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22 February 2011

My Life's One Great Love - Part 1

I recently stumbled across a fellow blogger's post on the one great love of her life. (I'm a bad person because I didn't record the link or the blog! Blogger fail!) It inspired me to share a bit of my story with my wonderful readers. It's a long story, so I'll post it in three separate parts. 

I met my first love in high school. The spring of eleventh grade, to be precise. We didn’t go to the same school, and we met through a mutual friend. I had been visiting with Sam* at his home when a buddy of his, Todd, stopped by to visit. After I left, Sam call to ask if he could give Todd my number. I said, “Sure,” hoping that instead Sam would call. I had had a crush on him for quite some time but our friendship was too solid to risk messing it up. I was never a big dater in high school. I had two or three “serious” boyfriends and crushes, but how does one really define “serious” in high school? I had many boys who were friends, but not too many boyfriends. In fact, the majority of my friends were boys; I found girls to be deceitful and catty (which, to a large extent, is true today save for a few close chicas).

Well, sometime later, Todd actually called. In all honesty I didn’t remember who he was. He didn’t really make an impression on me when I had first met him, but we chatted on the phone and subsequently had a date. It was crystal clear from the beginning that he was perfect for me. At least in terms of what I thought I was supposed to end up with. A good man who worked with his hands (like my dad), who came from a good, solid family (like myself), and who appreciated the value of a quiet life in the country (like where I was raised). He loved my family. And, more importantly, my family loved him. Our single date quickly turned into exclusive dating. (I think that during this time I was looking for a close connection to help me heal from a traumatic experience in the previous fall.) After high school, he went off to trade school and I started college and our relationship continued.

Within two years, people were already asking us when we were going to get married. Because, as we all know, that is what is supposed to happen next. And I really felt like that was what I was supposed to do. In my naïveté, I was ready to get married and start my life. I was to be a school teacher; he was to be a carpenter. We would get married, buy a house, have some kids, and it would be perfect. Just like Mom and Dad. So that’s what we did in February of my senior year of college.

Only it wasn’t perfect. And we weren’t just like Mom and Dad. We didn’t realize how hard marriage really was. We hadn’t talked about all those things that needed to be talked about before making the leap. We disagreed on money management. We didn’t discuss parenting styles or philosophies or even how many kids we wanted. We didn’t talk about the distribution of labor and chores. We had different ideas of what “fun” was. Looking back (because hindsight is indeed 20/20), I see red flags. But as a young girl who was eager to have her fairytale wedding, those red flags didn’t seem to matter. Little issues became big issues quickly. We both went into marriage thinking it would be easy and that love was enough. But, sometimes it just isn’t.

*all names have been changed to protect the innocent (and the not-so-innocent).
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