he was funny.
Our first date was supposed to just be coffee. But it transitioned to checking out a book sale, then, bowling, and finally dinner. As we said goodbye, I knew he was the one.
Chad drove down from Minneapolis to Rochester for a date EVERY WEEKEND. Eventually, I moved to Minneapolis to be closer to him (and my family).
When he proposed, I can’t say I was shocked (because I picked out a ring and told him he needed to propose by April so we could have a Fall wedding.) Also of note… I bought my wedding dress before he proposed. Maybe I’m the cocky one in our relationship.
Our wedding was amazing. When I think about it, I am bombarded with memory clips of a snowy day, walking down the aisle and thinking to myself, “This is the most beautiful scene”. I remember sitting on the altar, listening to one of the readings and tightly grasping Chad’s hand, trying to stop my own hand from shaking.
And I remember dancing. A lot of it. We danced so much that my calves were sore for a week. I literally LIMPED around for the first week of our honeymoon because of my unconditioned legs.
When the night was over, I felt a pang of sadness when I realized this iconic day in our life was done. (Which is why every year I ask Chad if we can do a vow renewal / wedding do over.)
Marrying Chad was easily the best decision I’ve made in life.
He is the most patient person I know; and thank goodness for that, in an estrogen saturated house full of girls and a wife who can get a little feisty and hangry at times.
He is a perfect partner: a great listener, hilarious, patient, and eats the broccoli soup I make despite growing up on a beef farm. He laughs at my jokes and gives the best hugs.
Like parenthood, we didn’t fully understand what we were getting into when we got married.
I am no expert on marriage, but in our 6 years together I have learned:
- It is always easier to get along when we do fun things together. Furniture shopping, for example, IS NOT FUN. We try to balance out the not funs with funs.
- Date night is a must, ESPECIALLY after kids.
- Avoid going to bed mad at each other.
- Choose humor in the tedious situations that could turn into arguments.
Ok, these are boring. Let me give you the real lessons I’ve learned:
- It is better to ask the other person if they know how to swim (well) BEFORE you jump out of a boat into the Atlantic ocean. This piece of advice is both literally and figuratively. Sorry, Chad. I am glad you survived our honeymoon.
- The question, “Where do you want to go for dinner?” sparks the most marital conflicts and should be avoided at all costs.
- When you got your driver’s license, you thought you were done with the “behind the wheel” lessons. But then you got married and now you have a permanent instructor.
- “Fine” needs to be re-defined in the dictionary. “A passive aggressive way of insinuating you are thoroughly NOT pleased with the current situation”
- Do not ever wake a sleeping spouse unless there is blood or someone is actively dying.
- How to start war: Drink the last refrigerated diet coke and don’t replace it.
- Buy the remote finder. It will save you years of therapy.
- Also, HIRE MOVERS.
- Any question that begins with, “Do you know where my….” implies that you stole it and hid it out of spite. When in reality, it is exactly where they left it last. OR, it was moved it to its correct location. Disclaimer: “correct location” is subject to change. I will not be held responsible for any lost or damaged items.
- Before marriage, if you watch the TV show “Snapped” you will think the killers are psychotic. 1 month after marriage, you will understand.
All kidding aside, the past 6 years have been the best years of my life. I’ve loved a lot, learned a lot, and hopefully have become a somewhat better person (thanks to my sweet spouse).
Happy Anniversary, Chad Michael. I love you cosmos.
PS- I still don’t understand what actuaries actually do. My basic understanding is this: spreadsheets.