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Good Is Good: When You Know She’s The One

Thursday, February 21, 2013

 

Tom Matlack is the former CFO of the Providence Journal and is the founder of The Good Men Project, a non-profit charitable corporation based in Rhode Island and dedicated to helping organizations that provide educational, social, financial, and legal support to men and boys at risk.

Guys get a bad rap when it comes to romance. The guys I know who are happily married have a story about how they met their wives. Most of these stories involve a moment when they knew that they needed to spend the rest of their lives with this particular woman in order to be happy.

No, it’s not the pinup we’re after—but a rock collection, a kind smile, homemade furniture, enthusiasm for malls, crow’s feet, an affinity for dogs, eating tuna out of a can, love for Weird Al, and truth-telling. These are just a few things that guys told me led them to know they’d found the right woman. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to love, but the one thing this project proved is that guys are far more nuanced and complex when it comes to love than we get credit for. And we are really looking to marry for the right reasons—whatever that means to the individual guy.

For me, it involved two children from a prior marriage. After six years as a divorced dad, I had never introduced my kids to anyone I dated. My kids were, and still are, the most important thing in my life. I wasn’t sure I could trust anyone to love them the way I do.

When I met my wife, Elena, she had been through her own set of struggles, losing a young and vibrant husband to cancer (he’d been diagnosed on her honeymoon). She comported herself with such grace, beauty, and warmth. (OK, showing up in black leather pants for our first real date didn’t hurt, either.)

Just a few weeks after meeting Elena, my kids and I baked brownies for my new friend and played a huge game of tag on the green at Brown University. Within a month we were engaged, and six months later we were married. She was the one. We’ve been married eight years.

Here’s when other guys knew they had met their soul mate.

♦◊♦

When I left for college, she was still in high school. I was so miserable without her, despite all that college life had to offer. Looking back, I realize the moment I knew she’d be my wife was when she sent me a box of cookies and a love note, which came in the mail when I was alone, and although there were plenty of other things to eat, I was starving for home. I realized “home” meant her. Twenty-five years later, it still does.
—Todd Mauldin, blues philosopher

♦◊♦

Our first walking date. We traced the entire property line of a 65-acre farm, through weeds, brambles, dense forest, swamp. We came to my favorite place, a gigantic ancient maple along an old logging trail. She looked delighted, approached and started climbing. I knew then.
—Boysen Hodgson, founder, OpenMen.org

♦◊♦

Pregnancy test was positive. After 13 years, it’s still the best mistake we ever made.
—Dan Perez, award-winning filmmaker, video producer, and blogger

♦◊♦

I was living in Chicago and she was in Massachusetts and we were taking turns flying back and forth to see each other. At that time I was in a position to fly more often than she was. Well, when she noticed that I had come three times to see her and she had only flown once to see me, she said, “It’s not right that you should deplete your bank account by coming to see me so often. I am going to pay for the last flight you took and split the one before.” I told her it was unnecessary, and she replied, “Look, I want to see you as badly as you want to see me. And besides, I am a feminist and that means I must be fair. It’s the right thing to do.” My mouth dropped through two floors, a basement, and then a sub-basement. Why? This was a person who was willing to stick by an ethic. In that instant I saw a person of integrity and principle and knew she was right for me.

—Regie Gibson, poet

♦◊♦

Her eyes. The moment I met her 17 years ago, I knew. And she was married.

—Jim Mitchem, writer, communications tactician

♦◊♦

She appeared suddenly in the produce section of my grocery store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, several weeks after I had spied her from afar wearing an impossibly fashionable fuzzy green sweater at a party while I was in my second year in business school. I wasn’t able to meet her then and was despondent for the intervening weeks. But then, there she was, in my grocery store, my land of steaks and tater tots. Shocking myself and I am sure most other patrons, I approached her in the vegetable aisle and struck up a conversation. When she didn’t turn the lettuce sprayer on me after a few fumbling moments of conversation, I knew she was the one.
—Heb Ryan, partner, Boston Post Partners

♦◊♦

I was in love with my wife at first sight. At the time, she was a model and was absolutely gorgeous—and, 35 years later, still is. However, what sealed the deal was going to her apartment and her showing me her collection of rocks and arrowheads. I loved the outdoors and collecting things, so I knew we had a lot in common. We now live on a beautiful ranch in the Texas Hill Country and still enjoy hiking and looking for rocks, fossils, and arrowheads.
—Pablo Solomon, artist and designer

For more tales, go to http://goodmenproject.com/good-is-good/shes-the-one/#01WFP3E6eK8pYY0Y.99 " target="_blank">Good Men Project, here. 

 

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