The other night I watched the finale of this season of the Bachelor. I was texting back and forth with my best friend about the outfit choices of each woman and how we felt about the final choices. Then we started talking about how crazy the whole process seems and how we liked the more “normal” dates this season. Normal being a relative word when you’re discussing reality TV of course. I’ve been watching this show since season 1. I used to have girl’s nights with my friends to obsess over which girls stayed and which went. We all thought it was insane that anyone could fall in love and get engaged in two months! Then I met my husband….
Prior to being a sailor I was an assistant to a wedding planner. Which at the end of my time with the company was a bit sad because I was a bit anti-love. I’d given up on dating. I’d already signed my contract for the Navy. I had bigger plans and bigger goals than worrying about what would happen in my dating life. So when I happened to see a good looking guy in the lobby of the last wedding I worked, I didn’t think much about giving him my number. I figured the worst that happened would be another bad date to add to my book. Best case was we’d have a nice night and I could tell my best friend I wasn’t going to be a nun after all.
Of course, that date was a wonderful failure. It was a failure of epic proportions. One that will certainly have its own chapter in my “how not to find your husband” dating stories book. I figured it would be my last date before boot camp.
Oh, how wrong I was!
A few days later, that horrible date introduced me to a man that would change my life. I called my best friend (the one who was worried I’d become a nun) after our second date and told her I was going to marry this guy. She reminded me that I hadn’t been on a 2nd date with the same guy in nearly 2 years, but never called me crazy. Never told me to slow down. She supported me even when I told her that he’d be leaving the state in 10 days and we’d be taking on a long distance relationship. When I told her less than a month into our relationship that we’d decided to buy THE RING on my upcoming trip to visit she never doubted me. She still didn’t tell me I needed a psych exam. In fact, the only time she got up in arms about my super-speed courtship that lead to an amazing elopement was when I called to tell her I eloped. And it wasn’t even about the elopement…it was that I didn’t give her a heads up!
Now every time we watch another season of The Bachelor, I no longer judge how quick those couples go from, “Hi, nice to meet you!” to “Will you accept this final rose?” I can understand it. And I don’t think I’m alone in that. In the military, life moves quickly. We know how much there is to lose. We know there are deployments, PCS, TAD, and school that can screw up plans for big weddings, destination events and even just a quick trip to visit each other.
After I eloped, I met so many people who had similar stories. Minus the bad date introducing them to their spouse of course. But they met their match and knew right away that it was right. They didn’t hesitate to make the big steps. And now they are celebrating their 5th, 10th, 15th anniversary. It gives me hope. On the bad days, when I worry if we moved too fast or if we can overcome the differences we didn’t know about before taking our vows (he’s a human heater, I’m always cold…try setting that thermostat!) I see these examples of how it works and it feels good to know I’m not alone. I wasn’t the only crazy person who took a leap of faith. I just did it without a camera crew, private helicopter rides, and a rose ceremony.
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