Archive for Monday, December 19, 2011

Double Take: A reader responds

December 19, 2011

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Dear Dr. Wes and Miranda: On March 9, 2010, you wrote a Double Take column about meeting a couple at Chili’s. That article was about my boyfriend and me.

I wanted to write and just thank you for being such a kind stranger and for writing about Daniel and me. I cut out the article the day I found it and put it on my wall, but Daniel (being the man he is) read it once and forgot about it.

Well, in August Daniel shipped off to West Point for military training and has been homesick off and on. On a day he was feeling pretty bad, I mailed him that article. When he got it, he called me up and thanked me, admitting that seeing it again made him tear up a little bit.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to bring a little light into his world. You didn’t have to approach us that snow day and tell us that you thought we were cute. You didn’t even have to write that article. But you did.

I’ll put it on display at our wedding and it will be something we’ll show our kids. (Don’t worry. We’re not jumping the gun or anything :P ).

We’re forever grateful. — Taylor

Dr. Wes: Over the years, I’ve had many joys writing Double Take but none greater than receiving your letter. A few months after that column ran, I tried telling your story to one of my clients, a teenage girl. I only got as far as mentioning “the couple at Chili’s” before she stopped me and said, “I read that column, Wes. I know their story. Everybody does. It’s on everyone’s Facebook.” A few months after that, another girl told me that she’d figured out who you were and had actually contacted you. She told me you were still together, which brightened my day.

It is a wonderful treat to hear how your story continues now; how you’ve found a way to keep your love alive, even as Daniel is far away serving his country. You’ve lost your boy to West Point, which puts you among an elite group of young women throughout history who have bravely given up the daily touch and loving comfort of a young man and have released him to a higher calling of honor and service. Each of you has sacrificed the luxury of the present moment to build a brighter future together, and there is no greater sign of love than that.

Our advice in this column is that long-distance relationships at your age rarely survive. No one can know whether yours will be the exception, but as Samantha Schwartz and I observed almost two years ago, the foundation you’ve built gives you an unusually good chance. Have courage. Be patient. Take every chance you can to be with him, and, when you can’t, use technology to your advantage. Above all else, whenever he falters, say the words that matter most: “I believe in you and the ‘us’ we’re creating together.”

Miranda: As people who know me will tell you, I’m not a romantic girl. Sometimes I feel as though I’m missing my own “teenage girl” mindset. Even so, when I originally read Samantha and Wes’s column two years ago about the “Snow Day” couple, I was touched. These two seemed to defy the odds, as if having a real, functional relationship in high school was the easiest thing in the world. For those who haven’t tried it yet, someday you’ll understand how truly remarkable their accomplishment is.

What Sam said two years ago still resonates with me: Taylor and Daniel’s relationship is no accident. From her recent letter, I’ve gathered that their hard work has only gotten harder. Not only has their love survived high school, but also college, the real world, the military and a half-a-continent of distance. They’ve given their relationship about 100 more odds to defy, and they’re still doing a good job.

We can tell you over and over again not to date a “bad boy” or not to let someone toss around your emotions. But this couple demonstrates to everyone who has heard their story how a relationship should be, which is way more effective than any advice we could give.

I hope our readers see their story not as a fairy tale but as real life, what each of us could have if we put in that kind of effort and devotion. Teens have this idea that a relationship should be easy and simple. Instead, think about this couple and their daily struggles to be together, apart.

Maybe they’ll keep writing in and telling us how they’re doing.

To read the original column, go to http://ljw.bz/uRSjtI.

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