Justin first saw Beth eighteen years ago on Michigan street in Dearborn wearing indoor soccer shoes and thought to himself, ‘Who is that cute girl?’
Beth: I don’t remember that.
Justin: That’s because we didn’t talk then.
Beth: Well, it’s because you were desperate for a girlfriend.
Justin’s college roommate was dating Beth’s college roommate so they would frequently find themselves in the same social circles and ended up working together on a Detroit community service project. Justin tried to make a play for Beth, but Beth had just come out of a three-year relationship with a narcissist and wasn’t ready for anything.
Justin tried playing with her hair while they watched a basketball game. He tried chasing her to her bedroom one night at a party. Nothing worked. She told him as nice as he was, she didn’t want to start anything with anyone. Justin backed off. At a Take Back the Night rally on campus, Justin didn’t pay much attention to Beth and Beth was disappointed.
During that summer in 1991, Justin moved to Chicago to do an internship with the Chicago Reporter and Beth stayed in Michigan to work in Detroit. One weekend that summer, their college roommates were planning a big get-together. Justin wasn’t too sure about going, but his roommate convinced him by telling that Beth would be there. ‘Well, you never know’, thought Justin to himself and drove to Michigan.
They got together that weekend on the understanding that it would be a casual relationship. What convinced Beth to finally date Justin is that they were going to be living in different cities. Beth was graduating and moving to Chicago, while Justin still had a year to go in Michigan.
Things between Justin and Beth didn’t remain ‘casual’ for very long, but the distance between their different cities gave Beth the space she needed. Six years after they started dating, Beth suggested they buy a house together. ‘I’m not buying a house with you unless we get married’, Justin told her. And so even though Beth didn’t believe in the institution of marriage, and Justin was Catholic. And even though Beth didn’t want to be with anyone who was not pro-choice, and Justin was Catholic. And even though Beth wanted to have children and raise them Jewish, and Justin was Catholic. They, somehow, figured it all out.
Over the last eighteen years, they have grown together and gone through different phases in their relationship. They’ve lived through their 20s together, through a death in the family, and through the ordinary tribulations of life. Their relationship is the stuff that reality is made of.
Beth: I’m sorry that’s not much romance for your blog.
Justin gives Beth a playful and gentle punch on the chin.
They are married, living in their Chicago home with their two beautiful daughters who are five and three years old.