Valentines Day–and Unusual Meetings

Unusual meetings, Valentine's Day, Chance, Serendipity and dating, Life changes on a whim, where did you meet your sweetheart? Submarine?

When I met the beautiful model in Budapest and looked at her avant gaarde artist husband, I asked the obvious question. “How did you meet him?”

“I sent this text,” my outlaw laughed. (Outlaws are your in-law’s relatives) “But it went to Gabor instead of my boyfriend.”

She batted her eyelashes at him and he smiled.

“He replied that it had come to the wrong person but said I sounded interesting. I giggled and sent another. He answered it.”

They texted all day long and into the next day.

“Finally, he said he thought he was falling in love and that we should meet. We had coffee the next day and we’ve been together every since. Ten years.”

“Does that happen often in Hungary?” I asked, laughing with them both.

“We’re the only ones I know.”

How about on a submarine?

One friend, long ago, stopped to tour the first atomic submarine, the USS Nautilus, moored at a New York City dock and open for visitors. The Officer of the Deck took one look at Barb and invited her out to dinner.

They’re still married some 50+ years later.

I love the serendipity of that story as well as the Hungarian outlaws.

Unusual meetings, Valentine's Day, Chance, Serendipity and dating, Life changes on a whim, where did you meet your sweetheart? Submarine?

This guy jumped ship in San Pedro Harbor and they met at a cannery.

In my novel Bridging Two Hearts, a woman terrified of driving over the Coronado Bridge rides the bus to work. She meets a group of Navy SEALs and one takes an inexplicable shine to her. And so their romance, and the book, are launched.

It’s Valentine’s Day and I’m curious about other unusual meetings. We have several friends who joined dating services, met their blind date and cancelled all their other dates. Both couples were married within months.

They’re still married 31 and 19 years later.

Friends have met their spouses in Bible studies, working on submarines (he was the officer, she a pipe fitter), through siblings,  at parties, in bars, and sometimes deliberately.

“I knew I wanted to meet a Navy guy,” one Maryland woman explained long ago. “So I started going to Naval Academy dances with the rest of the girls bused in.” She flashed her big diamond and pointed to the sports car she drove. “I got a good one!”

People minding their own business, had no idea life would change because of a whimsical meeting or error.

Click to Tweet

My niece introduced her boyfriend’s cousin to her cousin (my nephew from another sibling). We attended the wedding last month even though the niece married someone else. (Are you following that? My niece knew both sides of the families well at that wedding!)

Our friend Pam walked into a camera store at lunch one day and met a man who wanted to show her everything in the store. They got married a year later.

Another friend worked at a summer camp and admired the guitar player. He saw her, too. Still wed 30 years later.

“Excuse me,” a beautiful red head said to the tall man, “could I sit here?”

It was the first day of their MBA program. “Sure.” Married seven years.

My own mother had organized a dance at UCLA and approached a line of guys leaning against the wall. “Hey, you need to get out here and dance with the women,” she said.

“Great idea!” My father grabbed her arm and danced away with her. 42 years until death parted them.

My mother-in-law was roller skating around a rink in Chicago not long after the end of World War II. She saw a sailor and invited him to join her. They were married 38 years until she died.

“You should come play volleyball at my church,” my neighbor said. “We’re going into high school and you need to meet some guys. We’ve got cute ones at our church.”

I noticed a lanky guy erecting the net when we arrived. He wore plaid shorts, a purple shirt and green socks. His hair was pretty shabby.

Cute guys?

“He’s either really strange or very smart,” I thought.

Still smart after 36 years of marriage!

Unusual meetings, Valentine's Day, Chance, Serendipity and dating, Life changes on a whim, where did you meet your sweetheart? Submarine?

I was just playing volleyball . . .

In honor of Valentine’s day, how did you meet your honey?


Meeting on a phone, submarine, at a dance or store. Happy Valentine’s! Click to Tweet

Leave a comment


  1. By July of 1986, I’d GIVEN UP meeting anyone. I wasn’t the skinny blond, or the athlete or anything. I was *just* Jennifer. Or so I thought. On July 28th, my friends begged, extorted and dragged me to a church softball game, whereupon my world went into “huh?” mode. I’d agreed to come to the game if they would just shut up and leave me alone. I’d ridden home from my job at the cruise ship terminal in Vancouver harbour. The ride was literally rush hour traffic through downtown, over a scary bridge (I have a MORTAL fear of bridges, absolutely terrified of them, and hydro dams make me pass out)and then 2 miles straight up hill. UP hill. For 40 minutes Then I grabbed dinner and rode 45 minutes across the city to where they met to play ball. I was wearing brand new white running shoes and the hottie on second (who I’d crossed town to meet) looked a my shoes and said “those are way too clean!” and kicked dirt all over them.
    “Huh? What are you doing!?”
    He grinned at me, ohhhh he was sooooo tanned and gorgeous, and laughed. “Kicking dirt on your shoes.”

    June 17th will be our 24th anniversary.
    And I still hate softball.
    And he knows to leave the dirt on the ground.

  2. A young man named Leon joined a dating service. He had a date with a lady named Chris. Chris liked him, but was interested in someone else. So, she gave him her friend Maggie’s phone number.

    The night before his date with Maggie, she met another guy she fell for right away. She went out with Lee anyway, & liked him a lot, but of course there was that other guy. Sooooo, she called me & asked me if she could give him my number. After she described him to me, I remarked, “Sounds like my kind of guy.”

    Sooooooo, we were engaged three months later, & will celebrate our 27th anniversary in March. 🙂

  3. klasko

     /  February 12, 2013

    Me: 19 years old and because of a paperwork problem I was late getting to the Defense Language Institute with the rest of my class from Basic Training. The paperwork problem kept me at basic as a holdover long enough to become a witness at a court martial against a drill sergeant. I arrived at DLI a full 9 months after my peers and discovered that I had nothing in common with most of them, so I got a whole batch of new friends in my nre class.

    Him: 26 years old and just off a tour in Panama. He was one of those Special Forces bad boys, and I really had no interest in the SF guys. I was not impressed with the hat. (Don’t Girl scouts wear Green Berets too?) He started dating a friend who was an SF groupie. She was not kind to him and he started talking to me about his relationship with my friend.

    I liked him well enough, but he was my friend’s boyfriend. Finally, one day, my friend said, would you take this guy off my hands? That gave me license to be interested in him, but when we first started going out, I told him that I’d date him, but he was Mr. Right Now, and that I was not interested in continuing the relationship in 3 more months because I was graduating and moving on. And don’t bother telling me any lies about “I love you,” because i’ve heard it all before and I don’t want to hear it. He chased me until I caught him.

    We will be celebrating 32 years this month.

  4. klasko

     /  February 12, 2013

    Oh, I forgot to mention, had I arrived at DLI when I was supposed to, I would have missed him by a month.

  5. We have a young friend who keeps getting delayed on the mission field–she’s headed to a part of the world near a US military base. The last time it happened, I looked at my husband and said, “Hmm. I wonder whose orders have been delayed.”

    He told me to stop match making.

    With someone I don’t even know? 🙂

    Love your stories, Karen.

  6. I joined a dating service and got a little tired of having guys focus in on one little aspect of me that interested them, and ignore huge issues that weren’t a good match (like wildly different denominations).

    One man from my hometown (a couple thousand miles away–I was living in the Southeast; he was in the Southwest) expressed interest in me, and we started talking by phone. But he basically only wanted a friend he could talk to every day as he drove to work, and in well over a year of contact he never took the time to come meet me in person, even when I traveled to a family wedding half an hour away from a relative of his that he visited several times a year.

    In disgust, I updated my profile on the dating site to say I wasn’t interested in long-distance relationships; the man had to live close enough that we could see each other frequently. And he needed to live in the Southeast, since I wasn’t interested in moving a long way away and I definitely wasn’t interested in living in a snowy climate again (I’d lived in the Midwest during college and for a decade afterward).

    And then one day I got a contact from a man who was obviously a very good match for me. We were in the same small denomination. He was a widower in his early 50s with two daughters, and I was never married and in my mid-40s; each thought the other’s life circumstances an ideal match. One of his favorite authors was a man I had edited. When we’d known each other two months, we were finishing each other’s jokes, because we thought so much alike. We both have a strongly artistic side and a great love of words. Both of us were 100% committed to marriage, no divorce, and both of us came from families likewise committed.

    He totally ignored my profile’s demand that a man had to live close to me, and in a non-snowy climate, and contacted me from the Midwest. We e-mailed more than 100,000 words before we met in person, going into very great detail about what we believed, our life experiences, what we thought marriage should like like, etc. And then we talked by phone for three more weeks before we met in person; we married six months after that first face-to-face contact.

    It has only been a year and a half of marriage–we haven’t even reached the second anniversary of our first contact. We married late enough in life it’s unlikely we’ll live to celebrate our 30th anniversary and it’s pretty certain we won’t reach 40 or 50. But I waited 44 years for a good man, and I’m savoring every day God gives us. And he tells me regularly I am an excellent wife; he’s happy too.

    • Everyone knows I love this story! 🙂

    • annms

       /  February 15, 2013

      I love your story, Cheryl! Perhaps it will give hope to a dear friend of mine. May you continue to experience marital bliss! A good husband is truly a gift from God. My story is very different than yours, but I have enjoyed my own gift for 14 years. Marriage can be such a beautiful thing — I hate the way the media portrays it.

    • Rebecca

       /  February 13, 2014

      Love it, Cheryl. Give me hope. 🙂

      • Michelle Ule

         /  February 13, 2014

        Her story is fun. I love hearing it and remembering how it unfolded!

  7. I made my grandma’s recipe for banana bread to welcome the new neighbors in the apartment building. . . It ended up being ONE new neighbor, a handsome guy who will be my husband of 29 years on Sunday <3

  8. I have friends that married after meeting on the Autobahn! How could you meet someone moving at those speeds? Turns out there was an accident and they ended up beside each other while waiting for the road to open back up.

    • Michelle Ule

       /  February 14, 2014

      Amazing! I love the Chicken Soup for the Soul story (don’t remember which volume) about the couple who met in an elevator when it got stuck between floors on Christmas Eve one year. She talked about how much she was going to miss the family traditions. He was so intrigued, he got a bottle of wine once they got out and joined her! They married a year later.

  9. Two of my favorites come from couples I knew on the mission field:

    Neal and Jane were on a university field trip and the windy road made Jane nauseous. Neal stood at the front of the bus, helping all the girls down, and when he got to Jane, she hurled all over him. From there, it could only get better.

    As a little girl, Jo felt called as a missionary to Brazilian jungle peoples. Upon arriving for training, she met (and was immediately attracted to) Jeff. But since Jeff’s call was to the indigenous people of Colombia, they went through a couple of years of training feeling like they were off limits to each other. As training came to an end, they faced a dilemma. Jo finally decided she would marry Jeff, but the rest of the story is, when they arrived in Colombia, they were assigned to a tribe that straddled the border, half in Colombia, and half in Brazil.

    • Michelle Ule

       /  February 15, 2014

      Love these stories, Brian! You just never know . . . and what a creative God!


Thoughts? Reactions? Lurker?

%d bloggers like this: