How I Met My Husband: The Long Version

by farrah on January 9, 2014 · 23 comments

We’re still waiting to hear from the universe on where we’re going after this expat assignment ends. That said, it got me thinking about the other occasions where the universe stepped in and revealed itself. There’s the magical Rose of Sharon bush in our yard here in the Netherlands, and before that it was the weird ‘Holland’ water tower by our house in South Carolina. In both cases I was highly aware of their significance- and that they truly were signs that I was on the right road. Kind of funny to think about how I completely missed the biggest ones of my entire life- meeting my husband. Most of us have interesting stories to tell of how we met our spouse. Here’s mine.

Wedding invitationOur wedding invitation. Photo credit: The Shooting Gallery 

Background ‘rules’

I am from a small town in Michigan about a half hour north of Detroit. Small, but not tiny. There were 365 kids in my graduating class and maybe 1500 or so in my high school. We had a few elementary schools, two middle schools and the one high school. I was in the class of 1994 not knowing that my husband-to-be was just two years behind me behind me in the same building.

Once I moved away and left Brighton, I insisted I would a) never marry another person from my hometown. b) never marry someone younger than me  and c) never marry anyone who was a fan of or affiliated with the University of Michigan. Eventually I would be a State grad, and felt even more strongly about the last rule.

Armed with my beliefs and ‘rules’ I went along my merry little way. For my first attempt at college- I moved north. One Christmas break  I  was ‘downstate’ at a U of M basketball game. The person I was with (who was from my hometown) asked me if I recognized a guy sitting behind the visiting coach. I peered as best as I could and said- ‘Yeah. I do think that’s Mr. Ritter.‘ Shyly, after the game we went down to the court to say hello. Mr. Ritter was a science teacher at our middle school and my friend and I had both played on his middle school basketball teams. I don’t know for sure if he recognized me- he probably did. He was pretty good with names. It was all kind of strange, but I remembered this meeting later.

You don’t say

Fast forward several years. By this point I had moved a dozen or so times- including to Montana and back. I was dumped by my boyfriend (forever something I will thank him for doing) and was living the single life in a quaint suburb of Detroit in a flat that I loved. One weekend I saw a psychic. Actually, it was a church that had several of them. I went with my grandmother and they approached me as I sat in the audience. They were telling me that I was going to Paris. And soon. How bizarre. Paris?! I didn’t even have a passport.

Later that summer I was at a rooftop bar in Detroit after attending a boxing match. It was an extremely random evening from start to finish. I was with a girl I had just met, and using tickets I had won at work. She wanted to go out ‘trolling’ for guys. I couldn’t be less interested. I was bored while she did her thing. I was not looking to meet anyone. I was happily enjoying being in my 20s. Then I saw a guy in a crisp white shirt who stood out. I wanted to meet him.

At one point in the evening I asked him where he was from and he said ‘The same place as you.’ I didn’t think I heard him right so dismissed it- and instead invited him and his friend to a coney island in Royal Oak with us for a late night/post bar snack. His friend couldn’t- but surprise! he lived in that direction so would be happy to join us.

My friend and I talked at the table about my strategy before he arrived. He sat down and my friend asked the clarifying questions. His name? Where was he from? Where did he live now? His answers once again threw me- His last name was Ritter. He was from Brighton. He lived in Oak Park- about five miles from where I did in Berkley.

Breaking the rules

I thought he was kidding when he told me he was from Brighton- surely, I would have remembered this person from my high school! He must have gone to private. Nope. He attended BHS. Ok, so then- do you know Mr. Ritter? The teacher and coach? Oh yes. That would be my father.STRIKE ONE: From my hometown.

Ok. So the man that I have known as the other science teacher at my middle school and since 7th grade as my basketball coach (!) and then again as the track coach. That man is your father? Yes. So, did you go to private school then? No. I went to yours. By this point I was highly confused. It didn’t click until he said it– I was in a class a few years behind you.STRIKE TWO: A younger man.

Well, I really liked him. So I let this slide. But then I remembered that I saw his dad at a U of M game a few years prior. I asked him about it. What was his dad doing there? Oh, he worked security for the visiting coach at every home game. He also works all of the home football games taking tickets. My mom works at U of M too. I’m going to go to business school there eventually. –Are you kidding? STRIKE THREE.

But none of that mattered anymore. I went home that night and called two of my best friends. I told them ‘I met the man I am going to marry‘. Call me nuts- but I did. I knew. I met this guy from my high school who went to college at UVA, then worked in Guam and New York- only to return to Michigan after 9/11. We had gone in completely different directions after high school- and here we were meeting on a bar rooftop in Detroit.

Getting together with him would prove harder though that you’d think. I waited around and didn’t hear from him so did the unthinkable. I consulted a male friend of mine at work- someone who took chances. Heck, he was a leukemia survivor so I knew what he was going to say: Call Him. Do it. If you real like him- work it out to see him.

And I did. I left an embarrassingly pathetic phone message that he still has to this day. He called back and we went on our first date to a Detroit Tigers home game. It was awesome. As for Paris he surprised me with a trip the following Valentine’s Day. I had to get my passport expedited though, since I still didn’t have one. Good thing since I get some use out of it these days.

So long story short- life is full of little coincidences and puzzles for us to figure out. The ‘rules’ you make don’t matter. The universe has its own plan and thankfully so- since for me, that’s how I met my husband.

 How did you meet your spouse? 

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elizabeth January 9, 2014 at 7:49 am

Charlie and I don’t have quite as interesting story. Just one sentence: we met in karate in high school. Now that I have a 10th grader whose heart has been smashed into pieces twice in the last four months, I am so grateful for that very simple story. We may not have ever had an exciting, drama-filled relationship that always kept me guessing, but I would have hated that and been miserable. I have always been grateful for my husband, but even more so now.


2 farrah January 9, 2014 at 7:57 am

Drama-filled is overrated! Ours was never one of those back and forth/fighting/breaking up types either. I wish I could go back and tell my 16 year old self that that’s when you know you have a good thing 🙂 I’m sorry to hear about the 10th grader. I wouldn’t go back to that for a million dollars!


3 Ann January 9, 2014 at 10:43 am

Aww…. that brought tears to my eyes. We have a lot of similarities and a lot of differences in our stories. Younger man, from Michigan (him not me), and I knew he was the one – not when I first met him, but when we started dating. I also made the first call – and a girl answered! 🙂

Technically, we met via mutual friends and all of the guys who were there that night were in our wedding 3 years later. We also had a lot of interesting signs.

Such a sweet story, Farrah. I can’t believe he still has your message!


4 farrah January 10, 2014 at 8:48 am

Ha! The fact that a girl answered when you called made me laugh 🙂


5 Ace January 9, 2014 at 1:02 pm

I love your rules! Very funny and sweet. And you guys make a good match 😉


6 farrah January 10, 2014 at 8:48 am

Thanks! I think the same for you and yours. Two peas in a pod.


7 andrea January 9, 2014 at 1:27 pm

This is the cutest story, I love it! You guys were destined to be together 🙂 I met my husband at a wedding, in Pittsburgh, I lived in Atlanta and he lived in London and 3 weeks later I was flying over to London to see him. 18 months of seeing each other every 6 weeks (thank goodness for frequent flyer miles!) and I moved over there!


8 farrah January 10, 2014 at 8:49 am

Yay! I love that you followed your heart and ended up with him. What a romantic story, eh?


9 Rach (DonutsMama) January 9, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Never say never!! I met my husband at work. And it’s a good thing we were older because he was the guy I would *never* have dated in high school or college. He was the class clown, the funny guy, the guy who wasn’t in the honors classes. I was such a priss, straight-A student and very quiet. But it all worked out!


10 farrah January 10, 2014 at 8:49 am

Hahahha! Seriously, making the rules- they’re meant to be broken.


11 Theresa January 9, 2014 at 7:28 pm

Adorable story! I too have a husband who on paper would have had a whole lotta strikes against him 😉 I’m glad I too overlooked them.

I was an aupair in Amsterdam in my early 20’s. I set up a meetup group for expats in AMS, and low and behold this Dutch guy asks to join. He explained that he’s from Limburg so might as well be an expat as the Dutch are concerned.

Having dated other Dutch guys I wasn’t keen to do it again but I’m glad I made an exception! We’ve lived on three continents, had a beautiful winter wonderland wedding and have a gorgeous little boy to show for it 🙂


12 farrah January 10, 2014 at 8:50 am

Theresa that’s a great story. And the fact that he said he might as well be an expat made me laugh- so true!


13 Karla January 10, 2014 at 1:59 pm

I love this story. It gives me some encouragement for something that I’m going through. I’ll send you an e-mail to catch you up.


14 farrah January 13, 2014 at 8:05 am

There is always hope where finding love is concerned 😉


15 Leigh Ann January 12, 2014 at 2:33 am

What a great story. Christian and I used to work retail together. The men’s restroom was right next to where I worked in customer service, and the women’s was in his department, selling basketball goals and other athletic equipment. He says that I always ignored him when I walked by, but I was just shy.


16 farrah January 13, 2014 at 8:06 am

Ha! Funny how that happens. I wonder if he made any ‘extra’ trips to the restroom just to walk by and check you out 🙂


17 Julia January 12, 2014 at 8:14 pm

What a sweet story, I love hearing how people met. My husband and I went to high school together but didn’t get together until after high school too.


18 farrah January 13, 2014 at 8:07 am

Did you know him in high school? Sometimes I think back to how funny it was- walking by him, not knowing where life would take us and how we’d connect.


19 Heather January 13, 2014 at 3:11 am

Guess what? We live in Berkley! We’ve been here over eleven years, and love it.


20 farrah January 13, 2014 at 8:07 am

Ha! Crazy! I loved Berkley! I lived on Cumberland in the gorgeous brick Tudor home. Such a cute neighborhood.


21 Heather January 21, 2014 at 1:33 am

We’re near the park off of 11 Mile…awesome for running and dog walks. Not sure when you were last in the area, but there are so many small businesses and restaurants that have opened up on 12 Mile and Coolidge over the past few years…it’s just awesome. And you won’t believe it, but they closed Hiller’s like a month ago (the *original* one, apparently). Supposedly another grocery store is going in its place, but right now we have to schlep to RO for a “quick” grocery run.


22 Amy January 14, 2014 at 5:33 am

So cute! I love stories like that. I met my husband for the first time at a bar – we had friends in common. Talked briefly. He was in the midst of a terrible breakup. Then I met him again almost exactly one year later at the same bar, with the same group of friends. We had a weird “I remember you” conversation, and the rest was history.


23 Grande Mocha February 1, 2014 at 6:25 pm

I met my husband in the computer lab at the University of Michigan. He needed a date for a wedding. I went to the reception with him. He caught the bouquet.


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