Rom-coms dictate that every relationship begins with a single magic moment – that sultry stare, flash of pearly whites or alluring hip curve (or other body part). Is that how guys know that the Search is Over, that they have found That Special Someone? When did they know it was this one they were going to marry?
Here, 18 men – real, married people -- share their own experiences. Spoiler – it’s not what you expect:
“She saw married life exactly the way I did.” Ever had one of those moments where a scene that had long been playing out in your head came true? We were only dating then, and it was a miracle that after a decade and a failed marriage on either end, we found ourselves single at the same time. There was one night that we sat across each other over coffee. We were talking about our views on love and life... and while I don't remember the exact words, it was if a scene out of the movie in my head played out. Here was the woman I loved (I already knew that) telling me she saw a married life exactly the way I did. At that moment, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. It was a weekday evening. I was late for work the next day. - Erwin, banker, married for 1 year
“I can't imagine myself without her.” For me, there are no fairy tales. But there are good stories. The first chapter of that good story isn't when you first met or first dated. It's when you realize that despite all the craziness, the tempers, the arguments, the silliness and the weirdness, you realize that you truly do love that person and you can't imagine yourself without her. - Peter, men’s magazine editor, married for 10 years
“I wanted to share the good news with her and nobody else.” I was in Singapore participating in an audition for a reality TV show. As luck would have it, I got in, and all I could think of was to tell her. At that point, by myself in another country, it just struck me that I wanted to share the good news with her and nobody else. I didn't think of family or any other friends. It was then that I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her and share experiences together. - Kensei, artisanal baker, married for 8 years
“When she started quoting Machiavelli.” We were in college and we shared a few classes together as we were both in Biology for premed (neither of us became doctors). Our relationship was pretty atypical. I knew Maoi was the one when she started quoting Machiavelli, and recited Jabberwocky (a nonsense poem written by Lewis Carroll) from memory.
I gave her a copy of the Princessa (which is this female author's take on The Prince) for her birthday and she loved it. And that was it. I just knew. - Cliff, corporate lawyer, married for 6 years
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“She stepped into my view and turned – it was like a scene from a movie.”
We met up because we’d travel together all over the Philippines and internationally with common friends. There was this moment during a trip when she stepped into my view and turned – it was like a scene from a movie, all slow motion like. Took my breath away. Ever since then, she’s always been my constant travel partner. - Don, travel photographer, married for 7 years
“The first time I heard her voice over a HAM radio.” It's funny because we got to know each other over the radio first before in person. The very first time I heard her voice over a HAM radio (amateur radio), there was a kindness in her voice that I hadn't heard from anyone else, and it's what attracted me to her. - Jaycee, chef, married for 16 years
“She put up with all of my idiosyncrasies.” She put up with all of my shenanigans and my sex drive - funny, considering that we met in Singles for Christ. It was she who taught me that trying to dominate a relationship just doesn't work. It's always 50/50, give and take. She was so nice and put up with all of my idiosyncrasies. It was also a big plus that her family likes me. Sometimes, they treat me better than my own family. - Gerardo, fitness instructor, married for 8 years
“We couldn't stop giggling at each other's jokes.” We have actually been together for twenty-four years. When did I know? There was no big moment; we were friends first. But the more time we spent with each other, the more sense it made to be together. It's still that way now.
It was a tiny moment, but one that I’ll always remember. We were having merienda in the college cafeteria (we were both undergrads at that time) where we just couldn't stop giggling at each other's jokes. It felt like, "Well, this is really nice. I think I'm going to stay with her." - Roy, college professor, married for 12 years
“I told her the truth, the good and the bad…and she was still there.” I met my wife Monica at a Christian Life Program for Singles For Christ. I was the team leader, and she was a participant. The first talk was mine to give and I was nervous. In the crowd, I was drawn to this particular smile. Seeing that person smile calmed me down and I found myself encouraged. I managed to complete my talk and afterwards sought to be introduced to the lady whom that smile belonged to. We were introduced and in the weeks that followed I kept calling her as often as I could. I was so comfortable with her that I poured my soul out to her. I told her the truth, the good and the bad. Despite having heard everything, she was still there. I knew then that she was the one for me. - Juancho, videographer, married for 13 years
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“I tell the same jokes over and over, and she still loves them.”
I spotted her working as a bank teller and I did all of these things to meet her and get to know her -- I would pretend to withdraw money from the ATMs nearby and go to the counter just to chat her up. I’d also mess up the order of the bills as a delaying tactic just so she’d have no choice but to straighten them out, then I’d make the moves on her. I would intentionally ask for a statement of accounts even though I knew exactly how much money I had in the bank. When you do stupid things like that, it’s a sign!
What got us clicking? We discovered we both liked fried chicken to death and she loved all my jokes. And no matter how often I tell the same jokes over and over, she still loves them. That’s what keeps us together – food and humor! - Glenn, telecom marketer, married for 14 years
“We needed each other.” We met when she was still a teenager and at first I could not imagine a relationship between us. But we managed to keep in touch for a long time, through my desperate searches for "the one" and her long line of misguided suitors who took advantage of her. When we got together it was because we needed each other. She needed someone to carry her through what she was going through, and I needed someone to share my time and life with. And so, after several years of knowing each other, and just two months of technically casual dating, I proposed to her.
You might ask, what made me do it? It’s been like a Taylor Swift song, we fight, we break up, oooh oooh. We have hurt each other in so many ways, but, for some reason, we keep running back to each other. Literally. I love her, and I still couldn’t believe my luck that she’s still with me when I have given her so many reasons to leave. - Caloy, freelance photographer, married 2 years
“She can take control when needed.” I knew she was the one when I saw her strong character. She always knows what she wants. When I saw her and my mom together, and realized how she could stand up for herself, that did it for me.
She gave me a sense of confidence that she can take control when needed. She's not the type that just waits for good things to happen -- she MAKES good things happen! - Filomeno, software engineer, married for 19 years
“I took a look at her mom and saw what I would be seeing in my old age.” We were both in med school when we met and started dating. Inevitably, we’d been dating long enough that I had to go meet the parents. I took a look at her mom and saw what I would be seeing in my old age when I’d wake up each morning in bed. And what I saw was not bad at all. - Edilberto, medical doctor, married for 28 years
“We had the same life goals.” Quite simply, we had the same ideas of what living one's life should be like. We had the same life goals during our courtship stage. She was simple, sincere, and kind.
Our first date was in SM North - we were also UP students back then and not really flush with cash so we ate at the food court. I treated her to Goodah! Restaurant and her meal was too much for her to finish so I told her if you can't finish it, I'll eat it. She didn't want me to eat her leftovers so she carefully took out the portion she ate and gave me the unfinished, untouched portion. Her poise and consideration really made an impression on me back then and she's always treated me with such care even until now. After thirteen years, she's still my soul mate. - Patrick, gym coach, married for 13 years
“She could make Food for the Gods from scratch.” We just ZINGED once our eyes met. It was completely unexpected. No two souls were meant to be together more. Together now for fifteen years with two beautiful children, were still very much in love.
What did it for me were two things – she comes from a family of cooks and she could make Food for the Gods from scratch, with her own hands. The other eureka moment was when I met her mother. Always check out the mother before marrying the daughter. - Phil, special needs caregiver, married 15 years
“I fell for that warm, kind spirit of hers.” Whoever said that out of friendship come the best marriages was definitely right! I met my wife Jonna when she first migrated here in the USA. Belonging to the same local church, I and some of my buddies helped her move to her new apartment in the city. For the next five years, we discovered that we had so many things in common that people around us thought we were "siblings".
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Later on, we slowly discovered those who truly stuck by your side are not always those who said they would the loudest, but the ones who silently laid a supportive hand on your shoulder when you really needed someone there. You see, it was not her beauty, mischievous smile, witty charm, or endearing innocence that made me know she was the one, although that would have been enough for most. I fell for that warm, kind spirit of hers that showed me how her heart would break just to be in cadence with someone else's broken heart that seemingly wants to say "I'm right here with you, every beat of the way". - Jonathan, financial analyst, married 7 years
“When I saw her for the first time all made up.” Back when we were dating, it felt like trying on a brand new pair of shoes given by a long-lost uncle for Christmas – we were both unsure of how we’d fit. We were taking it one day at a time. I’d go on double dates with her, a close buddy of mine, and my girl’s best friend and we’d catch lots of movies together. She was interested in geeky stuff like me – she watched Star Wars over and over every summer as a kid and I found that really endearing.
What clinched the deal for me was when I accompanied her to her graduation photo portrait session for her college yearbook. I knew we were already hitting it off, but I had to admit, when I saw her for the first time all made up, I felt like, wow, she’s so hot! We were best buds then but that was when I actually felt that I was looking at my future wife. - Casey, property manager, married 12 years
“How do I explain that I caught a glimpse of her soul?” My wife and I were acquaintances for 2 years before I started looking at her from a 'different perspective'. One day, I was counseling her about a problem she had. How do I explain that I caught a glimpse of her soul? I guess it was in her manner. Somehow, her inner nature just came pouring out of her. Her soul was beautiful, pure and guileless. That was the moment I wanted to get to know the person more, the start of a longing to be with her as often as I could. Now, almost two decades later, that vision refreshes me and fortifies my determination to love her more, to do even better, and to thank the Creator for the gift of love. - Manuel, wholesale importer, married 18 years