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Married After One Date

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That's right! My husband and I had just one date before our wedding.

Wise men say
Only fools rush in
But I can't help falling in love with you

I'd never felt that way about anyone before. And it wasn't anything like how one imagines "falling in love" feels from listening to all the love songs and watching romantic movies.

What I felt was peace. The most profound peace this "cat on a hit tin roof" had ever felt.

It wasn't so much that I merely wanted to marry him. I was compelled to marry him...immediately.

I always tell singles, "Don't marry the person you want to marry. Marry the person you can't NOT marry." Yes. That is a double negative and I meant it.

Some things are meant to be
Take my hand,
Take my whole life too
For I can't help falling in love with you

It all started online. A very modern romance indeed.

Of course, I'd been on dating sites for a (miserable) decade. Even tried speed dating...for all the good it did me!

Oh sure, I had dates. There was the attorney who showed up in a shirt full of holes and refused to even buy me a cup of ice cream. There was the 460 lb. unemployed gamer who managed to crawl out of Momma's basement long enough to squeeze into a booth at Old Chicago and monologue about himself for two hours. And there was the musician who made it perfectly clear before the date that this was not a date.

Guys like that "do a number" on a girl's heart...not to mention her self-esteem. They almost seemed ashamed to actually be on a date with a real, live female. Who knew dating was so, so shameful!?!

By the time I slipped the shackles of my parents' institution-like "home" and moved into my townhome at age thirty-one, I'd had it! Done! I was done with men, done with dating, done, done, done! It was perfectly fine with me if I lived out my days in single blessedness, rattling around in that big house with my bichon frise, Delly, and my doxiepoo, CweeCwee.

Together, we formed a little furry family. They watched interestedly, heads cocked to one side, while I sang them Broadway show tunes. We played together. Took walks together. Slept together, crowded onto my twin-sized bed in a muddle of arms, legs, tails and cold noses. If I forgot to be careful and accidentally stretched out during the night, there'd be a "thud" as one sleepy dog accidentally hit the floor. They always had such a surprised expression when they jumped back on the bed. Or maybe that's just because I have a bad habit of drawing eyebrows on my dogs. Whatever.

For one blissful year, I lived the hedonistic life of a woman who, for the first time in her life, was responsible only for herself. Ah, it was wonderful.

Doing whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted with no need to consider anyone else. Taking long, hot baths. Cultivating a balcony garden. Keeping the house at a frivolous 72°F all year round. Cooking dinner at midnight. Vacuuming at 5 a.m. Living to a soundtrack of The Mary Tyler Moore Show to keep me company. Her theme song always made me get a little weepy.

How will you make it on your own?
This world is awfully big, girl this time you're all alone
But it's time you started living
It's time you let someone else do some giving

But after a golden year alone, a fly crept into my ointment. Could it be? Surely not! I wasn't...lonely!?

Suddenly, one of my singles sites crackled to life. I started getting messages...from kooks, loosers and weirdos.

Except one. He seemed...normal! His profile said he was a retired engineer. And I'm a sucker for an engineer.

We exchanged anonymous notes. Instant messaged. Emailed.

Then one day, we had our first phone conversation. It lasted for six hours.

From that day on, every spare moment was spent on the phone with him. If I wasn't sleeping or showering, we were on the phone. He became my alarm clock, calling to wake me at six every morning. We talked 'til I got to work. Talked during the day. Talked from the moment I got off work to the moment we fell asleep, still talking on the phone, at two in the morning.

The night he fell asleep while talking, his sentence trailing off into sleepy gibberish, I lay awake and listened to his breathing, wishing he was there with me, instead of two hundred miles away.

We barely slept. Barely ate. And soon, I was obsessed with one thought. I wanted to hug him more than anything I'd ever wanted before! I couldn't think about anything else.

He was so sweet...and a little flirtatious when he said he'd walk two hundred miles from his home just to see me. Romantic flirtatious nonsense, I thought, blushing. Two years later, I discovered he'd meant it...literally. After walking thousands of miles during his walkabout as a young man, a mere two hundred miles was an afternoon stroll to him.

Within three weeks, I'd decided to marry him. Somehow, matrimony crept into our conversations. As far as I was concerned, we were engaged.

Then it came. The day he was driving down to meet me. Of course, my stupid hair refused to curl. And he got pulled over for driving 90 mph!

I'd seen a few pictures of him, but he hadn't seen any of me. Now that's love, folks!

His pictures hadn't half done him justice. In fact, they didn't look a thing like him...at all! Having dated some pretty homely guys, I'd long ago decided to marry someone who was loving, kind and good, regardless of what he looked like.

What I got was loving, kind, good...and handsome!

We finally had our first hug. It was the best, the longest, the most wonderful hug of my whole life. And we had our first (and only) date! The best date of my whole life! Then, he got down on one knee and proposed.

Two weeks later, we were wed in a tiny ceremony with $50 rings. The minister spoke over us the great words I first heard and fell in love with as Mr. Darcy wed Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. "Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this congregation, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony..."

You see, you don't need a big, fancy wedding. You don't need an expensive gown. You don't need a diamond. You don't need a crowd.

All you need is true love and profound peace with the person you can't NOT marry!

Happy Valentines Day, Michael! You are the best thing that ever happened to me. Thank you for all your love, your faith in me, your unstinting support and making me feel wanted, valuable and beautiful every moment of every day. Thank you for showing me how to enjoy life and introducing me to the joys of spontaneous travel. I'll love you forever, Honey!

Darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be
Take my hand,
Take my whole life too
For I can't help falling in love with you
For I can't help falling in love with you