Of all the stories Adam and I love to tell about our relationship, one of our favorites, by far, is the story of how we met. In my mind it plays out like a romantic comedy: innocent deception, awkward moments, backfired plans and hot sparks of chemistry, followed by letter writing back and forth to a war zone that ultimately developed and revealed our feelings for one another. I don’t think I could have come up with a more perfect scenario for myself.
We often get asked “how did you meet?” and with smiled glances at one another we delve into the details, often cutting each other off to tell the “true” story. But as I sat in my pew a Sunday not long ago the preacher brought up an interesting question: “Why did you meet?” And while he went in the direction of “what is God’s plan for marriage?” his question got me thinking. Why did Adam and I meet and why did we meet when we did?
Sure, to some it is just chance and to others it is fate. But, as I’ve reflected on these questions the most simplistic answer I can come up with as to why we met is “to get each other to heaven.” This answer comes from my faith tradition, which believes it is the spouses’ role to help his or her beloved reach the eternal reward. Whether Adam is encouraging me to keep striving for the virtuous life or being the cross on my shoulder depends on the day, but I do know he’s doing his best to get me there. But that still doesn’t exactly answer why Adam and I specifically met. Why Adam and not a John or a Troy or a James?
Truth be told, that answer still remains somewhat a mystery to me. I do know that our experiences, which began from childhood, shaped us. These experiences, such as family of origin, education, hobbies, faith and dating history, affected us in good and bad ways, helping us decipher the desirable and undesirable qualities we were looking for in a spouse. For some people, their experiences lead them to know what they don’t want and for others it’s the opposite, solidifying in themselves what they do want. For me, it was a little of both.
These experiences also prepared us to meet at the exact time we did – too soon or too late and it may have not worked out. In fact, Adam often jokes that if I had known him in high school there’s no way I would have been interested. And from what he tells me, he may in fact be right. But it also may be true that he would have had no interest in the high school Kara. For whatever reason, we weren’t ready to meet until May 2007 and weren’t ready to date until almost a year and a half later. (Perhaps he needed that time to hook me since Adam had qualities I wasn’t quite expecting!)
Looking back I am grateful that Adam and I both lived intentionally in the present moment before we met. It wasn’t always easy – the temptation to “wait around” for the right one definitely lurked in the back of my mind from time to time. However, we didn’t turn down opportunities or experiences because we were afraid we would miss out on finding each other. Instead, these experiences made the journey to each other more interesting, exciting, formative and ultimately led us to each other. Our experiences also made us more intentional when we dated. We both knew what we were looking for, and particularly that we were dating with marriage in mind.
Now that we are married, our experiences continue to shape not only our individual selves, but also our relationship as a whole. We are still journeying to learn more about each other, become more united and fall deeper in love with each passing day. I don’t think I’ll ever come up with the perfect answer to why Adam and I met and fell in love, but it doesn’t matter. I’m just glad we did.