Sleepless in Seattle probably ruined more girls than any other movie ever made. We are so prone to that silly, romantic way of thinking anyway. We really didn't need a movie to not only expose every detail of our twisted, delusional way of thinking about love but also show us that it is perfectly normal and that we will eventually end up with the guy that we had those irrational, stalker-like fantasies about.
In reality, it never works out like it does in the movies. People misunderstand each other and misinterpret things. Sometimes it doesn't work out the way you wished it would. Relationships require actual effort, not just some fairytale, love-at-first-sight, whirlwind romance where everyone lives happily ever after.
I hope those of you who know me are picking up on the irony of what I just said. For everyone else, let me explain.
I met my husband in November of 1998. He was stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado and I was a student at BYU in Provo,Utah. We spent 3 days together. Not three days being inseparably in love, three days of me trying my best to ignore him and give him the brush-off that so easily deterred the little boy BYU students I was accustomed to. I did not realize that I was dealing with a confident and rather self-assured GROWN-UP man.
After some patience on his part (not to mention the manipulative persuasion of my roommate, T) I flung myself off the edge of the love cliff and fell seriously into the love ravine. Three weeks after we met we were unofficially engaged (meaning we had set a date but he hadn't asked my dad for permission or given me a ring)
At times, I wonder "What was I thinking! How could I marry a guy I barely knew?" But the truth is, I knew it was right. I still know it, probably better than I did then. How did I know? Well, there are some rather boring, personal reasons. But the more interesting ones are the "signs"; Those "Sleepless in Seattle" moments that still happen sometimes. Here are a few of them.
When I first laid eyes on my husband he was nothing like I expected. T had been telling me about him and I had formed an image in my mind. If I had met him on the street, I would never have guessed that he was the man she had told me about. Even so, I felt as if I had been struck by lightning. I can't really explain it. It wasn't like an instant attraction. I guess it was more of a recognition. I have had moments when I felt like I was meeting an old friend and I accepted that maybe I had known that person in another life. What I felt when I saw my husband was much more...frightening. I didn't know how to react so I tried to run away! (Obviously it didn't work!)
During those first few weeks when we were talking on the phone, quietly checking things off the List, my husband commented that our relationship reminded him of a book called "Added Upon " by Nephi Anderson. I had just been thinking the same thing. The story follows a group of people from the Pre-existence into mortality and beyond. The fact that we both felt this strange familiarity and even related it to the same book was a big "sign".
Already planning our future together, my future husband decided to give me a gift for Christmas. Since we had not known each other very long, he wanted to give me something that was not to forward. He decided on a painting. T had been acting as liaison at times since I was seriously dragging my feet. She questioned me about what I liked and hinted that I was getting a painting. I can’t remember how much she prompted me and how much was just me but I knew I was getting a landscape of mountains and a stream. I had such a clear image in my mind that I actually recognized it when I opened it on Christmas morning!
Another came a few months later when we were finally able to be together in person. We were dressed alike. We were both wearing denim jackets with brown corduroy collars, jeans, and even the exact same Timberland boots! People gave us a hard time all day but we really had not planned it at all. We just had similar taste.
The last one I will share came several years after we were married. We were discussing "Little House on the Prairie". I told him how I always wanted to be pretty and delicate like Mary but I knew I was more like Laura and I didn't like that when I was a kid. I went on to compare our brown hair, big teeth, tomboyish personality, etc.
I noticed that my husband was staring at me, not in the "I'm pretending to listen but I am really thinking about something else" kind of way. He looked like I was speaking a foreign language and he was trying hard to follow it. When I finally stopped listing all the faults I shared with Laura Ingalls, he shook his head and said "What on earth are you talking about?!" I braced myself for some kind of lecture about how I talk too much or I over analyze things.
Instead his lecture went something like this: "Who cares about Mary? Laura was the cool one! She was the one who knew how to get things done and wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty. And she was not plain or awkward or whatever you said. She was very pretty. In fact, I had a big crush on her when I was a kid. I always hoped I would be lucky enough to find someone like her when I grew up!"
Isn’t that sweet?
There are other things like how we both like John Denver and hate horror movies. Each time something like that comes up I have to smile. They are each little reassurances that we are indeed meant to be together. Hopefully, together happily, for ever after.