The surprising birth of a lasting love

Twenty-five years ago this week, Patrick and I were lounging on a Maui beach, toasting to our new marriage with frozen Mai Tais.

I knew I had found my soul mate when we did a wedding budget, planned the honeymoon first, and used the leftover funds for the ceremony and reception.

Hawaii honeymoon framed

Going to Hawaii was a big hairy deal

How was our shallow relationship born so many years ago?

I credit the YMCA and Jay Leno.

I was a single mother and exercised three times a week at the Y to give me strength to handle the rigors of raising a 6-year-old son. In between free weights and the treadmill, a nice guy approached me and started a conversation. He was cute and polite and never left a Cybex machine without a thorough wiping.

One day he told me he was going to an upcoming performance of Jay Leno and offered me a ticket for the 8:00 show.

What I heard: I have an extra ticket and need to give it to someone. It might as well be you.
What he meant: I like you and am asking you out.

I accepted the ticket and when he said he’d pick me up at 7:30, his true intentions bonked me on the head like a poorly executed lateral pull-down.

“You mean like a date?” I blubbered.

With a look of determination, he responded, “Yes, like a date.”

I was excited about going to see Jay Leno, but reserved about the ‘date.’ My opinion that he wasn’t my type was solidified when he drove to my door in a Chevy pickup truck.

I tried to stereotype him as a redneck, but he didn’t fit the mold. He was an engineer, quiet spoken, and when he opened the door for me no beer cans tumbled to the ground. We made light conversation on the drive to the venue, and then he casually dropped a bombshell.

“My entire family will be sitting with us tonight, my two brothers, their wives, and my parents.” I had to go to the chiropractor to get my neck adjusted after I snapped my head around, examining him for tiny horns hidden in his thick dark hair.

What kind of monster was I entrusting my life with for the evening? What could I do? I was trapped but I wanted to see Jay Leno, so I reasoned this was the price I was going to pay for a fifth-row seat.

As we filed into row F his family greeted me with a warm welcome. Two minutes before show time a man with the imprint of a snorkel mask on his face sailed in wearing mismatched shorts, shirt and a broad grin declaring he was the family patriarch.

We howled through the performance and Patrick told me how much he liked Jay as a comedian because his humor didn’t rely on crude obscenities to make people laugh.
Score 1 point.

He took me to Pat’s Pizza after the show without his family.
Score 1 point.

He didn’t tease me when I wolfed down a black olive and onion pizza.
Score 1 point.

I was able to completely be myself or I would have ordered a salad.
Score 1000 points.

When I added up his earned points I said yes to a second date. When he told me it would be the two of us without any surprise guests, he scored a winning point.

Patrick and Molly at the gala 2016

Happy anniversary to the love of my life, still a winner after twenty-five years.

How did you and your partner meet? How long were you together before you met his or her side of the family?

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47 thoughts on “The surprising birth of a lasting love

  1. I loved every minute of reading this post. I too met my husband as a single woman with a young son. Though we didn’t meet at the gym we do have fitness in common. I love that you could be yourself, that he was himself and you’ve had a loving and lasting relationship. (Now, I have to ask myself, how many times can I use the word “love” in one comment.) 🙂

  2. What a great story! And, looking at the original posting date, happy (almost) anniversary again! My (now) hubs met my parents after a few dates, out for drinks. It was pretty low pressure– I didn’t want to scare him off too soon! 😉

    • Our anniversary is actually today, Becca, and thank you for reading and commenting. You were wise to give your husband a few dates before plunging him into meeting the relatives. Luckily, it worked for us, but it might not for everyone. 🙂

  3. Happy 26th anniversary to the both of you! Hubby and I are only 3 years ahead of you (’89), and he met my parents on our first date (given he came to my house for dinner before we went out with some friends of mine). Funny that family seems to be the litmus test! 😀

  4. This is so sweet Molly!! I love a good ‘how you met your partner’ story. Congrats and may you have many more anniversaries together. We celebrated 37 years in January 2017 I was a mere slip of a child at only 19, but we’re still going strong ❤️

  5. Olive and onion? I guess we never would have gotten married because I would have teased you about that 😉 1000 points to you as well for dealing with the full family. In the end it must have been a relief to have that “vetting” out of the way.

    • Yes, Anna, black olive and onion remain my favorite pizza toppings to this day. And I am a big onion lover in all things actually….red, white, vidalia, scallions, shallots. Yum! My husband truly loves me that’s for sure. And it was a relief to know what kind of family I was getting involved in. Thanks for the comment.

  6. Molly, I loved this so much. Patrick sounded like a keeper from the first date. I LOVE that you guys planned the honeymoon first and with leftover money, figured out the wedding and reception. You’re my kind of people. Great post.

  7. Congrats and you are right they do come along when you least expect it. I had been recently divorced when I met my now husband by chance on the Internet. We became best friends first and lovers later and only then did I realize what love was truly about.

  8. Everyone loves a love story and yours was wonderful Molly – so happy for you and your lovely man and 25 years of wedded bliss. I met my husband in a tiny country town – he was the local radio DJ and used to play me a song or make a disguised comment when he was on air. I was smitten!

  9. My husband and I met on OkCupid. I had just exited a bad relationship and a boyfriend was the very last thing on my mind…until I saw him. I knew after date 2 that he was my soulmate, whether I was ready for him or not.

    Happy belated anniversary!!

    • That is a sweet love story Amber. So glad you found a good one and didn’t deny yourself the relationship because of a bad prior experience. It is so worthwhile to be open to the blessings that come our way. Thanks for the comment and for the anniversary wishes.

    • Thank you Roxanne. We definitely have to get together with you and Hubs. We will have a blast! I’ll let you know when we are heading down your way and you do the same if you are up here. XO

  10. I was a widow at 42 and had been a single mom for nearly 10 years getting kids through school and college. I was in need of a new stove, but couldn’t afford a new one, so I went to an estate house auction with a friend, on a beautifuly fall day to see if I could find a stove. I hadn’t been to an auction for years and found myself rescuing boxes that no one would buy — each for a dollar. The stove went too high, but I stayed to pick up some treasures.

    After I had accumulated a number of boxes, I decided I should take some to my vehicle. As I was hauling boxes to my Blazer, out of nowhere this guy asked me if he could help me carry my treasures. We got them into the car and he disappeared as quickly as he had appeared.

    I didn’t give it much thought until about a month later when I went to another auction — and as I was carrying my “crap” to the car — he appeared again. This time he stayed long enough for me ask him to join me for coffee. We chatted over coffee and he asked if I was going to the next auction in a couple of weeks — I said no I had company coming.

    I did not go to an auction until January again — no did I hear or see him. When my friend invited me to an antique auction, I thought of him again — and this time wore a pretty blue sweater and watched for him. He was there, but it took him until almost the end of the auction to say hi and finally ask for my number.

    We’ve been married for 5 years in Sept.

    • I love your sweet story, Mary. You really got to me when you wrote about wearing the pretty blue sweater, and so glad you had a happy new beginning 5 years ago. You two are still newlyweds! Happy almost 5 year anniversary. XO

  11. I love this story of how you and Patrick met, Molly. I’m not sure I ever heard the whole story? Probably knew it at the time, but after 25 years, no surprise that I’ve forgotten. I think the biggest challenge must have been when Patrick met our family!! Now THAT was a monumental test of his fortitude under stress! Twenty-five years later he seems to be handling it very well. lol Seriously, I’m very happy you made it through the first date without freaking out. Patrick was/is a super addition to the family. We needed that little pool of serenity in the midst of the family chaos! Love to both of you and Congratulations.

  12. That’s a truly lovely and entertaining story. What a perfect match. You paint a great picture of the Jay Leno night – the family thing must have freaked you out! I would have had the same reaction when the ticket was offered, assuming it was just a free ticket.

    The night I met my husband, 16 years ago now, I had gone to take pictures of a band for a column I wrote at the time. Garry approached me and asked who I was, what was I doing etc and when I finished my job, we hung out together talking about our common love, music. It was August 2000.

    At the end of the night, he told me he had tickets to see The Who at Wembley Arena and asked if I wanted to go. I didn’t even know they were touring but said yes, that would be great thanks.

    It turned out that the gig was in NOVEMBER, so I started getting a little jumpy thinking, why is this guy asking me for a date in November when it is only August now and we just met! But exactly 1 year and 10 days later, we were married! And, like you, I have been blessed with the most wonderful soul mate I could have been given.

  13. You were meant for each other, and still are! Wonderful photos. Love your blog, Molly.
    George and I met at a friend’s house in 1979, shortly after each of us had been boating on Prince William Sound in Alaska. He had been kayaking, with a female friend; I had been sailing, with a female friend. We were both in awe of this magnificent wild place so close to Anchorage. We were married on there on Pt Nowell in 1988, early in the kayak trip while my hair was still clean! This summer marked our 37th year of paddling- still in synch in a double kayak- on Prince William Sound. Thanks for asking.

    • Yes, Theda. That is how it happened for me. I was pretty content with my life when I met Patrick and not prepared to find true love at the Y. When I realized he enhanced my life I took the plunge and have never looked back. XOXO

  14. What a great story, Molly.

    My husband and I met at work, where I was a public health nurse and he was in environmental health. We chatted at lunch and worked together on specific projects. Like you, I was a single mother at the time, and not looking at him as dating material. When a number of my co-workers ganged up on me and suggested we would make a good pair, I came up with many reasons why it wouldn’t work. But, love won out. Over time, I realized he really was different than the others, and just right for me. Next month will be our 20th anniversary.

    He introduced me to his family a few months into our dating relationship. Since my family lived in another state, I don’t think he met them until we were engaged.

    Happy 25th anniversary to you.

    • I love your story, too, Crystal. Sounds like your coworkers had great instincts and so glad you met your ‘just right for you’ mate. It is a precious commodity. I’m happy for you meeting your respective families came later. It was a bit of a shock to meet his family on the first date, but I love them all. Happy 20th anniversary to you (early).

  15. Happy Anniversary! Love the story and the great resolve you showed overcoming your stereotypes of men that drive pick ups LOL. Raising a glass to you and the hubby for another 25 years!

    • Thank you Gary. I am glad I overcame my stereotype and we even went on to buy a pickup after we were married. We don’t have one now, but Patrick has been hinting around that he really needs one so there may be another in our future. Cheers!

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