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Sally L SMR

EXPERIENCE DESCRIPTION:

As a background, I must mention that I have struggled for most of my life with Major Depressive Disorder, severe anxiety and several other issues.  Life has been difficult for me in many ways.  From the time I was a small girl, however, the thought of finding my male counterpart in life brought me great joy and hope.  I never really doubted it would happen, although I didn't date until I was 17.
I remember, in third grade, walking down the hall and daydreaming about my future partner.  I remember thinking, "I would like to meet a boy named Tom."  In my mind I could see him.  He was tall and thin, with brown hair, kind eyes, and glasses.  I don't know why his name was Tom, but that's what I remember thinking. (My husband's name is not Tom, but I will call him that for our purposes.)
When I was older I did finally find a boyfriend.  He was dark-haired and from a foreign country.  We were very much in love.  After four years of fantastic experiences together, a series of events happened that broke us apart, although he did ask me to marry him.  As difficult as it was, I couldn't accept.  I knew he was not the right one for me.
Shortly before our breakup, I was looking through pictures belonging to my best friend.  There was a picture of a guy I hadn't met.  He had brown hair, glasses, and a very kind face.  He was very cute, in my opinion, and I commented to my friend about it.  "That's the guy I want to set you up with if you ever break up with your boyfriend!," she said.
So after I broke up with the dark-haired guy, a different friend said, "I have been waiting for you to break up with him!  Now I can set you up with Tom!"  The other friend was there, and she said "I was thinking the same thing!"
These two friends had known Tom from the dorm, and they were able to arrange a party at Tom's house along with several other mutual friends.  When Tom opened the door, I felt like he had stepped out of my dream.  From the navy polo shirt he was wearing, to the glasses, I just recognized him as the one I had been waiting for.  He looked at me as if he had been expecting me for years.  He put his hand on my knee (which he says now was quite out-of-character for him).  We were inseparable from that moment forward.
He asked me out on our first date a few days later, on the day of the World Trade Center attacks, which I am not sure is relevant, but seems odd to me.  We were married the next year.
Now, I never considered Tom as my soul mate until somewhat recently.  I have had many issues throughout our marriage.  Depression, alcoholism, and much worse.  He has stood by me through it all.  One day, as I was feeling particularly insecure, I implored him to tell me one reason why he loved me.  He said, "I don't need a reason.  I love you because you are you.  Unconditionally."  He has said we are soul mates.  This is a strange thing for him to say as he is a very practical and scientific person.

Sometimes I feel that maybe he is some sort of angel, sent to help me through life.  He has allowed me to grow and lends a comforting perspective.  He never judges me.  But I think I help him learn things too.  I am sure that I help him practice patience.  I have given him more than enough reason to leave, and many men would have.  But still, 15 years later, we continue to move forward and our relationship just gets stronger.
Looking back, the events that caused us to come together seem so designed.  For about a year before we met, he had started going to my college, and I had become unhappy in my current relationship.  We had both started working out and taking care of our appearances, thinking we might meet someone special.  We coincidentally had the same friends but somehow we didn't meet each other until that party.  We both knew, from the first moment, that we were meant to be together.
I may be deluded, but I think I chose a hard challenge in this life and God gave me this man to help me through it.  And somehow I knew he would come, which gave me strength to keep going.   Now I am working on my true calling, which is helping others with mental illness.  If it weren't for him, I would be struggling, and possibly unable to complete my life purpose.
As I was writing this, our wedding song came on the playlist unexpectedly.  Just another sign!
Thank you for letting me share.