"slowly, and then all at once."
– John Green
I am firm believer that love is not measured by time.
I do not believe the amount of time you have been together means that your love is stronger. I do not believe that being together 10 years means you love each other more than a couple that has been together for 1 year. I do not believe that time can measure the depth, the strength, the commitment, the passion, the bond that is love.
Getting defensive of my opinion is natural because I am a victim of this judgment. The judgment that because my husband and I have been together (what is considered) a short time – that we are not as serious as a couple that has been together double the time. So when the topic comes up, I am in immediate defense mode.
Here is our story.
In August 2014, I was working as a finance manager at a motorcycle dealership and very much enjoying my time at work. I liked the environment – business but still fun. I walked into this job on accident, with no experience, and was actually quite good at it which made it even better.
But, it wasn't enough. The finance trainer for our company was leaving and told me he could get me an interview with the company he was going to work for, a car dealership. This meant longer hours, but more money. A position that I could grow from, move up in the company. A career job. I accepted the invite for an interview and was offered the position.
The day after Labor Day, I started my first day. After two weeks in my new position, I was still getting the hang of things and all of a sudden.. the general manager that hired me, believed in me, gave me the opportunity, was fired. Effective immediately. I didn't know what was going to happen.
Enter Mr. Barnes. The hot shot young general manager from the store across the street. He was brought in to run my store until a permanent replacement could be found. He was fast paced, always on the go, the kind of guy you wanted to make sure you always had the answers for or.. well, you wouldn't like what you encountered. He wanted things done a certain way and at the time.. I hadn't quite figured out what that was.
After receiving a job offer from my previously fired general manager, I went back and forth about what to do and ultimately decided to accept. I texted Mr. Barnes that night with my resignation, stating that I could not work for him. We went back and forth for a while before he managed to convince me to meet with him the next day to discuss the issue. I went, we discussed how I did not feel like we could work together because I did not feel like he wanted to teach me anything, just tell me what to do and that I felt I would never learn in that environment.
He asked me if I would consider staying if he committed to teaching me, taking the time to help me learn my new position. I left that meeting and immediately went to see my previous general manager and talk about my new position. Then I spent the weekend in knots. I did not feel like leaving my current job was right, it wasn't sitting right. In the end I decided to stay, trusting that Mr. Barnes was going to teach me what I needed to know in order to succeed. After all, my success is also his.
In the next month, he was helpful and he was patient. He took the time to talk to me about what I should be doing, helping me to learn and grow, making me into a pretty good finance manager despite my lack of experience.
But more than that, he was kind. Outside of work we spent a lot of time making small talk, learning about each other, confiding in each other, growing a friendship outside of being coworkers. He saw me as a wise, smart young woman with a lot to offer the world. He listened to what I had to say, trusted my opinion, guided me, and complimented me on things far beyond appearance. I had never been treated this way before.
And at the end of that month, we began dating. Officially. Of course it was a bit of a secret at first, you know.. the whole coworker, he was my manager thing.. but eventually after a short time we let it be known.
It was a fast paced courtship. Fast paced as in, we started dating Nov 16th and he moved into my apartment the same day I did on Nov 18th. It wasn't intentional. He stayed over that night with me and I never let him leave after that.
Within five months, he proposed. The sweetest way. It was April, he told me we were going to have dinner at our favorite sushi place by the beach, then we'd walk by the beach. We did. Then I turned around to see our four month old puppy, my mom, and my sister. Our puppy began walking towards us with a box around his neck, a ring and just like that, he was on his knee asking me to be his wife.
Three months later in July, we bought our first house. That same month we found out that we were expecting our first baby. Our Camden Parker. With a baby on the way and a new house to decorate, we decided to forgo our previously scheduled November wedding. A month later, in August, we got married with four people watching at the court house. It was perfect. I mean honestly, all I needed was him.
We are celebrating three years of marriage in two weeks. Four years together in November. We have lived in one apartment and two houses, lived in two states, brought home to perfect babies, bought three rambunctious dogs, gone on countless weekend getaways and vacations, shared more memories than I could ever count. We have had our share of difficult times, but every relationship does.
The amount of time we have been together may be short, with a lot packed into it, but I am more in love with that man now than I have ever been. To think that I quit my job because I didn't think he wanted to teach me and now I see, he has taught me and still teaches me the most important things in life. How to love whole heartedly, how to be loved in return, how to be calm when things are crazy, how to relax when I am feeling anxious, how to be spontaneous, how to be a wife and mom and homemaker. He has taught me more about life and about myself than I ever knew possible.
Every day I am thankful for that day in October when I got a little too sensitive during a meeting with Mr. Barnes and decided to quit on him because from that day forward, he has never quit on me.
Don't ever let anyone make you feel like your love isn't real because it hasn't yet lasted a lifetime, you've got a lifetime to go and prove them wrong.