I was a struggling divorcee; single mother of four young girls trapped in a custody nightmare of epic proportions. He was a divorced executive; father of four with seemingly insurmountable struggles of his own. We were both seeking nothing more than an escape from our personal heartbreak. We just wanted to find someone we clicked with to spend some time when the lulls in our battles would align. Neither of us was seeking marriage. Our lives were so fraught with difficulty that we had given up on the hope that we could ever find another adult that would consensually share the bed that we had had made for us. After all, what sane adult who was already overburdened with struggle would voluntarily welcome more of the same?
I saw his online dating listing weeks before but dismissed the notion of reaching out due to lack of geographical desirability and the fact that I was not the physical type for whom his online dating ad had stated he was looking. One Friday night when I was bored, surfing the online dating site his ad popped up showing that he was currently online and I just couldn’t ignore him any longer. In all the years of online dating, he had the funniest screen name I’d ever seen: “Grumpy Old Man”. So I shot him an email with my cell number. Even though my online dating ad had no images displayed, my phone rang shortly thereafter. That conversation lasted an unbelievable 6 hours! After that we kept in touch pretty much daily through text, online chatting and/or emails not realizing that our relationship was headed towards marriage. Well, at least I didn’t…
Our first date lasted two weeks. Our second date lasted two weeks and the marriage occurred on our third date. It was truly a whirlwind online dating romance that was simultaneously surreal and very real as there were all sorts of bumps along the way. But the deal was ultimately sealed in my small apartment with the Reverend from my sister’s church and most of my immediate family in attendance in full costume as the marriage took place on my favorite holiday: Halloween.
I asked the Reverend what made him consent to bond us in marriage even though our specific circumstances were quite unconventional. He answered that he would disclose that information in a letter that would accompany the paperwork which we’d need to gain a final copy of the certificate of marriage. Here is an excerpt from his letter:
“Finally, I want to share very personally with the two of you why I agreed to officiate for your wedding. Knowing more about Emilia’s circumstances than Dale’s, but now having come to know his too, I believed this would be a step toward healing which would be very helpful. I believe strongly that God does not want us in the misery of hardship or pain, but wants us to enjoy the good gift of life and thank him for it. For the two of you to be married is one large step toward that enjoyment, happiness and peace which I heard in your stories that both of you have been looking for, for a long time.”
After four years of marriage we’ve shared many, many ups and downs… sadly more downs than ups. But we still hold hope that one day our working together towards common goals will ultimately yield the realization of our collective dreams: a happy family, financial security and the ability to pay it forward.