07 May 2015

5 Year Anniversary & Untold Details About Our Beginning

(from Danny)

Five years ago today, Mara and I got married! Holy Cow! I can't believe how time flies and how so much LIFE can happen in such a short period of time.

Our last night in the Galapagos we shared a wonderful meal together as an early celebration of our anniversary. We spent the whole night reminiscing about every wonderful detail we could remember from our wedding day, which in all honesty takes a lot of time. It was one of those days that felt totally and completely perfect from start to finish. It was stress-free, simple, and full of love, family, and friendship. It was a true celebration of Life and Love.


An Unlikely Meet-Up

Whenever I think about that wonderful day, or our heavenly courtship, or what it has been like to have a partner like Mara for the last five years, I can't help but think how mind-blowing it is that it happened at all. We were about as unlikely to meet as you could imagine two total strangers living in different cities over 200 miles apart could be. In ten years in New York, Mara had never traveled to Boston. And in four years in Boston, I'd never bothered traveling to New York.

In all of this unlikeliness of ever meeting, let alone falling in love, there was one very tenuous thread connecting our two worlds, but I suppose it was all that was needed.


The Tenuous Thread Connecting Our Worlds

When I first arrived in Boston, I met a couple who would become dear friends over the next 3 years. A group of friends would get together nearly every weekend, and these two were the main instigators for the gatherings. Following a great job opportunity, they moved to NYC just weeks before my whole world came unraveled. Infidelity. Separation. Divorce. Those were the most difficult moments of my life, and also the most joyous and transformative, primarily because of how I chose to respond.

Over a year later, my friends returned from NYC (three little boys and NYC apartments don't mix), and almost immediately had me over for dinner to see how I was doing. Just before they left for NYC, they helped me and my wife move into a condo we'd purchased with the intent of starting a family. Over a year later I was in the final stages of divorce. "What happened? Are you okay? Is she okay?"

I think they were surprised to hear that I was doing GREAT! I spent most of the dinner talking about all that I'd learned about happiness, the surprising ways real healing had come to my life, the power of compassionate love and forgiveness, and my deep hope and optimism for the future. Basically, we talked about the things we try to share on this blog and in the retreats - that circumstances don't define us and don't dictate our responses -- and about the power that comes to our lives when we live like we believe that.

Thrilled that I was in such a good place in life, I remember my friend Ashley saying "I've got this girl in NY that I'd like to set you up with."

You see, about six months earlier, Mara had met Ashley and her husband one night because they were friends with a guy she was dating. They met once. Mara says Rockband was involved. The only other communication they had was when the clothing line Mara started with friends, Harvey Faircloth, was part of NYC's Fashion Week. Mara needed models to wear the clothing and Ashley was recruited by a mutual friend.

That was it. This was our tenuous thread.


A Little Vulnerability Goes A Long Way - "SET ME UP !"

That, and a little bit of courage/vulnerability. Mara had been dating for some time. Long enough to know finding the right guy might be like finding a needle in a haystack, and she might need a little help. So when Mara and Ashley shared a few emails after Fashion Week about some clothing Ashley wanted, Mara said what she said to all her friends:
"Anyway, if you guys ever come across someone that you think highly of, SET ME UP ! :) I love set ups ..." 
A few months later Ashley placed an order, asked about the business, told Mara she moved back to Boston, to which Mara responded:
"And, of course, if you come across any smart, solid men in Boston, I'd love to hear about them. hahaha ! :)"
A week later, I was in Ashley's home, sharing my story of healing. That night, Ashley wrote Mara the following:
"I'm going to keep you updated on a potential man here. He's a good friend of ours and is wrapping up a divorce. We are so sad for Danny, but not too worried because he's a great catch. Anyway my first thought was you. So if you're ever in Boston we'll have to arrange a little gathering of some sort. Or I'll send him to NY for some reason! You never know."
Ashley sent Mara my Facebook profile (which had two group pictures and zero status updates). And shortly thereafter I got an email from Mara introducing herself. A few emails later, and Mara and I both said to ourselves, "I'm probably going to marry this person!" Seriously!

Thank you Mara! That first email was quite literally an answer to prayer. Thank you for wanting to walk a similar life path, one motivated by Love! Thank you for five wonderful years of marriage, tons of crazy adventures, and many more years and adventures to come!

Anybody else have a crazy story about an unlikely meet up? We'd love to hear about it, it always makes us smile!

P.S. - If you haven't read our series called Love Story (start at the bottom of the link for the beginning), now's a good time to start. We post excerpts from the emails we wrote in the weeks before we met. Ummm, they are PURE GOLD, at least that's how we feel. It's two people, anxious to connect over the most important life lessons they've ever learned, and overjoyed to see someone else had discovered the very same thing all on their own. To get you started here's some links to the first few posts in the series - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6.

(Photos by Rachel Thurston)

19 comments:

  1. I am have so much faith and hope in knowing that our kind Heavenly Father leads us in the direction we are suppose to go. My husband and I met by chance, in fact, we had only known each other 3 months before we got married. It was crazy, but I knew it was the chance I needed to take with my kids. We have been married just over two years now and it still amazes me just how much we have in common, even though most of it only came to existence after we got married. I am so thankful to have found such a good man to be an example to my boys and someone who my girls can strive to find someone like, when they choose to marry. Then having the privilege to watch him be a dad to our little boy is amazing as well. Even if no more babies are in my future, I have all of these blessings to be thankful for. Thank you again for sharing your journey with me. I feel so much strength from the two of you when I read your blog.

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    1. I appreciate your faith and belief. I don't like to through around words like "Miracle" or "Fate", because I think using them too casually diminishes their credibility or power. But when I think about some of the things that happened leading up to this moment, some of the deliberate decisions we'd both made that very week prior to being introduced or even aware of each other's existence....I can't help but use the word Miracle.

      Much of that is a story for another post. Good stuff though :) Thanks for sharing!

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  2. What a wonderful story you have! Happy anniversary to you both. As you said in one of your emails to each other, life really is so beautiful. I met my husband in the airport as we waited to board our flight. I will always treasure the seemingly random turn of events of that day that shaped the rest of our life. Again, life really is so beautiful :).

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    1. Haha, that is pretty AWESOME! In the airport...I love it.

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  3. Happy anniversary! I was "lucky" enough to meet my husband when we both spoke in a youth session of an LDS stake conference when we were 15 & 16. So thankful for our nearly 21 years of marriage that came many years after being best friends as teenagers and he is still my very best friend!.

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    1. Dang, 15 & 16 - and 21 years. I'd say that's pretty impressive!

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    2. How awesome are you guys to reach out so personally to each of us. Your love for each other and for strangers is transforming the world. Have you read anything by M. Catherine Thomas?

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  4. It's kind of a long story, but a super short courtship. My husband and I met online...because I was a jerk and he was depressed. ;) Not even kidding! I had been a paying member of a singles' website for 18 months, but rarely got on. He wasn't a paying member, but had a profile. One night (October 4, 2004), I was out of town on a retreat, but had to work on a research paper for class while there, so I went to the public library. I was "assigned" to a computer, which meant I couldn't walk away from it or it would be given away. However, after hours of research, my brain needed a break. So...jaded though I was, I got on this singles' website and put in an order for a perfect man (knowing no one would be out there who would meet my standards of "perfect"). However, Tim popped up as a 100% match. Again, not kidding. I was intrigued, so I read his profile. He was looking for someone who...sounded an awful lot like me. Okay, I'll send him an email (not knowing that he wasn't a paying member and wouldn't be able to read it). I wrote, "I am someone who..." and copied and pasted his criteria straight from his profile. In the subject line, I wrote, "The Woman of Your Dreams". Yes, I was jaded. Yes, I was being a jerk.

    The next morning, he awoke to an email he couldn't read, but decided to pay the membership fee on the off chance that I might be the woman of his dreams. He has definitely been the man of mine. The rest is history. We were engaged 3 months later, and this June we will celebrate 10 years of marriage. I'd be lying if I told you it has all be wedded "bliss". He had just come out of a rocky marriage (infidelity, separation, divorce) and had two children in tow. I had come from a rocky childhood. We both brought enough of our own baggage to the table, but we have managed to help each other unpack...and to be the healing balm through the process that we each so desperately needed. If I had to choose one word to describe our relationship, it would most definitely be "appreciation". Because of the deeply rooted appreciation we have for one another, we are so gentle and kind with one another (and he is kinder to me than I deserve). We speak softly and treat each other with respect. We LOVE.

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    1. Great story Stephanie! I love that you titled the email "The Woman Of Your Dreams" sarcastically, but it turns out it was true.

      I also love that the word you choose to define/describe the relationship is appreciation...I feel a lot of that myself. Appreciation is my guiding theme...even when we find we are in disagreement about something, I feel we try to embody appreciation, because the disagreement is often born out respectfully and kindly. So important!

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  5. My husband and I met during a summer internship at a large company. At the time there was a large group of interns that would hang out once a week after work to grab drinks or dinner. I didn't really take notice of him during that first outing but low and behold, the next day I received an email. Turns out we had the same last name and he jokingly asked, among other things, what I thought the odds are that we could be 23rd cousins. My first thought was 'who is this guy?!' and my second was, that was a pretty bold email and he made me laugh...we need to meet.

    5 years later we were married. We are also coming up to our 6th wedding anniversary and feel blessed to have found each other. Funny to think that a common last name sparked a discussion that lead to a life together!

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    1. Gotta love those bold first emails!

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  6. I had just started to date and get into the singles scene when I went to a dance with a friend because I like to dance (knowing I'd never meet anyone there, no one normal goes to those things 😉). He happened to show up because he was hanging out with a friend who's friend invited them to come check out this dance. We lived 45 minutes apart, didn't have a single mutual friend. He didn't really go to any singles activities, he wasn't online, and even if he had been he didn't meet the criteria that would have even pull him as a possible match. There is literally no other way we could have met.

    We didn't dance or interact at all at the dance, though I kept an eye on him the whole night and tried to keep myself strategically near him. But later that night when I had stepped outside to chat with my friend and cool off, he immediately approached us and introduced himself. We talked for an hour and a half that night, he got my phone number, and I woke up the next morning to a text from him. By the end of our first date the following weekend we were both gone. We'll be married a year in a couple of weeks.

    All of the things we had experienced in our lives before that night had turned us into the people we needed to be in order to be together. Then God brought us together in a completely random place and it was instant magic. It's such a joy to be happily married, to understand how precious it is, and to be committed to making our marriage great forever by choosing to love each other every day. And I'm grateful for the hard things I've gone through that have made me a better wife this time around, a stronger and happier individual, and a wiser person.

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  7. I read this yesterday, but had to come back and comment and just say thank you. I'm currently going through a period of heartbreak, and even though I know it is right to let that man go, it is still so difficult. But reading this gave me hope. God knows what he's doing! And I am continuing to learn about the kind of companionship and love that I want to bring into any relationship, both friendly and eternal.

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  8. I know you hear it a lot, but thank you so much for your willingness to share your story of love with us! I stumbled upon this space in 2011, sad and broken, while googling "happiness after divorce" - and boy, did you give me the perspective I was looking for! I knew that there were people out there who came out happy after being quickly stunned by infidelity & divorce like myself. Your words spoke so much truth to me. The How It All Began post was literally 7 days after my then-husband officially left me, and the following posts rolled out along side the months where I was discovering how I wanted to handle what life looked like and what I was searching for. I wanted to find someone as life-giving as what the two if you found.

    I met my soon to be husband (so soon - on June 6th!) in 2012 - after a series of pushes from God to make several decisions I wouldn't have necessarily made on my own. I had just moved in with my roommate & the first Friday night she insisted we call up her friend to have dinner with us. What was wild was that he & I had both known my roommate independently of each other for over 5 years, but our paths were never meant to cross until then. When they crossed though. ... I never knew there could be someone who spoke to all the dreams held in my heart the way he does. I've found the life partner and an all out adventurer that my soul had been searching for. The timing of this post - your 5th year anniversary (wahoo! Congrats!) - is perfect. How sweet to reflect on the years of happiness, growth and love and it has given me the opportunity to do the same right before we marry. Truly, thank you. Your story matters & gives life to so many!

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  9. Thank you for sharing your lovely story so candidly with us! It's magical! I too met my partner under unlikely circumstances; I was divorced living in America, he was finalising a divorce and family court in Australia. Little did we know we would start the best chapter in our lives arm in arm, walking down the aisle together at my cousin's wedding in Ohio - it's an Aussie-American long-distance love story. I wrote about it here, after reading your blog! https://burleighcourt.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/a-day-to-celebrate/

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  10. My husband and I met at a Friday evening college/young adult church group one Thanksgiving. I was living with my grandparents in Connecticut while going to graduate school and I was up in MA visiting my family for the weekend. We didn't really talk then - I actually don't really remember him there at all! After about 2 months of no talking, no FB, no anything, I was back with my family on another visit and we hung out all weekend. I left Monday morning to drive back to my grandparents and I saw I had missed a call from him. He was asking me out to lunch! I told him that he would have to come to me - and he did! In the end, we had a quick friendship, a short long-distance dating relationship, a six month engagement and now we are into our fifth year of marriage!

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  11. I'm finally doing some catch-up reading of your blog. Happy Anniversary and thanks for sharing the story of how you met! It's kind of a tradition in our family to tell the story of how we met to our children every year as part of our anniversary celebration. Much of your story reminds me so much of how my husband and I met. I was living in AZ, recently divorced with two children, and going to school. He was living in UT and finishing up school. Dating as a single-mom was so hard, I had some fun, but it mostly felt like a job interview. I had decided to focus my energy on school and providing for my children, I left dating for another time and in the hands of God. We had a couple mutual friends, but we didn't know each other personally. They told me he was "still single" and I kind of shrugged it off. Well, one day in January I got an email from him! It was short and friendly so I responded. Then he wrote back and he made me laugh. We began emailing regularly and then we began talking on the phone. In March we were able to meet up at one of our mutual friends house. After that he came down every weekend to visit. In June we were married. It still amazes me that Heavenly Father knew exactly what I needed, both in the type of person he is and the ability to get to know each other through emails first. Pretty soon I will have been married to my new husband longer than I was married to my first, which is strangely exhilarating!

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  12. I was very publicly and unexpectedly dumped by a guy two weeks after we had tentatively set a wedding date when I found out he was engaged to someone else. Hmm! I made up my mind that I was going to have nothing to do with men, I was headed to Europe, and I was going to live life on my own terms. Two weeks later I met my sister's brother-in-law. As goofy as it sounds, I KNEW the moment I saw him that he was the one I was supposed to marry. I wasn't sure whether to check myself into the state hospital or run the other direction as fast as I could. Well, 11 months and 2 weeks later, we were married. Guess God knew I needed a lightning bolt. And my hubby still owes me a trip to Europe.

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  13. This was very nice to read : ) I'm 28, and in love for the first time. One of the strangest part about really falling in love and learning about it for the first time, is that you realize how rare it is. I haven't had deep conversations with friends or other couples because I just don't see real love there even in those that seem to be picture perfect from the outside. Something about your writing shows real genuine love in your lives, and it was refreshing to see. It's not written to show off, or state "look how happy we are," but to share something that brings you absolute and pure joy.

    My love and I have had a very unlikely meet up, and as different and long the road has been to come together, it makes it all the more special. I look forward to celebrating a five year anniversary like you guys and looking back on everything that's happening now.

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