I enjoy a romantic comedy every now and again as much as the next gal, but I have to admit I often find myself thinking that Hollywood gets love very wrong. I’m a little dubious about the idea of love at first sight even though my own parents insist that they knew they would marry each other at their first meeting. I know people can experience strong attraction when they first meet someone. But love? I’m not so sure.
In my own love story, there wasn’t that magic moment at our first meeting in which we both knew the other was “The One.” I don’t even remember well the moment when my husband Chris and I were actually introduced to one another in college. He was the the stereotypical shy and quiet computer science major. But he liked writing poetry, so our student club president brought him into our group composed of English majors. We went to some fun social things together with the rest of the English club, but there certainly was nothing special between us. I didn’t think he would be the man I would one day marry. In fact, for most of the first year I knew him we would join the rest of the English club members but barely said more than ten words to each other.
It was quite a while before we found ourselves in love with each other. Near the end of the school year, we began to email each other. Maybe the medium of the computer helped Chris feel comfortable enough to actually say more than two words at a time to me. We became friends, and eventually he became my best friend. We came to know each other’s likes and dislikes, one another’s personalities, and what we thought about various topics. We eventually learned about what hurts the other carried as well as each other’s hopes and dreams. He become a very important person in my life, and I became important to him. We later developed a romantic relationship and got married.
I’m glad that our romance was more of a slow build, rather than immediate passion and fireworks. We got to know each other and like each other as friends before falling in love. But this slow growth of a relationship isn’t something that the movies typically portray. By the end of the romantic comedies the partners have declared their undying love for one another. I’m always left wondering, however, how they can really love each other if all they know are surface level things. When I see a movie where two people find their “true love” in each other, without either of them really knowing the other’s hopes and dreams, successes and failures, or one another’s baggage and talents, I find myself feeling let down. Real romance is often so much deeper and more dramatic than what is portrayed in the movies.
Eleven years and four kids later, knowing that my husband fell in love seems way more romantic than my husband and I finding “love at first sight.” Because I know he fell in love with the real me and I fell in love with the real him, not just what we first thought when we met.
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