Many of you know that I am a big fan of the New York Times’ Vows section because I am inspired by stories of love, especially those that have suffered some heartache and later found an amazing life partner. Yesterday, I attended a wedding that should have been featured in the Vows section, so I am going to share with you a bit about their relationship because it has taught me so much and given me hope to find love again myself.
Amy and Tom met online (yes it can be done). Tom had been dating for about ten years after his divorce. Amy had done online dating briefly after hers, but wasn’t sure that she wanted to do it again. I encouraged her to try OkCupid, and voila, she met Tom right away. I love this story because it emphasizes both the element of spontaneity and perseverance. Some of us get lucky right away and meet someone special without a lot of fuss. Others of us have to wait and date a lot of people to get it right.
After my last painful experience with someone I met online, I was complaining to Amy about how I felt that there were no more good men left “out there.” She told me something that really made me think differently about it. She reminded me that it isn’t about finding that one good man. It is about finding someone who is the right fit for you, someone who gets you, someone who loves you for who you are and puts up with your idiosyncrasies (as you do the same for them). At their wedding, Amy mentioned that she knew that Tom was a keeper when they went running together and he told her that she looked sexy in her tights and polar fleece. We used to refer to Amy as our “Sporty Spice” girl. She has found a man who doesn’t want her to wear more dresses but instead who loves her for exactly who she is.
One of the most touching parts of Amy and Tom’s relationship is how he has embraced being a stepdad to Amy’s kids. She has two young girls, 6 and 8, and Tom is childless. I have found myself saying many a time that I could never get involved with a childless guy because he wouldn’t understand what it was like to be a parent or simply that he wouldn’t want to date a woman that has the responsibility of two young kids. Clearly, that is nonsense. It matters not whether a guy has been married before or whether he has kids (or what kind of career he has). What is important is how open his heart is. If he is open to love and comes to truly love you, he will love all of you and will want to share all of your life with you. With online dating, it is so easy to discard someone because of how they have checked this box or that, but what I have learned from Amy and Tom is that we have to have an open mind about our preferences.
During their ceremony, the officiant mentioned that the key to a lasting marriage is to always keep an open heart to your partner, to make sure that you don’t seal yourself off from them. As I mentioned last week, maintaining an open heart is something that I am always striving for, especially when I have had a string of disappointing dates or have been hurt by someone. Being at Tom and Amy’s wedding and listening to them and others talk about their relationship opened my heart so wide that a truck could have driven through it. The beauty of their bond made me sob, not because I was sad, but because I was so touched. I was so impacted that people asked me if I was okay after the ceremony (I think people were staring).
The depth of my emotion was exhilarating to me. I don’t want to be a hurt, jaded, or cynical divorcee. I want to always be open to the possibility of love, to know that I will find it with the right person, at the right time. Amy and Tom’s wedding confirmed that for me, and I plan to revisit it in my mind any time that I start to lose hope.
I wanted to share this wedding with you all because I love to circulate hope and inspiration. A friend of mine saw the wedding photos on Facebook and said that she was about to photoshop her head on to Amy’s body (and then she promptly re-enrolled in online dating). We laughed, of course, but I think that it is so important to share success stories. It is easy to get frustrated with our past hurts and our present dissatisfactions. It is harder, but much more fulfilling, to pursue our dreams and keep an open heart. I thank Amy and Tom for sharing their love with me and allowing me to be so inspired.