Finding someone on my team made every change in life an adventure

My life sounds like a movie right now.

After meeting the love of my life in college, I married him and moved to New York City with him. He took a job in finance, and I launched a writing career. We commute into Times Square, go on runs along the East River, and share home-cooked date nights in a cozy little apartment. 

Two months in, married life is pretty wonderful. It’s also all so new. I was the first in my family to get married, so the engagement and wedding planning process was a time of exciting discovery in its own right. On top of that, I was moving to an entirely new home, in a new city, with a new job—all while starting a family of my own, with a person I loved but had never lived with before.

During our engagement, when I would tell people about the layout for my future, some would ask me, “Are you nervous at all?”

At times, I felt that I should be admitting to some jitters. But each time, I honestly answered, “No.” I knew my life was about to change completely—more than it did when I went away to college, graduated, or got my first job. This change was by far the biggest, yet I felt calmer than I ever had before.

Why? Was I being naive? Unrealistic? Impractical? To find out how I got to where I was, I needed to look back on how it all started.

I met Jim on a warm September afternoon, at a picnic by Geddes Hall. I had dated a handful of guys, without any luck, and had often struggled to fight against discouragement amid the disappointments. While my future remained a question mark, I found peace in leaning on my friends, keeping my relationship standards near and dear, and praying each day for my future spouse. Little did I know, my future husband had been doing the same. 

But even before I learned that, Jim struck me as someone who could be on my team. I knew some of his family members and admired their strong values and virtues, which reminded me of my own family. I felt at ease around him—and I promptly suggested he write for the Rover (which he eventually did, of course)!  He carried himself with a quiet confidence and thoughtfulness that made those he dealt with trust and rely on him. These were little details, but they were the beginning of our team together.

When we both got more involved in Students for Child-Oriented Policy (SCOP), we found that we both were dedicated to promoting the beauty of love, marriage, and family. But before long, the sense of teamwork went beyond the student organization.

One day, I woke up to find a torrent of rain pattering against my window. My heart sank. I was supposed to help set up a SCOP event under the law school arch that morning, which involved picking up an order of bagels, setting up tables, and hanging posters. If it had seemed cumbersome before, the rain would make it exasperating. But to my great relief, Jim offered to help. Without hesitation, he biked across campus, through the rain, to bring supplies and help set up. In that moment, I felt not just the support of a fellow club member promoting a common cause; I felt the generous care of someone who had my back.

Every step of the way, I continued to feel that assurance, from our attentive conversations at the dining hall to our Mass and morning study sessions. Jim and I had always shared values and had been on the same team in a general sense, but day by day, the team became our own. That made taking on new things, like setting up an event, starting a new relationship, or talking about the future not only something I felt I could do, but something I actually found joy in doing.

That’s why the prospect of getting married, moving to New York City, and launching an entirely new life never made me nervous. Because I felt so confident that Jim had my back and always would, any kind of change wouldn’t just be a big adjustment but a great adventure.

The saying goes that your experience depends on how you look at it, but there’s really more to it than that. Our experience in life depends on how we approach it: how we build our relationships and with whom. It starts with how we build our relationship with God, the primary and perfect teammate. When we unite ourselves to him and trust him, we can find joy in every circumstance—easy or hard, simple or complex—and we can form deep, lasting bonds with others who do the same. 

That’s why I married Jim. I saw in him a companion who could embark with me on the adventure of life toward God. And ultimately, it’s what has made and will continue to make our life together rooted in joy.

Sophia Martinson (née Buono) writes culture articles for Angelus News magazine. While at Notre Dame, she majored in the Program of Liberal Studies and minored in Education, Schooling, and Society. She wrote for the Rover all four years of college and served as editor-in-chief her junior year. She looks forward to returning to campus this May for her brother’s graduation.