Fifteen years ago today I was at Sizewell Hall, sitting down to a fish and chip supper, when I heard a quiet voice in my head telling me I was about to meet my husband.
I was on an away weekend with a friend who had dragged me along so that she could find a husband herself, and having recently decided I was finally ok with myself and not in any way desperate for a relationship, I was somewhat stunned when this happened. Keeping it to myself, I took a look and realised that there was only one guy on the table I was at all interested in. The chap diagonally opposite had himself been brought along by a friend. He too had recently finally decided he was ok with himself, having spent a month travelling in Australia. He introduced himself as Matthew, definitely not Matt.
The following day, after a drive in his car (he asked his friend to let me sit in the front) and a walk at Dunwich Heath where we were able to chat further and almost hold hands stumbling through the trees, we found ourselves back at Sizewell Hall playing Taboo with a number of others, realising that we were thinking along exactly the same lines and shared the same sense of humour. We found more connections as we talked and I learned that he worked at BT and had studied Engineering at Cambridge. I did an internal double-take. God must have realised that pairing me with someone who had (a) gone to Cambridge, a personal unrealised dream I’d had since I was eleven, and (b) got a degree in Engineering, a subject I worked at in industry and then for a year at university was something of a divine joke. Here was someone who epitomised my perceived failures in life. The fact I felt more comfortable with myself mattered here. I could see things in a more measured way. Having worked and studied alongside engineers for a couple of years, I had a good idea about the way these strange people think and how to relate well to them. Optimising. Worst case scenarios. Odd jokes.
The following day, the Sunday, as we prepared to leave, I got Matthew’s number and his surname: Robinson. I remember flirting badly and then being given the third degree from my friend on the way back, who hadn’t picked up any numbers herself.
We emailed for a few weeks, started dating and Matthew visited me in Prague where I was studying part-time that February.
We were married in 2003. We’ve only been back to Dunwich once (on our twelve-and-a-halfth anniversary) but we’ve had fish and chips quite a few times since. I am constantly grateful that I’ve got Matthew and that God instigated it all. Marriage takes effort and a lot of communication and commitment, but God knew what he was doing putting the two of us together.