A Mismatched Pair Meeting the Family

College Tater and Mrs Tater

Please excuse typos. Writing this on a tablet.

A friend sent me the above photo recently. It was taken a year or so after I started dating my now wife. We were a mismatched pair. She was an upper middle class suburbanite who still lived with her parents and commuted to school. She was on a full scholarship and on track to get a masters degree in four years. I was a poor small town kid who had basically been on my own financially since I started college. I eked by on grants and loans. I would take a bit longer than four years to even get my bachelors degree. If not for both of us being involved in the Baptist Student Union there is no way we would have ever met. So, you can imagine that meeting each family might be interesting.

Weirdly, I met her parents long before we were a couple. My friends Terri and Chi had invited me to go with them to something( I can’t remember where we were going). They picked me up early on a Saturday morning and then we went to pick up their other friend who lived off campus. That friend was someone I kind of knew, but not really. We got to the house and she was not ready to go yet. That is something that has never changed. Her parents were eating breakfast and asked if we wanted something to eat. A poor college student never turns down an opportunity for free food, so I said yes and had breakfast with these random people. At one point I remember trying to cut something and it flying off my plate. Not a great first impression. I’m not sure they remembered me when I was introduced as the boyfriend. I was much more aware of the impression I was making at that point. They were accepting of me as the boyfriend. They were obviously not happy with me as the fiancé. They grew to tolerate me as the husband.

I was anxious about the part of her meeting my family. I was not ashamed of my family, but after spending time with her in her suburban, upper middle class house, the small house I grew up in seemed even smaller. I was also a little worried about my family accepting her. I’m not sure why. The main thing I do remember is that there was a lot of drama between my mom and my little sister back then. I also remember that as we arrived at my mom’s house that day they had had a fight and my sister had taken off somewhere. She was an adult, but my mom was still concerned. The first thing my first serious girlfriend saw of my family was my mom frantically telling me my sister has disappeared. Not the first impression you want. She would eventually get used to the drama and the loudness of my family.

Somehow this mismatched pair worked.

Click here to support my writing or buy me a coffee.

Delayed Sparks Can Still Start a Fire

I read Date Lab in the Washington Post every week. I even had the Date Lab person come to the library to do a program around Valentine’s Day one year. If you read it, you know that a second date is rare. People meet, they have dinner and drinks and then, for the most part, never see each other again. In some cases it makes sense. They just aren’t a good match and don’t really enjoy the date. Many times, though, both people say they enjoyed the date. They had a good time and had a lot in common. They rate the date a 4 or 5 out of 5, but then never go on another date. Why? Generally, they say there was no “spark”. I guess they are looking for something magical, something more than just enjoying their company. I guess they think that will always come on the first date or it’s not worth pursuing. I think I understand why they are single and using a dating service. The “spark” is not always immediate.

I knew my wife for a while before I ever considered dating her. When we first met, she was still dating her high school boyfriend. She probably barely noticed me. We eventually ended up in the same friend group and spent more time in the vicinity of each other. She broke up with the high school boyfriend, but was then dating another friend of mine.  We were around each other a lot, but still did not have the “spark” that everyone is looking for today. Again, I doubt she really knew who I was. Eventually, she was single again and I was interested. I’m still not sure she though much about me outside of my being friends with her friends. Our friends figured out I was interested and started manufacturing ways to get us together. Once they all backed out of a movie night so we would go alone. Eventually, I guess she experienced the “spark” and we were officially a couple. We are still married 25 years later. I guess it’s a good thing we didn’t dismiss the idea of dating because we didn’t “feel a spark” the first time we met.

My advice to the date lab people and dating people in general: if you enjoy spending time with someone, don’t give up after a first date just because you didn’t fall in love immediately.  Sometimes sparks take time.