Love Story -- I Do Declare

Enjoy a Love Story by Patra of I Do Declare:

Writing' My Own Love Story
Many women, myself once-included, who are truly ready to meet a man they hope to marry resist mingling in the world of online dating. Safety matters and other dated prejudices aside (I heard they met {gasp!} on the Internet!), some true romantics simply don't believe it is possible to have a love before first sight story that will stand up to the Disney-infused tales of finding Prince Charming. Lucky for me, old fashion love letters and a family history of courtship through correspondence delivered me my happily ever after.

Love Letters
My grandmother made the first move on my grandfather...if writing to a sailor, per her mother's instruction, can be considered a move.

My great-grandmother, Mary, handed my grandmother, Frances, the address of a serviceman named Bill. While Bill was deployed with the Navy, Frances began writing him letters. They wrote for weeks and weeks, until finally meeting just days after Bill returned from his deployment. My grandparents met on a Tuesday; by Saturday, my grandfather had proposed.
I remember their marriage as a flirtatious one with frequent kisses, playful touching and barefoot dancing on the living room floor. In their many decades of marriage, my grandmother never removed her wedding band.

I know Grandma still has all those letters, and I suspect they are pretty juicy; these storied loved notes have long since been hidden from her curious children and grandchildren.

I Got Male
In 2007, I lived in Washington, DC, where online dating was quickly becoming as common as the inter-office love affair. Despite a string of lackluster, if not terrible, experiences dating in the real world, I initially resisted the wide webbed one as a means for meeting someone. What would my mother think?? Would the people in my East Tennessee hometown think I was desperate? After all, I was nearing 30 and had never been married...a very normal place to be in big cities, but in the small town South where people are often married with children before they are old enough to rent a car, I was surely considered an old maid (at best) or (at worst) just downright unworthy of wife-ing. Would a romance from the interwebs only add to the questions about why I could not find a good man? For a while, I thought yes...

Because the Match.com commercials convinced me it was "okay to look" I began trolling dating websites, seeing faces (some even familiar) that looked normal - most even handsome - and profiles that read as good, if not better, than all the business cards I had pocketed in six years of happy hours. Eventually, more and more couples that I knew began revealing that the "mutual friend" who had introduced them was, in fact, eHarmony or Match.com.
When the curiosity - and enough dateless weekends - had the best of me, I created a Match profile of my own where I shared with the world that I had a type, and he was tall, dark and balding.

The Write One
Writing has always been the way I express myself best, so as opposed to feeling totally insecure making eye contact across a crowded room, I felt very in my element turning a phrase as a way to catch someone's attention. I was good at e-flirting.
That is why when I stumbled upon a striking (and yes, balding...) man whose profile revealed he and I shared the same passport stamps and tastes in music, like my grandmother, I made the first move. My first email led to many amusing exchanges, and soon our witty banter about Caribbean beach bars and college football turned into a date. That date led to a traditional courtship that brought me all the moments I had ever wanted in a romance: horseback rides in the spring, concerts in the summer, hayrides in the fall, and by winter, a down-on-one-knee proposal by the Christmas tree we'd cut together in the snow.

When I first ventured into online dating I was honestly worried I would meet someone; I did not want my love story to be forced. It was not until I was writing the story of how my husband and I met for our wedding website that I realized, give or take the monthly enrollment fee and the U.S. Postal Service, our story mirrors as the modern day version of one my most favorite romances - my grandparents'.

I now wear the same wedding band that my grandfather slipped on my grandmother’s finger in 1946. It is the same slim and simple gold ring that her grandmother wore before her, and the same ring she left on her hand even years after my grandfather had died. They were married for nearly 49 years.
If my husband and I have children, I suspect that by the time their children are old enough to appreciate how their grandparents met, our story of meeting online will not be unique. Following our lead, several friends of my husbands and mine have dared to date online. All have had colorful experiences, even relationships. One is now married, with a baby on the way.
I believe fate comes in all forms, and that love stories can begin anywhere. I am happy mine dates back to a great-grandmother who believed in the art - and romance - of writing.

Wasn't that a beautiful story!? Do you have a Love Story worthy of a feature? Send it my way, gwenisinlove {at} gmail {dot} com


  1. My husband and I met online. On myspace and not a dating website and totally by accident. I lived in WA, he was in UT. But I couldn't be happier. It definitely gives you time to get to know them emotionally before any of the physical stuff comes into play. And it was perfect. And our 3rd anniversary is this weekend and we have a little boy already and I love him so, so much!

  2. i haven't met this lovely gal in person per se, but i consider her one of my blogging besties and i didn't know this story! so sweet! thanks miss p for sharing and thanks miss gwen for giving her a place to share! love you both! xoxo

  3. their pictures are absolutely adore!


  4. THAT is a great story. I never "got" online dating till I made some amazing online friends. I would drop everything and fly across the country for them, and the depth of our friendships makes me understand online dating a bit more. :)

  5. perfect in every way...how funny is it that most successful marriages are from online dating sites...go figure!

  6. Who cares how you meet someone? The most important thing, (I think) is to be open to meeting people. It's the person that's important, not how you met.

  7. This is such a beautifully written story! My husband and I also met online and were friends for several years before becoming romantically involved. Now we've been married for going on seven years and have two daughters. It still shocks people when we tell them but it's been so long now sometimes it's hard to remember that there was a time where we didn't know each other.

  8. I love Patra's story. As another online-dating success-story-wife, I, too, was always hesitant to tell people how we met. I am so grateful to know Patra and her grandmother's story because it makes our modern day modes of finding love not so extraordinary.

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