Tuesday, February 24, 2009

11 Years and 1 Day!

11 years ago today, I woke up and I realized that I had abandoned single life. The previous evening, in the romantic chapel at the Flamingo Hilton in Las Vegas, I had stepped in to the world of marriage with a man that I had met only a month and a half ago, although I had known him for almost 3 years.

I met my husband via a chat program called IRC. I was in college at the time, and I used IRC to stay in touch with friends from home. I frequented a chat room called #Norway and so did he. Initially I was happy to chat with him because he was American. A few years back, I had spent a year as an exchange student in Seattle and had fallen in love with all things American.
(Seriously….no matter what you think or how many of you want to move to Canada every time there are some challenges to overcome here in the US, we really are living in the greatest country in the world…)

It probably doesn’t sound very romantic when I say that we fell in love due to American politics. I had a class in college on American politics and I was writing a paper on political campaign ads. I found my best resources for this paper to be the Americans themselves, so I consulted the ones I knew, including him. We started discussing other aspects of American politics, and I realized that the teacher I had was leaning towards a certain end of the political spectrum and our education in politics has been very one-sided.

Of course, it wasn’t the American politics subject itself that drew us closer together. It was more the fact that we were able to discuss a topic like politics with each other on an intelligent level. I had already concluded from my experience with past relationships, that if I were to enter a lasting relationship, it had to be with someone who was of the same or higher intellect as myself otherwise I’d get bored.

American politics eventually led to discussing other topics, topics which gradually became more intimate until there was no denying that we were more than friends.
After awhile we started planning for me to come out here once I was done with college, and on January 15th 1998, I landed on American soil. Once we met in person, there was really no question that this was it for us.
February 14th that year I accepted his proposal and February 23rd we eloped to Las Vegas and got married. This wedding was to be followed by 2 more weddings later that year; one in Norway for my Norwegian family and friends and one official wedding in California for his family and friends.

A lot of people ask us how we did it. How did we manage to find the right person via chat and how have we managed to stay so happy for 11 years. I think our answer, to put it bluntly, is “No Bullshit!”
It’s easy to pretend that you are somebody else when you chat with people online. You can make yourself prettier, smarter and seemingly more perfect because chances are you’ll never meet the person. That was never the case with us. We were always up front about who we were, we would even openly discuss bad habits and traits that we possessed.
A great thing about chatting “monitor to monitor” is that you cover topics that it’ll take years for some people to approach if they are talking face to face. Since we were honest & upfront about who we were – aka no bullshit – we knew each other inside and out by the time we met. Also, we never even exchanged photos until we had been chatting for at least a year or so, simply because we didn’t really care what the other person looked like. We fell in love with each other’s minds & personalities, by the time we exchanged photos, there was very little that could have scared us off.

We’ve continued practicing the “no bullshit” routine in real life. We are who we are. First of all, there was no bullshit to uncover once we met. Everything about me was what I had told him already and vice versa. There were no ugly surprises. There were surprises, but they’ve all been positive :) Another big thing in our relationship is communication. There are no secrets (except for the nice ones, like Christmas presents….hee hee….). And I guess the most important thing is, there is so much more to our relationship than just love.

I’m not a believer in love at first sight. I believe in attraction at first sight. I also believe in the possibility of love at first sight. But to truly fall in love with a person, you have to know that person first and then you decide whether or not you can love him, bad qualities and all. That instant puppy love we feel when we fall in love, it will eventually fade away some. In its place is another form of love, a love that will help us overcome the obstacles we’ll encounter throughout our relationship.

Love is important, but it shouldn’t be the only thing a relationship is based on. Included in a relationship there should be a certain level of commonalities, there should be friendship, there should be and understanding that we’re not perfect. Life has its ups and its downs, but as long as all the things you love about a person exceeds this person’s bad habits, we’ll be OK.

A perfect romance is what happens on big screens and in Harlequin romance novels. The rest of us have to work at a relationship to make it perfect. When the priest says “for better or for worse”, it really means exactly that. But I guess the point is that the relationship you have with the person you marry needs to be important enough to make you want to stay and fight when things get “worse”.

So… no secrets. Just be yourself. That’s all you can be and when you meet that special someone, that’s all he will want you to be as well.

No bullshit.


God's Not Finished With Us Yet... said...

Wow Liala, this is a really awesome post! I read it all the way through and my very first thought was 'LOL....wow, she'd be bored with me because I am such a dork and not an intellect in the least.'

I love how the part about how you wrote that you were in an American Politics course and your group was able to talk on an intelligent level. For me, God (Jesus) is my foundation (I'm sure that was obvious from my blog.lol) and I never judge another; who am I ya know? So I love when I learn of other's who I am so different from, yet there's that relief that you can still be decent online friends, knowing your both debating on, what you said; an intelligent level. Not judging or whatnot. Who cares ya know?

I really enjoyed reading this here. It is well spoken and teaches a lot with the no B/S thing about just laying yourself on the line; bare and naked to the one's you genuinely care about. This is how it should be, yet so often it's not. Sad actually.

Oh, and off to my side corner of my eye, I see your archive of 'Tattoo', which one day I must look at....my older sister just got her 3rd tatoo of a monkey on her back to remind her of her addiction to gambling.

Okay so enough of me rambling though I know that's to far gone....

Nice to meet you!

~ sarah

Ororina said...

11 years ago? Already? Wow! Time has gone really fast! So that means that it's 12 years since we occupied the computers at the uni - haha. Was it the photo I took of you you sent to Dave?

I found my cowboy on the net too, and you're so right, the reason for that it went so well and still goes well, is "no bullshit". And I'm sure that the reason for the strong relationship between me and my "hubby" is that we where open and talked/chatted a lot before we decided to meet. The first photo he sent me of him self, was an x-ray photo of his chest, so he let me see his inner side first - haha.

Laila said...

Sarah - thanks so much for your nice words :-) I doubt you're as much of a dork as you think ... I think in the end, we're all dorks ;-) lol ... Some of us are just more apt to admit it up front! =) You seem like a wonderful human being and although I consider myself agnostic in a religious view (was brought up Lutheran), I'm always interested in reading all aspects of people's views, especially when they're well thought out like your blog so I look forward to reading more :)

Ororina: I know I can't believe it's been 11 years.... Online rocks! (As long as we stick to the no BS rule! :)) That's cute about the XRay photo!!! :-D

(Sorry all for the delay in response... :-))

bayted9 said...

I enjoyed your story! I knew how you had met, but I did not know all the cute details! Happy *belated* Anniversary! :-)