Saturday, January 25, 2014

Growing Into Love: My Love Story

“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does.  
Love is a battle, love is a war; love is growing up.”
 –James A. Baldwin

Photo Credit: JBYLER Photography renamed Imagery Elixir

Like many young girls, I grew up with a misguided fantasy of what it would be like to fall in love. This illusion was constantly reinforced by the storyline of romance novels and movies which depicted a man and women crossing paths by a serendipity encounter and falling madly in love the moment their eyes met.  I dreamed that one day I too would meet my very own prince charming, and we would live happily ever after.

As fate would have it, I did meet the man I would marry due to an accidental encounter.  I was rushing from work one December day to catch the bus home as I did every evening.  The bus ALWAYS arrived at 7:15 pm.  However, this snowy day it came at 7:00 pm and was gone by the time I reached the bus stop.  I was frustrated by my misfortune and prepared myself for the half hour wait in the frigid weather.  I noticed a young man who looked vaguely familiar arriving at the bus stop and looking a bit lost.  He asked me what time the bus was scheduled to arrive.  We began chatting about the weather and soon found ourselves lost in conversation.  Before separating we exchanged contact information. 

It was definitely not love at first sight, but we did become immediate friends.  Over the next few months we spent many hours chatting and getting to know each other.  I felt comfortable with him, and our relationship was honest and genuine on a level unlike any other I had ever experienced before in my life.  We laughed together, cried together, and soon became best friends. 

While I was not intentionally pursuing a romantic relationship, our friendship organically began to grow into something more.  Five months after our initial meeting, we began our journey as a couple.  It just felt right.  Every day my love for him grew, and I was so incredibly happy.    

After three years of dating, he took me to his hometown in Grenada to introduce me to his family.  I was fascinated by the gorgeous island and was welcomed by his family.  On the last day of our trip, he took me to a breathtakingly beautiful beach in which he asked me to spend the rest of my life with him.  Moments after I say, ”Yes!” a local man who made his living entertaining tourists ventured over to sing a song he made up about us while playing a tune on his ukulele.  It is impossible for me to recall this moment without smiling.

We are madly in love, but we never fell in love.  It was a gradual process that took months, even years to take root and is still growing every single day.  While it is easy to fall in and out of love, it takes a great deal of effort to nurture love and keep it growing for a lifetime.  This summer we will be celebrating five years of marriage and eight years as a couple.  Our journey of love is just beginning, and I am excited to see where the journey takes us.  Each day we strive to cultivate our love so that it may continue to grow.  It has not always been easy, but it has always been worth it.  He is my best friend, my lover, and my hero.  He is my happily ever after.

Photo Credit: JBYLER Photography renamed Imagery Elixir

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