Valentine's Day with balloons

Everything happens for a reason. I know that sounds so cliché, but I truly believe it. That’s because, 4 and a half years ago, there was one single text message—timed so perfectly—that saved me from a dark place, and steered my life in a different direction at the time I needed it most.

Valentine's Day kissing

My husband has become a bit of a permanent fixture on my Instagram account, popping up regularly in my photos. It’s to the point that I will bring him to a blogger event and people he’s never met will say “you must be Alex”! Since he’s such an integral part of my life and my blog is a reflection of my lifestyle, it only makes sense he’d make an appearance. But I’ve never shared how we got together, and there are things not even family and friends know about the start of our relationship that made it so special.

So, for this Valentine’s Day (being our 4th together), I thought I’d tell you about our love story.

Holding hands Love balloon

Okay, so that text message… It was July of 2013. There I was, lying on my couch, feeling depressed, confused, hopeless, and alone. I picked up my phone and was just about to send a message to my ex-boyfriend, when I got a text message from Alex. That message led to a conversation. That conversation led to a date. That date led to a new relationship, which ultimately led to a marriage.

Without going into too much detail, before that message, I spent over 2 years of my life in one of the worst relationships I’ve ever been in. There were a lot of fights, damage, mistrust, unspeakable words, breakups, makeups, and then breakups again. That relationship and its aftermath caused me to down spiral into a very sad place. I cried a lot wondering when it would be my turn for love, and then I eventually became cynical and ditched the whole idea about “the one” being out there for me.

Prior to that message, Alex was an acquaintance, but not a love interest. We met through mutual friends, and our paths crossed several times. We shared an interest in the same music and exchanged numbers to hang out at music events. Though I’d been out of that previous relationship for a little while and I was pretty sure I was done for good, I had a moment of self-doubt. I know for a fact that had Alex not texted me at that precise moment, my life would have gone down a different path. I like to think of that as my own, real life, Choose Your Own Adventure moment (remember those books?). I had two possibilities staring at me in the face, and I’m sure glad I chose the right one!

Touching face holding balloon Balloons and desserts on the floor Balloons on the floor

I knew from very early on that Alex was different. I got a good feeling from our first conversation and then our first date. You know those really, really good gut feelings? There was a twinkle in his eyes when he picked me up for the first time and I got butterflies in my stomach too. He was quiet, but opened up and showed me his playful side almost immediately. I could tell he was a good guy and that I could trust him. To this day, those feelings have not led me wrong.

There was absolutely no game-playing in our relationship – no waiting 1 or 2 days to send a text message kind of game-playing. We both wanted to spend all our time together and pretty much did exactly that. No amount was too much. He wasn’t afraid to express his feelings for me, and our feelings quickly developed into love.

But there was this one complication. He was going away to do his MBA at Oxford for 1 year in less than 2 months. The thought of being in a long-distance relationship for an entire year was enough to make me want to pump the brakes. However, he assured me he’d be the last person to message me before I went to sleep every night and he’d be the first person to message me every morning. He kept his promise, and it was like we never skipped a beat.

Even though he moved over 5,000 kms away, in that one year alone, we visited each other 6 times, traveled to 19 cities, and saw 3 Wonders of the World together. The time went by quickly, and sooner than we knew it, he was back home in Toronto. Our relationship continued to progress. We eventually started living together, and got engaged in December of 2015 (our proposal story was pretty cool and you can read all about it here). Our wedding was on July 8, 2017 and was the best day of my life!

Reaching for desserts Reading card

I don’t mean to paint a picture of all rainbows and unicorns. As with any other relationship, we have our fair share of disagreements. But when you are compatible, love each other, and commit yourselves fully emotionally and spiritually, the bad times are few. Alex is my partner for life and I couldn’t imagine being with anyone else. He showed up when I least expected it, and gave me the exact spark I needed to ignite my belief in love again. For that, I’ll be forever grateful.

I chose to share this on Valentine’s Day, not just for the obvious reasons. This day can elicit extreme positive or negative emotions, depending on your relationship and emotional status. But if there is even one person out there who has a cynical view on love, or perhaps has found him or herself in the same position I was once in, then I want to just conclude by saying that love is out there. Things happen for a reason and timing plays a huge role. Trust your gut. But whatever you do, don’t close your heart off to love forever, because you could miss out on the most important opportunity of your life.

Dedicating this post to my husband, Alex, and my forever Valentine.

Looking up at balloons