When I began the dating process many years ago, like you I was struggling to meet a quality partner. My entire dating experience was nothing more than a painful, defeating disaster. Sure, my life was in order, I was starting a career that I loved, but I found myself obsessing about my failed love life. I would watch as the people around me were finding their partners easily and there I was sitting on the sidelines in pain wishing it was me. Over time I grew depressed and began to question my worth; even worse I began to feel there was something inherently wrong with me. I went through several different phases including the very angry “Take me as I am” or “I don’t need a man” to the “ I’ll take anyone I can get” and ending in the dreaded “Clearly there is something wrong and I’m not worthy of being loved”.
Going on dates was painful, negative emotions began to spill over affecting my mindset leading me to make poor choices. It was all spinning out of control as I continued to attract men who were not a match. Intuitively and viscerally, I would feel the men sitting across from me were not a good fit. There was nothing familiar or comfortable about them, making me question my judgment. I couldn’t figure out why I kept meeting and attracting men who were not what I was looking for; they did not share my goals, values, or vision for a healthy and long-lasting relationship. After enduring the pain of one failed relationship after another I recognized that I needed to make a change. From my mindset to my appearance, I knew that if I was going to attract the man of my dreams, I had to create a shift.
So in a bold move, I made a decision; I was going to put my love life first, making it a priority above all else. That is when I became my own Dating Coach… I took a step back and assessed my situation and myself. I took note of what I was looking for in a husband, father of my children, and lover. I made conscious changes to my appearance to ensure I could attract the right person and be ready when I met him. Every time I entered into a social situation I made sure to present the best version of myself. I networked, recruited friends to help, and did all that I could to find my perfect match.
But that wasn’t all; I realized the change needed to go deeper. After all, I was the common denominator in all of my relationships. Through personal exploration and the utilization of my social work skills, I was able to identify the different unhealthy behaviors I was not only engaging in but was accepting! I realized I wasn’t setting limits or boundaries, and I was turning a blind eye making one excuse after another when it came to bad behavior. I uncovered that my expectations were unrealistic and my communication was not as effective as I had once perceived.
Within a year of starting my journey, all my hard work paid off. There was a huge positive shift to my mindset positively impacting my dating outcome. That’s when I met and began dating the man who would become my husband. Intuitively, viscerally and immediately, I knew he was the right one. He was familiar and our shared life experiences made our relationship rich and rewarding! Fast forward 30 years and 3 kids later Vincent and I are still madly in love. I cannot imagine being married to anyone else, because he is my perfect match as well as the best friend I have ever had. When the opportunity to help others find their perfect match was presented to me in 2005 I jumped at it. I understand first hand the desire to find that special someone. Today I use the same system for my clients that I personally used to help me find the love of my life!
They say when you meet, the love of your life. Time stands still. And I can say, that’s true.
I vividly remember the moment I first saw you; time literally did stand still for me. I now believe it was the universe letting me know, Hey, lady, this guy here, “he’s the one.”
Now, I know today turned out just a little bigger than you imagined, but I think that’s in keeping with how our marriage turned out… Just a little bigger than we ever imagined.
Believe it or not, over the years I’ve thought about Father Pat’s homily at our wedding. He was very real and didn’t sugarcoat it. He spoke about how real marriage; real love is not always romantic, or pretty, or easy. There is a lot of stress, strain, compromise, and surrendering. In fact, to quote him, he said, “your happiness will be in direct proportion, to how much you are willing to surrender.” Now let’s be real, surrendering can be so unbelievably hard. Our ego can quickly come into play when challenged, very quickly we can see surrendering as losing ourselves or our individuality as a person, but when your person and your marriage are more important, you choose to surrender.
I know that along this ride we have both surrendered, we’ve changed our course, and even gave up dreams. All because we loved each other and knew that… this IS what you do when you love someone. It’s been these difficult moments that have always made us stronger as a couple. Our communication grew, our friendship grew and most of all our trust grew. I want to tell you today, that I appreciate every time you put me first. Every time you chose to love me, every time you chose to love us. Every time you surrendered.
I’d also like to acknowledge, your dedication. Not only to our marriage but our family. I often say, I knew you’d be a great dad, I just didn’t know how great you’d be. Devoted, involved, and excited about each one of our kids. You show up for them, for everything, without question, selflessly. I know you secretly LOVE to come upstairs at the end of the day to find all four of us in the bed, chatting. You bluster, but we’ve got your number Mr. and know it’s a show. Sorry dude, your facial expressions give you away. And then you climb in, and join in the conversation, catching up on all the details of the day. I know nothing makes you feel more connected than to have us all around. This is exactly what you signed up for and have created. Our beautiful family.
Ultimately, I want you to know, on those days when I’m obsessed about work or preoccupied with the kids or still trying to figure out what to make for dinner at 6 pm… or complaining about the dogs, it doesn’t’ escape me how wonderful our life is and how out lucky I am to have you as my husband. How lucky we both are to have our friendship, our laughter, and passion. I can’t imagine sharing my life with anyone else, but you. It’s 25 years later and you still make time stand still for me, you still make me laugh and smile at least once a day, if not more. I still think you are always the sexiest man in the room. And nothing brings me peace like the touch of your hand or the sound of your voice. You are my dream come true Vincent; you are the love of my life. I love you madly Vincent.
Julianne Cantarella is a Licensed Social Worker and Certified Life Coach who has spent her entire career helping those in need. After years of working with some of the most vulnerable populations, she was presented with the unique opportunity to help people find love and create the relationship of their dreams through matchmaking and date coaching.
After years in the Matchmaking industry, it became clear to Julianne that her true purpose (and passion) is to EMPOWER women to take control of their love lives so they can create the relationship they desire and deserve. A renowned relationship expert and dating coach, Julianne is the creator of a comprehensive one-of-a-kind, transformational- date coaching program From First Date to Soulmate™ that has helped hundreds of women find love. Another credit to Julianne’s expertise is that she not only talks the talks, but she walks the walk as she has been married to her soul mate and best friend since 1996 and together they have three children.