The Road to Coupling – Why, Oh Why Am I Doing This?

Screen Shot 2015-12-12 at 2.08.28 AMI’m not big on romance movies or novels. I steer clear of love songs. They don’t stir the closeted hopeless romantic in me. But I do find something fascinating about a certain type of love story.

I learned that more than a decade ago when my father began a habit my sister and I at first found curious and then came to cherish.

My dad was an avid The New York Times reader. Each week, he drove to John King Books¹ in Ferndale, Mich., to purchase the newspaper. The staff knew him and had it ready to go when he arrived. At some point in 2001, in his late 70s, my dad came upon the paper’s “Vows” column². Vows pic

“Vows” shares the “how they met and married” stories of couples of all nationalities and ethnic groups. For some reason, he thought it a good idea to cut out and copy the columns and then mail them to my sister and I, his divorced, single daughters.

Thin or thick envelopes (sometimes he’d include several stories) would arrive in our mailboxes as little surprise gifts. We didn’t know our father’s motive. He never mentioned his why, and we never got to ask before he passed in 2003. Perhaps he wanted us to remain hopeful when it came to love in our own lives. Perhaps he just wanted to share well-written stories.

Whatever the case, we accepted it as something Dad wanted us to have; we read the articles, treasured them, and tucked them away. (I still have a few unopened envelopes. Sometimes, I just wasn’t up to reading someone else’s love story.)

Marriage & me

After I divorced in 1995, I didn’t think about marriage or dating for a long time. I was still recovering from my husband’s abuse and was focused on rebuilding my life and raising my young son. Another relationship was the furthest from my mind.

As years went by, I dated periodically and began to revisit the concept of marriage. Into my 40’s with no prospects, I concluded I’d be just fine with life-long companionship. To me, that felt right — the commitment being solely of the heart rather than of legal covenant.

Then, my best friend Shoni married the man her of dreams and the hopeful romantic in me reawakened.

Truth: I was envious.

“I want one like that,” my little heart said. As I watched them grow and meld into what I view as a model couple, they made marriage look like the epitome of love and fun. Who wouldn’t want that? Though still with no prospects, I at least was open to the idea.

The Road to Coupling comes to life

While I was divorced — and maybe still a bit hurting from my failed marriage — for six years when my dad began sending the articles, I found them enchanting. These were not celebrity stories; they were not scripted. There was the delicate sense of real to them, the everyday any person element to the stories, making love and relationships seem attainable.

It hit me in the spring of 2015 that a real-life love story with the intricate details of how two people get from first glance to two to 10 to 25 years together is a story to experience.

With “Vows” in the back of my head and in tribute to my late father, in the fall of 2015, I started my blog series The Road to Coupling. It’s about how couples meet, what leads them to the next level —be it marriage or a long-term relationship outside of marriage —and what holds them together.

IMG_1816Shoni and her husband Scott were the catalysts for the first story in the series. I was privy to the early development of their relationship; and 10 years later they still like each other. I saw magic in their story and wanted to share it. I interviewed them separately and found telling their story the most fulfilling assignment I’ve had as a writer in years.

When I say reader response was more than I imagined, that’s a bit of an understatement. In the two days of posting more than 300 people read the blog. Comments included “inspiring,” “hopeful,” and “a true love story.” And here’s something else I didn’t expect:

“Where’s the book?” many asked.

The sound of crickets and my blank stare was the immediate response. I never considered a book. But my eyes were opened. Then came the hesitant, “OK. Let me work on that.”

It occurred to me that I am not the only person fascinated by real-life love stories. The adamant requests for a book showed a hunger for authenticity when it comes to love and life, and when and where they (love and life) meet. I’m attracted to the details in love stories, and evidently others are, too.

That’s what The Road to Coupling is all about —the details that make love real loving relationships a reason to celebrate.

And the book project is a-go. Look for the release in the summer of this year.

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¹ http://www.rarebooklink.com/cgi-bin/kingbooks/index.html

² http://topics.nytimes.com/top/features/style/fashionandstyle/columns/vows/index.html

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2 Comments
  1. Lovely Andrea!
    So awesome of you to share the heart of why you have been driven to tell these beautiful stories!
    I think it’s fab that you are allowing your awesome sauce to shine, and I hope that it inspires others towards LOVE!

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