The first time I met my husband I was eighteen, (but thought I had the maturity of a twenty-five-year-old). I walked into Athletes World, which was a shoe store at the time, with my résumé in hand, and my purse in the other. My intention was to go to the store, ask for the manager, and hand him or her my résumé.
When I arrived at the store, a guy came walking towards me asking me if I needed help with anything. This guy was my soon to be “boyfriend”, I just had no idea that this is what the future had in store for me.
I asked him if I could speak to the manager and he let me know that the manager would be back in a few moments. While I waited for the manager to return, I browsed the shoe wall. The guy introduced himself as Charles and asked me a few questions about the types of shoes I like.
Shortly after, the store manager returned he decided to give me an interview on the spot and during my interview… I was hired!
Over the course of the next few weeks, Charles and I had a ton of work shifts with one another. He was witty and always joking around. In other words, there was never a dull moment while I was in his presence.
We would take our breaks with one another, and he would insist on buying my food in the food court. Our meals usually consisted of Koya Japan, teriyaki chicken on rice and he always bought himself mexi-fries, from Taco Time.
Our conversations were typically based on each of us making fun of one another. He was the Canadian washed Asian guy from Surrey, and I was the half Asian girl, who loved Asian guys from Vancouver.
He was down-to-earth, super funny and in all honesty, he simply wasn’t like the guys I was used to dating.
We eventually exchanged phone numbers, which is when the long conversations that lasted until the other person fell asleep started.
We talked about everything and anything, just to be on the phone with one another.
I remember having a long conversation with him about procrastinating, and how I really needed to stop doing it.
One day he picked me up for work, (I didn’t have a car and I didn’t know how to drive). When I got into the car, he had a gift wrapped up, with a pretty bow on top. I was so excited because the gift was wrapped so pretty, and when I said, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe you wrapped this”, he replied with the cutest smirk, “Well, it’s almost Christmas and they have the gift wrapping booth right now.” (At least, he was honest!)
I had no idea what he could have bought me, and when I finally finished opening the gift, to my surprise it was… The Procrastinator’s Handbook!
I thought this was such a thoughtful gift.
In my opinion, it meant he was actually listening to what I was saying and wanted to find ways to support me.
In all honesty, I’m not sure if the book helped, because the crush that I was beginning to have on him, was a huge distraction, and anything that I was procrastinating, was being procrastinated that much more, to spend time with him.
I would check the work schedule to see if we were working together and if we were, my insides would get excited!
I finally knew I liked him when a new girl started to work with us. My eighteen-year-old jealousy would kick in, (guess this is proof I wasn’t as mature as I thought) when he would talk to her.
He told me after I became his girlfriend that flirting with her was his trick in getting me to like him. He wanted to make me jealous!
I hate to admit, but it worked!
A few months later we went to our work Christmas party as friends, and by the end of the evening, let’s just say our lips locked and we became a little more than just friends.
A few days after the work Christmas party he left on a trip to England with his family for Christmas. Apparently, he talked about me a lot on this trip. I know now because his cousins always tell me about how much he talked about me on the trip. He returned from his trip with a bunch of gifts, which included my favorite movie at the time: Moulin Rouge, a keychain, and a pair of Nike dry fit underwear. He thought it was pretty cool, that Nike made dry fit underwear for ladies😂
We continued our “friendship” without labeling one another boyfriend and girlfriend until Valentines Day came around. He planned a dinner date at Bridges, followed by a night out to a club. He said his valentines gift was waiting at his place.
When we arrived at his place, his bedroom was transformed into a valentines dream!
Although looking back, the decor was quite tacky, it didn’t matter at the time.
The entire room was filled with heart-shaped balloons, he even bought heart-shaped pillows! There were swirly hearts hanging from the ceiling, chocolates on the pillows, and to top it off, he had champagne chilling in the washroom by the bathtub!
It was the cheap Baby Duck bottle, but hey, when you’re twenty years old, that’s some classy stuff!
This was the night that I said yes to being his girlfriend, I mean, how could a girl possibly shut a guy down after all that romance and effort.
Once we became official, we began to spend every day with one another, and I mean every day!
One day, he decided to teach me how to drive. I didn’t have my learners at the time and while I was behind the wheel, I was starting to get the hang of things. I became overly confident and we decided to go to the main road.
My very first turn at a busy intersection was approaching and during the turn, I drove directly into a women’s front bumper that was waiting at a red light! I cranked the wheel too hard during the turn and slowly drove into her car. The accident happened in slow motion, and thankful no one was hurt and the damage was very small.
We decided to settle things on our own, simply because we really had no other choice.
Charles ended up paying to fix her front bumper and let’s just say he didn’t teach me to drive again for a while. In fact, a few years later when I was ready to learn how to drive we decided to go to a driving school.
My nineteenth birthday approached shortly after my non-license, slow-motion car accident. I remember Charles showing up at my house with a small strawberry shortcake and some roses. He apologized for not being able to take me out, or get me a gift, because the truth was, he used most of his money to pay for the woman’s bumper.
I could care less about a fancy gift.
The act of him showing up at my place right before midnight on my birthday was sweet enough.
Seventeen and a half years and three daughters later, we still rarely buy one another expensive gifts.
Having our daughters has been the most precious gift that we share, and since we’ve had them, they have been our priority.
Having them at such a young age while also pursuing our own careers and continuing our education, definitely has had its challenges, especially financially.
In fact, our very first place together with our first daughter was a teeny, tiny basement suite and we were living off of one fifteen dollars an hour income.
With the support of our family, and most importantly, the support that we give to one another, we have always found a way to make the best of our situation.
While most people are still figuring themselves out in their twenties, our life was playing in fast forward.
We were raising our children while evolving as people and as a couple.
We’re now approaching our mid-thirties and life still feels like it’s playing in fast-forward especially when we watch how fast our children are growing up.
Our first-born is turning sixteen!
Our life together hasn’t always been easy, but it has been most definitely worth it.
When people ask how many children we have, and I tell them three, they are usually pretty shocked. They always reply with, “You look so young, though! I can’t believe you guys have a teenager.”
I used to tell people that we did everything backward. Kids, marriage and then a house. But then I decided to stop telling people that we did everything backward because we did what worked for us.
How to make a marriage last
When people ask us what’s our secret to a lasting marriage, we have both replied with, “The secret to a healthy marriage is laughter” “You can’t take everything so seriously.”
There have been many occasions when the two of us argue and then it always results in us laughing at how silly or in some cases, crazy we are being.
A love story that lasts takes work and last year we realized we were taking our relationship for granted. After a getaway without the kids, we made a commitment to start putting our marriage first. You can read about that here.
We’ve been so blessed with a relationship where we give one another our time, laughter, support, and presence. I truly hope if our daughters decide to get married one day they end up with someone who enriches their lives like this.
If you haven’t found your love story just yet, then I guarantee that a love story worth sharing will be one where the both of you, shower one another with gifts, that you can’t put a price tag on. These gifts are truly invaluable.
There are so many beautiful love stories out there, but ours is my favourite. ❤️