Conversations With Strangers: The first-date question that changed my life.

Do you like kids? Yep. Do you? Yep. Good.

It should have been no surprise to anyone that we both liked kids. We’re both teachers. We first met in a computer lab at university where we were both studying to become teachers. And although a platonic, fairly distant (like, as in, long-haul-international-flight-distant) friendship developed over the following eighteen months, in between travel, work, social lives and dates with others, we found time to check in with each other and stay connected through lengthy emails.

Then we were both unattached, and (even if temporarily) in the same country at the same time. He asked me out on a date. He swept me off my feet. It was the most magnificent day and evening, planned so carefully by him from thousands of kilometers away , then executed with romance and style.

Over dinner, hard-hitting questions were asked. And it’s a good thing they were, because while he was home in Australia for just fourteen days, we were inseparable, and those heavy conversations set the foundations for huge change in both of our lives.

When he boarded his flight “home” to the UK, where he had a teaching contract, a rental lease, a car, and a fabulous life of European travel, our future seemed uncertain. Was two weeks after a first date too soon to have fallen head over heels in love with someone? Sure, we’d met each other’s entire families and friendship circles, but what did it all mean?

That was January. We both racked up enormous phone and internet accounts, until five weeks later, on Valentine’s Day 2008, he arrived at back at Brisbane International Airport. He’d farewelled his friends and the motherland for good. He’d dropped everything – for me. This gesture, and the fact he wanted a family someday, were a pretty bloody great start. He’d laid his heart on the line. His honesty and transparency about his feelings were what won me over for good.

Last week we celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary.

In the time we’ve spent together, we’ve fulfilled our common dream of having a family. We now have three gorgeous little kids together and we marvel at their beauty on a daily basis.

Around the time of our recent anniversary we began reminiscing a lot about our life together, and why we work so well. A common thread appeared. It seems that our differences create a balance, and that balance is what makes our marriage (mostly) harmonious*.

This, it seems, is our unique formula for success:

He loves 90s music because it reminds him of his teen years. I myself was a child in the 1990s so I know considerably fewer of the decade’s hits than he does.

He loves hearing me sing traditional lullabies and nursery rhymes to our children as I bathe them. I enjoy hearing him mumble the lyrics of children’s songs, then change to something a little more familiar; he sings Coolio’s Gangster’s Paradise to put our baby to sleep.

I am crap at sport and maths. He is rubbish at craft and despises dislikes (he made me change that!) literacy activities. Between our strengths an weaknesses, we should be able to raise reasonably balanced kids (and help them with their homework).

We select DVDs alternately for fairness. Sound of Music on Friday night, The Hurtlocker on Saturday. Occasionally we’ll find a movie we can agree upon. Actually that has only ever happened once (it was The Blind Side).

I don’t get cross when I see him checking out another girl’s outfit. That’s code for having a sneaky perv. In return he doesn’t get cross when I begin salivating over a pair of boots in a shop window (and then promptly purchase them).

These are just a few of the ways we create balance in one another’s lives.

But, when it comes down to the crunch, that first date question that he asked me was pivotal. Because our children, now, are the most important thing in our lives, our most prized possession, our most valued asset, our most precious gifts. They themselves create balance in our lives-

What did you talk about on your first date?


Joining in today with always Josefa for Conversations over Coffee. On the last Thursday of each month, Josefa elects a topic to write about. This month’s theme was Conversations with strangers.

15 thoughts on “Conversations With Strangers: The first-date question that changed my life.

  1. That’s a lovely story- and to think you both could have just gone your separate ways in different countries. The world is amazingly small and big at the same time. Happy Anniversary.


  2. I laughed out loud at Gangsters Paradise being used as a lullaby!!
    Balance is also key in my marriage. In fact today, we were discussing whether we feel like individually we are balancing our time in personal activities, family and couple. We both feel good about it.


  3. Aww you guys are so cute! We actually had a long distance relationship too for about nine months. Shortly after we met, my man moved to Dublin. (It had already been pre-planned). He cut his world trip short to be with me. They’re pretty awesome guys we have arent’ they? Thanks for sharing 🙂


  4. I know all about this. We did it too. On our first date, we agreed on a baby name! I know. I know. But sometimes up you just know. Congratulations on the anniversary!


  5. What a beautiful whirlwind fairy tale you have to share! Wow that is some amazing romance that brought you guys together – love it so much. I think we often overlook that some of the mos important people in our lives, were once strangers to us. How that relationship can change is just incredible. Thank you so much for joining in the conversation for #convocoffee Josefa


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