Finding love when you aren’t looking

Published 3:44 pm Sunday, February 6, 2022

I met my wife at a wedding where, in true Hollywood fashion, I was the best man and she was the maid of honor.  I hadn’t gone to the wedding looking for love.  In fact, I almost didn’t go.  For a variety of reasons, I wasn’t in the head space to celebrate love and marriage.  I decided that I couldn’t bail on my friend, so I flew to the wedding and, well, my life took a fascinating turn.

After some of the most painful events in my life had worn me down, I was convinced that love just wasn’t in the cards for me.  But then I sat next to my now-wife.  Well, I didn’t choose to sit next to her.  At the rehearsal dinner, the banquet room was only serving alcohol.  Not even water.  Being a non-drinker, I had to leave the table to go get a Pepsi whenever I needed to slake my thirst (I’m so glad to finally be able to use slake in a sentence!). Yet, every time I returned to the rehearsal dinner, someone had taken my spot.  Every. Single. Time. Until the last time I returned from my quest for Pepsi and the only seat left was next to Julia. I don’t remember needing another Pepsi after that because our conversation was so exhilarating that I don’t think I got up until the dinner was over.

I could go on and on about that weekend, and how it felt like pieces of a puzzle were being found and locked into place.  We struck up a friendship that turned into love, and we just returned from a weekend in Myrtle Beach where we celebrated our anniversary.

This isn’t so much a tribute to love or destiny as if we were star-crossed lovers that could give Romeo and Juliet a run for their money.  This is a tribute to my wife and all of the many ways that she has made me a better human being. To steal something my wife has said to me, I hope one day I can see myself the way she sees me.  I have never felt as safe, loved, and affirmed as I have since meeting her.  On the days when it feels like I can’t get rid of the voices of doubt or insecurity, she is there to hold me and cheer me on.  On the days where it’s not a voice of insecurity I hear but one of ego, she knows how to quickly deflate my big head while not deflating me.  She has encouraged my hobbies and passions and has done so in a way that doesn’t feel superficially tolerant but truly encouraging.

I could go on and about her.  Maybe she’ll be the topic of my first book, or perhaps Nicholas Sparks could use our love story as a template for yet another love story set in the coastal lands of North Carolina! But perhaps the most important thing I can say about her or to her is simply “Thank you.” I say this often, but I can always say it more.  To my beautiful wife who has shown me love and acceptance, thank you for making me a better version of myself.  Here’s to decades more love and beach trips for the two of us!


Chris Adams is the Rector at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Washington.