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November 23, 2013

An Unexpected Marriage: How I Gave Up & Found Love.

I am sitting in front of a volcano. I look at the lake. It’s early in the morning. Brisk. Alive.

The loves of my life are still sleeping sweetly in our cozy bed.

I never get tired of this volcano and this lake, no matter how long I spend gazing at them.

We live in a tiny house with lots of character (to put it politely). The view makes up for any faults of the house. Also the rent is about $60 a month. It’s the perfect place for us.

My life has changed tremendously over the past few years.

Two years ago, I was perpetually single and conveniently blaming that fact on the less-than-ideal crop of compatible men in Guatemala.

After so many heartbreaks and f*cked up situations with men from the time I was 15 all the way to age 30, I figured my heart center was inexplicably dysfunctional.

I’d gone on ten dozen dates—the internet dating thing, the blind dates, the on-again, off-again pseudorelationships. I’d enabled cheaters to cheat and allowed myself to be mistreated for way, way, way too long.

When I was younger, I arbitrarily thought I’d get married at 28. My late 20s came and went and marriage was clearly not in the cards.

I was moving toward acceptance. Thinking, okay… so I’m going to be a free-wheeling, world traveling woman. I won’t be tied down by a relationship or kids. I’ll be sophisticated and have long-term lovers. I’ll be content to be alone.

I’d given up on love.

But I wasn’t bitter. I focused on loving myself and being content with the myriad non-romantic blessings that I did have in my life.

I was plotting my next move, thinking of moving to Asia to pursue a drastically changed lifestyle in a new part of the world. I applied for teaching jobs from Malaysia to the Middle East. Meanwhile, I was subconsciously hoping some mystical thing would happen to make me stay in Guatemala.

Toward the end of December, I headed from the city to the lake three hours away for what I thought would be a quiet, solo retreat for New Year’s. I was not thinking of wild, drunken festivities or midnight kisses. I was content to be alone, surrounded only by nature and a select few friends.

Upon arrival, I stopped by the home of my hippie friends for a visit. I had no real plans for the weekend other than relaxing, doing some yoga, reading and writing. I figured I’d sleep at our mutual friend’s vacant cabin. It’s small and rustic (no electricity), but it would be perfect for me.

Instead, they suggested that I crash at a larger, more luxurious casa. Another friend was also staying there, house-sitting for the owner, but they assured me it wouldn’t be a problem as the house was spacious.

The house-sitter turned out to be a Colombian artisan friend of theirs who I’d met briefly for the first time that afternoon. As night fell, he and I hiked the five minutes uphill to this intriguing new housing situation. Although the house was lovely and spacious, as promised, it had only one sleeping area: a double bed in the loft upstairs.

For the next several days, we had what felt like a fantasy honeymoon—without having had to deal with a pesky courtship, engagement or wedding.

I read Pema Chodron on my new Kindle, wrote giddy journal entries, stretched, breathed and otherwise basked in the warmth of love. I practiced yoga on the stone porch overlooking the magnificent lake and three volcanoes. My spontaneous new crush cooked divine vegetarian meals and we did the dishes together. We played house, and it was delightful.

Following the advice of the Buddhist book I was reading, I was striving to avoid my normal traditions of fantasizing, ruminating and otherwise falling in love with the storyline.

Meanwhile, I was falling for the love of my life! He cooks, he cleans, he’s creative and cute and caring and sexy and intelligent.

At the end of our first week spent together, as he walked me to the boat dock on January 1, 2012, I wondered if we’d ever see each other again.

As it turns out, we did. I’d drive to the lake most weekends to visit him, somehow forcing myself to go back to the capital city for another work week. I decided not to move halfway across the world. Yet we weren’t officially together. I was in love but he was resistant, wary of giving up his freedom to travel on a whim.

And then I got pregnant. Just a few months after we met.

Sh*t got intense, fast. It was a moment of truth. Would he stay or leave? I braced myself for the latter, but fortunately, he chose the former. We’ve been together since. I still kind of can’t believe how lucky I am.

I quit my job, moved to the beloved lake, and… I just happen to be married with child.

We, two people who are “not the marrying type,” did get legally married recently, mainly due to immigration/residency issues. Much more importantly, we are committed to love, accept and trust each other unconditionally—and to raise our darling daughter in a happy, supportive environment.

As the old Chuck Berry tune says, “It goes to show you never can tell.”

p.s. I love hearing about how people met their partners. Share your story in a comment if so inspired!

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Editor: Bryonie Wise

{Photo courtesy of the author}

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