Our Family Startup
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Our Family Startup

How We Met: Two Perspectives. One Vision.

The Woods at Dickinson College in 2006

How Matt remembers our first date: We were both nineteen year old kids, just sophomores at small-town Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. It was Fall semester, and I played for the Men’s soccer team. After most games, one of the seniors on the team would host a “soccer cocktail” event (read: keg and red solo cups). I had no intention of bringing a date to the event on this particular evening, but as I was throwing on my wrinkled khakis — realizing that my strategy of laying them on the floor and covering them with text books for a few hours did nothing close to a serviceable job as an iron — a friend of mine from down the hall came in and suggested I give his friend Marena a call.

I didn’t know who she was or the first thing about her. And, even though I trusted his opinion, calling a girl I didn’t know to invite her to an event — and spending the evening trying to make small talk with a stranger instead of sharing a few beers with my teammates — didn’t exactly sound appealing.

But for whatever reason — looking back, I’ll chalk it up to fate — I typed in that 412 area code and invited this girl, whose name I couldn’t even pronounce, on a blind date.

How Marena remembers it: Before this “blind date” of which Matt speaks, I had met him exactly three times. I can forgive him for forgetting the first two — they were in passing.

The third time we met, though, I actually drove him in my car — along with some mutual friends — to Blockbuster so we could all rent a movie to watch in his dorm room later. I remember every detail of this Great Blockbuster Adventure, right down to the blue tank top I was wearing and the light green Orbit gum Matt offered my friend and me before watching the movie.

The evening was apparently not so memorable to him — and, let’s be honest, I was not so memorable to him. But, when he called me the night of the cocktail he describes, I was sure it was because I’d caught his attention.

Back to Matt: I’ll spare you the description of the beer covered floor and the K-Ci & JoJo singalong that night, but needless to say, even though we’ve been together ever since, we walked into that evening with two very different perspectives. And, fourteen years and three beautiful sons later, I wish I could say that was the last time this happened. But, we kept meeting at the doorstep of another turning point in our life together — marriage, family, parenting, faith, careers, finances, values — with vastly different perspectives.

After first trying to blow past one another with sheer force of opinion, we soon learned that each of us possessed the stubbornness of a mule and neither of us would give an inch without reason. As our horns butted heads time and again, we finally came to the realization that making the decision to share a life with someone else also meant that our vision for our life was no longer our own. The single voice inside of us that dictated every meaningful life decision up until that point was no longer the sole arbiter of our actions and decisions. For the first time, another voice had joined the fray, and the simple dictator of our ego had evolved into a complex partnership with conflicting plans, intentions, and dreams. Though this conflicting perspectives led to disagreements and arguments, this did not mean the vision for our life got worse; far from it.

Over time we realized that each of us only has two eyes, only one pair of glasses to serve as the lens through which we see the world. The view of our partner, though different from our own, was also an incredible opportunity to the see the world in a different way, to enhance our lives and our family by leveraging two lived experiences rather than one.

Embracing and merging these perspectives under one unified vision is incredibly hard, and we still struggle to do this some days, but when we do, when we each trade glasses and merge our vision with the other, our life truly becomes one. Our opinions, though ardent as ever, now work together. We’re on the same side with the same goal, building a life of love and happiness together.

Two perspectives. One Vision.

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M. Wood

M. Wood

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Husband. Father. Lawyer. Founder at heart. Writes about family, faith, country, and finding purpose in this life.