1. I met my husband at a wedding in 2003. I knew he was the one. We went on a few dates but then my Dad died and I couldn't handle dating seriously. He couldn't handle my aloofness. Well 4 years goes by. We had stopped talking. I would think about him every once in awhile. The more jerks I dated, the more I realized how I let a wonderful man get away. I emailed him. My email gets bounced back. I figured that was a sign. Well 3 days later, he calls me. Completely out of the blue. We met for a drink and the sparks were flying. I never wanted to be apart from him again. 9 months later he proposed. We got married 6 months after that. We were married for 7 months when he was diagnosed with cancer. He died one month later. I am so lucky to have been so in love and to have married my soulmate. I just wish I had more time.


2. When I realized that I didn't care what happened in life as long as I had her.


3. It was the worst day of her life.

We'd known each other for years, and I did love her, very much so, and I was constantly amazed that I had found such a brilliant and beautiful whirlwind of chaos, who was willing to love my son as if it were her own.

But I never realized how much I loved her until that day. She was working in industrial automation, and just came home from a business trip, she'd been coding on a live production site, which is exhausting and stressfull and usually at very odd hours. She was tired and cranky, and when she opened the door, I had to tell her that the police had just called. Her family had been in a car crash, her mum dead, her father in a coma. On the two-hour drive, she was looking so fragile, with her wide-opened, green eyes, and she hugged herself into her mums' pullover, which somehow was so much more intimate, so much more painful to watch than tears. I'll never forget her trembling hands and how she clung to me, the desperate way we made love that night, that whimper that she tried to supress, and how helpless I felt.

4. But on the next day, she was changed forever. Gone was the quirky, nerdy girl, and here was a woman, graceful and elegant as her late mother, and she walked with a dignity and strength that I didn't know where it came from. I was just frozen and shell-shocked, and she was identifying the horrific something that was left of her mum, all alone, and I wasn't even allowed to be there. Later, much later- she told me about the blood on the

metal table, and how there was only half of her face left, and how she hadn't been able to stop shaking despite it was summer, about the police officer who handed her a purse and some bags, about the metallic smell that greeted her when she opened them. She organized the funeral, she arranged all kinds of legal things, she spent hours at her fathers' hospital bed, she went through all the bills and letters and finished the laundry and took out the garbage. She invited over a hundred people for the next day, called every single one, told them with a not-quite steady voice that her mum was dead.

In the evening, she took my son into the kitchen. She was wearing a pair of jeans and a simple black t-shirt, looking hauntingly beautiful and broken, with her tangled curls, her chopped lips, and her red-rimmed eyes. "I am going to teach you how to make chocolate cake," she said, taking his little hands into hers, "the way my grandmother was taught by her mother, the way my mother was taught by her mother, the way I was taught by my mother."

She was 23. At that gesture, my heart went out for her more than she'll ever know.

Eight years later, she still bakes that chocolate cake for us, and I watch her, her still untamed curls, and those gentle hands, and I fall in love all over again.

5. She prefers pancakes while I prefer waffles. It was around midnight and I couldn't sleep so I snuck out to the store and (Continued)

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bought a box of pancake mix to surprise her in the morning. I came back, got into bed and nodded off. At one point I felt her get up and heard her go into the bathroom, I passed back out. We were sitting down to eat breakfast that next morning when I pulled out the pancake mix and said, I know how much you like pancakes so I snuck out last night and got this. She smiled, walked to the freezer and pulled out a box of eggos while saying, "I don't have a waffle iron, so I bought these last night." That was the moment.


6. When he explained, in detail, the treehouse he plans to build for me.


7. I had driven across 3 states to be in a friend's wedding. The day before the wedding, we were decorating the reception hall. I had to use the bathroom, and while in the stall heard this running, screaming terror. Having several nephews, I knew the sound of an out of control child, and was silently laughing to myself...until the men's room door flew open and this 3 year old comes barging into the bathroom and kicks open my stall door while there was a distraught scream of "NO!" in the background and this cute, horrified woman came running in, red faced, to usher her daughter out as I desperately tried to get my pants up.

After getting out of the bathroom, I realized she won't make eye contact, so being a social guy I went over to tell her it was okay. The first thing she said was "I'm so sorry...I think I must have been drinking while I was pregnant with her." Funny and cute. I was interested.

The next night at the wedding reception, we talked more and I mentioned sleep apnea, where a person stops breathing in her sleep. She looked over the champagne and said:

"That happened to my ex all the time...then I would decide to take the pillow off his face. Worst mistake I ever made."

Funny. Cute. Dark sense of humor. I was in love.

We were married a year later. We now have 3 children...two of which she's fighting to get to bed right now (Daddy sings two songs, then Daddy's done. Mommy is a bit of a pushover for a glass of water), adopted her daughter, and we still find an hour or two every day to tease and joke with each other. Life, my friend, is good.


8. So I met this girl, and we hit it off and hang out pretty much non stop for a week, she mentions that she thinks it would be cool to get randomly married, I say that I thought a spontaneous wedding would be the most awesome way to get married. So right then and there we (Continued)

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plan a trip to vegas to "get married" we are both thinking this is a silly thing not really taking it serious. I don't know what happened but the more time I spent with her the more I realized that this girl was the one and I was absolutely enamoured. So I started making arrangements, I secretly found out her ring size and I got money from my savings for the trip to vegas and the ring I planned on getting her. So right before we go to vegas (driving from Los Angeles area) I tell her "hey I need to get you a ring right?" she says not to worry I say "how about one of those rings from the coin machines" She says that would be awesome. So I go to a local grocery store with her I pop in some money into the coin machine and a egg with a ring in it pops out. I propose right then and there in the parking lot, I told her that my love for her is as real as the ring I gave her. But little did she know is that I switched the rings with a real diamond ring. I knew she was as crazy about me as I was for her and she said yes. Went to Vegas and got married. Best decision I have ever made.


9. My father told me that I'd wake up one morning and realize I couldn't bear the thought of not being with her the rest of my life. He was right.


10. My husband and I met on eHarmony. I let him know from the start that I had a young child and he assured me that he was ok with that. My son was 1 1/2 months old when we met (long story) and, when he came to pick me up on our first date, he brought my son a teddy bear that played music and a pack of cute Valentine's day bibs. I thought that was a really sweet gesture. We had an amazing first date and we started dating regularly. He was there for me when I was going through the challenges of being a first time mother, trying to breastfeed and, ultimately, finding out I couldn't make enough milk to feed my child, and having to put him on formula (I was devastated). For a man I just met, I couldn't believe he was so willing to help in a situation where most men would turn tail and run. But, that wasn't the clincher. One night, he was sitting in the recliner at my parents' house holding my son and trying to burp him after a feeding. He had him propped up on his shoulder and was speaking to him softly. I don't think he thought I could hear, but I heard him say "C'mon, little guy. Burp for daddy." After the circumstances surrounding how my son came to be, and all that I had been through in the recent months following up to his birth, I felt broken, like no one would ever want me, let alone truly love me AND my child. I'm happy to say he proved me completely wrong. We've been together for almost 5 years, married for over 3 1/2 years, and we're expecting baby #3.


11. When I thought about the rest of our lives as not being enough time to spend together.


12. I woke up to a terrible hangover and the smell of coffee. She looked at me and said, as I tried to figure out what was going on: (Continued)

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She said, "I'm so happy! I can't believe you proposed last night!"

So, to answer your question, I realized it a few hours after I was already committed.


13. I'm not a romantic man. But what the hell, I'll share.

I started seeing my wife more or less on a lark. I was 24 at the time, had been in a 'serious' relationship not too long prior and didn't really want much of anything. Honestly I didn't even have that much of a crush on her -- she was fun and silly and cute, and she made me laugh. That was good enough for a date or two, maybe a few weeks of fun, and that was about as far as I was willing to commit to anything. She would've been the fourth in a string, and I was kind of digging that bachelor setup I had going. Tiny little pad, just me and the cat, quiet nights alone or out at the bar flirting with all the pretty ladies. You get the picture.

So I took her out on a date. I have to stress that I really wasn't that invested; there was no spark, no butterflies in the stomach. I was not, as one young lady memorably put it, twitterpated. I did my usual suave thing where I told her I'd call and tell her when to expect me to pick her up on Saturday. We went to see some godawful movie because I couldn't be bothered to put more effort into it.

In short I was, and am, an arsehole. Unbeknownst to me she had decided to make me her arsehole. I never stood a chance.

After the movie, I invited her back to my place. Pretty transparent, I know, but bold moves had been working for me and she agreed. Back we go and things are getting pretty hot and heavy. That's when she decides to stop me and drop the bombshell -- at 22 she was a virgin. Oh.

So no action that night. Decision time for Mr. Mars: do I go my merry way in search of lower hanging fruit, or do I stick with this one for the long hunt?

It turns out that not only am I an arsehole, but I'm also quite stubborn. Sticking it out was the order of the day.

I can recall the night of that first date, but much of the time in between seems rather hazy. We got comfortable with each other. She dug my sense of humour, and my cooking. We liked to watch old Charlie Chaplin films together -- a favourite to this day is The Kid. Eventually moving in together just kind of made sense. At no point during this entire process did I ever feel that spark. I was never infatuated, but things just kind of grew. Eventually we became inseparable best friends. We fight sometimes, like any couple does. But we're honest with each other, and we're committed to one another's goals.

Here's the thing, though. It took me a long time to realize I was actually in love with her, because there was never that infatuation. It wasn't a story book romance, it wasn't the prince and the princess living happily ever after. It sure as hell wasn't love at first sight. I always kind of had one foot in and one foot out, if you can dig that.

But time passes and you get comfortable. Life has it's own inertia, I've found, and sometimes it's easier to just keep going along with something than it is to try to change it. She was still digging my jokes, and my cooking. And it was awfully nice to have a warm body in bed at night. So we just kept rolling like that. Eventually I got a job opportunity. It required me to relocate and was a bit of a risk. I'd been offered a temporary contract with the potential of a permanent position when it ended. It was in my field, I was unemployed and it paid very well. There was no way I could not take this job. She followed me, of course.

We packed our things and moved from the small town to the big city. That was quite an adjustment, but we got by. She got herself a job, working evening shifts. One night, she was late getting home. Over an hour late, in fact, in a big, still slightly strange city, after midnight. I couldn't sit down for panic, and when she called me to tell me that her train had been delayed (Continued)

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the relief left me weak in the knees.

I'm not a nervous sort normally, and that's how I knew. It had snuck up on me; it hadn't come all at once in a flash. There had been no choir, no ray of light, no revelation from on high. All the same, I was truly, deeply in love with this woman. I couldn't imagine my life without her.

I'm not a fan of marriage, as a concept. I'm not religious, and I think the whole thing is outdated and does not reflect the current social norms. It's the appendix of modern western society; once essential to survival, now just a useless extra that causes more harm than good. Needless to say, I didn't see it in my future. The snag, of course, was that she did. It was a semi-joking source of contention for us throughout our relationship. One day I made a quip, and she told me in an almost off-hand way that she'd already given up on ever marrying me; she'd weighed life with me against her dream of marriage, and decided that I was more important. Of course, at that point I knew I had to marry her. For all the younger men of Reddit I will tell you this: there may be more attractive women, there may be more exciting women. But the woman who decides to stick by your side no matter what, even when it gets in the way of her own desires, the one who laughs with you, the one who loves you even when you're gassy, or when you're sick and haven't showered in 3 days -- that's the woman you should marry.

We've discussed it, and I think we're the closest to engaged we're going to get. She doesn't have a ring, but the plans have been made. They're mutually satisfactory; we'll have a small ceremony at city hall, no big expenses or crowds. Immediate family will be in attendance, and we'll be married by a JP. Afterwards we'll have a party, likely in my mother's garden as we don't have a lot of space here in the city. It's not going to be expensive, but she's not a princess and is honestly happier with that. As for me, if I'm going to do it, that's the way I want it done.

We're not a traditional couple. There aren't any roses or dances or gushing displays of affection. But we're happy, and we're the best of friends. The affection I feel for her isn't the burning lust that I thought love was; it's something that is at once quieter and stronger than that. Stronger than I ever thought possible.

Like I said, I'm not a romantic man. But this is our story, and I kind of like it. If you've actually made it all the way to the end, then I can only hope that you have too.


14. I dated her when I was 15 and she was 12.... Seems a little weird now with her being that young but I knew then. Unfortunately, life took us in two different directions and we both ended up married to different people within two months of each other. After two years, both of those marriages failed and we found ourselves consoling each other through divorces. Thankfully, after a decade, we are still best friends and she is coming home to me tonight. Engaged almost a month.


15. About a month in. My father was going through some stuff that made us think he might have cancer and the doctors ran a bunch of tests. While this was going on I was having lunch with her one day and related to her that I was in no way ready to find out that my dad had cancer, and how much that scared me. She listened and sympathized and told me not to worry...she was great.

About a week later I was eating alone in a bar near my place while she was at a graduation party with her family (I was a semester behind, not a good student). I get a call from her and can barely understand her through the tears. All she can really tell me is that she'd like to be picked up. I go to get her and on the ride home she spills her guts: turns out her father was in the middle of a battle with brain cancer, and her mother had not done a good job of preparing her for how much worse he had gotten since she had seen him last. It was more than she could handle in a public setting like that.

It was then that I realized what kind of person she is. She sat there and listened to me going on and on about how scared I was for my father, and she chose to support me instead of telling me just how little I knew about what it means to be losing a parent. She is the most beautiful, caring and selfless person I know. Every day I'm with her I become a better person. We've been together now for 4.5 years, married for 1.5 and I still fall more in love with her every day.


16. I was in a 10 year relationship and I had very specific reactions to certain situations, not all of them were admirable reactions.

I left that relationship, knowing it was simply bad for both of us and then I met my wife.

I realized that my wife-to-be (Continued)

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caused me (somehow) to be the man I wanted to be. I was never immature or petty with her. I didn't get bothered when she disagreed with me, I was too busy realizing that she made a good point. I would often find myself shutting off televisions, computers, etc because we were having more interesting conversations and I couldn't be bothered with distractions. After several years we still find ourselves locked in conversation, sitting across from each other, and realizing we've spent the last 3-4 hours talking and laughing with each other.


17. We both looked each other in the eye, and had the same thought, so I spoke it. "We're stuck together, aren't we?" That was 9 years ago. We're married.


18. When we were leaving a family gathering and she hugged my 94 year old grandfather. Showing him this care/love, I had the epiphany that I was going to marry her.


19. She took a timeout from chatting to chug a guinness at 10am.


20. Both my parents tell the same story. My dad was walking my mom back to her house on there 2nd actual date. They got to her doorstep and to make small talk my said "Oh, it's a full moon tonight", My Dad (ever the engineer) says "No... I think that's more of a 15/16th moon...". I don't know why but apparently they both laughed.

They dated for 3 weeks, married in under a year, been together for 44 years this April. They are most of all, each others best friend.


21. When I realized that she didn't give a crap about any of the stuff I tried to do to impress her and that she was genuinely interested in who I really am at the core.


22. The first time we spent the night together. Waking up and seeing her and thinking, "I want to do this every day for the rest of my life."


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