“I fell in love the way you fall asleep; slowly, and then all at once.”
~ John Green
Most little girls dream of her fairytale ending. Where she has this magic moment with a prince rescuing her and it all just comes together for them to live happily ever after.
Then they enter the teenage years and “reality” hits and they see that it’s not the magic, but this meet-cute where it all comes together. A spontaneous moment that only the fates could aline.
But then they meet the man they’re supposed to really fall in love with and they realize they were falling in love slowly but surely the whole time they were getting to know the man.
Erich and I met about two and a half years ago. Long story short we met in a singles ward that I only lived in for a few months, and that he almost didn’t go to at all.
I grew up in Washington and went to college in Rexburg, Idaho. I was placed in Ogden area for my student teaching. As I was trying to decide whether I should stay in Utah or move back home I felt like I should stay. About a month later I met Erich. He had just gotten home from his mission a couple months before that. There are more details on how our lives came together to be one. But I wanted to share how we have fallen in love.
I think the quote at the top is the exact way Erich and I fell in love, and are still falling. Yes, there is a lot of the meet-cute spontaneous things that had to come together in order for us to end up married. And Erich is most definitely my prince that has rescued me in more ways than one. But it’s all these things combined that cause me to fall for him.
As we were dating I fought it at first. Erich is 3 years younger than I am, still in school, and was still a little Returned Missionary awkward. I never saw us becoming more than friends. Then there was one late night conversation we had about who we were and who we wanted to become. But more importantly how we were going to get there. This was my “ah-ha” moment. He was someone I wanted to marry. After that it really was quick. I brought up marriage a few months later and we were engaged after 5 months of dating and married after being together for 8 months. They say when you know you know.
So how can something happen so fast and be so sure all at the same time? I honestly think it’s because of how Erich and I fell in love, and are still every day. Because well there is a lot to learn about someone when you didn’t even date for a year before getting married!
1. Open Communication
You hear this one over and over again, but I’m here to say it truly is the hardest and best part of being with someone. Erich and I both had a “past life” that we weren’t proud of. It wasn’t something that was easy to share with each other, but we did. In our own ways at our own time. But it was something that built such a trust between us very early on in our dating, and even more so as we were preparing to be married. And that continues now. We are definitely blessed in that way. I know not everyone feels the same way about their relationship. But I also know it made the biggest difference in our ability to connect with each other and know each other.
But also it is so important to be on the same page with communicating. The biggest challenge here is expressing emotions. I can tell Erich what I need to be done around our home and what’s going on that week till the sun goes down. But it has been the hardest thing to express to him that I’m annoyed, angry, or frustrated. And more so why I’m feeling those things. I think mostly because those emotions aren’t ones we want people to see. My pride constantly gets in the way. I can’t show him a sign of weakness. How dare I not be a perfectly happy person and wife? But let me tell you. Communicating my feelings and emotions help me feel connected and close just like sharing my whole life with him. Because those emotions ARE a part of my life!
Sharing these things give us a chance to learn from each other. Most the time Erich can pinpoint exactly why I’m feeling the way I am. Or give me a solution I would have never thought of. My pride constantly gets in the way, but the braver I am in talking with him, the easier it has become for me to come to him with love and affection when he is feeling that way.
I don’t remember who, but someone told me once that they never went to bed without telling their spouse something they are grateful for. I have loved doing this since day one of marriage. Now let me clarify that it’s not just to be grateful but to give specific compliments to the other person. For example, “I’m grateful you did the dishes that helped me feel less stressed.” Or, “I’m grateful you wrote me that sweet note.” Sharing these compliments has helped us in more way than one.
Everyone feels great when their little acts of service are noticed. Recognition surely goes a long way. But it helps me as the giver of the compliment recognize how much is truly done for me. There are some nights where my list of gratitude goes on and on. I quickly realize how spoiled I am to have someone to do that for me and I, in turn, want to be that. This also helps with those nights I’m not feeling so grateful. Maybe even annoyed or in fight mode. For at least a minute or two those are all turned off and I have to look past the emotions and see the good that was done. Even if we aren’t exactly each others’ favorite person. And it’s pretty hard to stay mad after realizing all the service that was done.
3. Realizing I’m Not Done Falling in Love
K, I know what you’re thinking. This is another one everyone always says, “You should be falling in love your whole marriage.” And I agree, but let me add to that or look at it differently.
It goes back to the John Green quote. I see falling in love as exponential. Slowly, then all at once. It’s going faster and faster and grows more and more. Every day I’m amazed at how each moment IS the prince and the happily ever after. Or the meet-cute where the spontaneous moments bring us together. But there is a strong reality behind all that with raised voices, sassy remarks of defense, or ignoring each other. And those help me recognize the love as well. Like opposition in all things right? You wouldn’t know the good without the bad. It all comes together to build a bond and connection between us.
Now I’m not saying to go out and cause all this commotion in your relationships, but to be real with them. Nothing is perfect and there’s going to be those moments. Embrace them before being ashamed of them. They are the reality of it all. Just remember to apologize even if it wasn’t you and tell them what you’re grateful for before the night is over.
So how did Erich and I meet? We met in the hallway after Sunday School, went on our first date to see Zootopia, kissed on my doorstep, got engaged at “our spot”, was married in the Ogden Temple, and we are falling in love every single day. He is my little family that I would do anything for. And I get to meet him every day as we grow and change together.