Life doesn’t always move in a straight line. Sometimes, it loops back to make a full circle!
Paul Mattingly and Laura Lee Estes got married in 1980, just a year after they met and fell in love in college. The couple admits they were too young to fully understand what marriage meant. They were poorly equipped to cope with the little annoyances that can turn into big fights.
“I thought it was going to be Cinderella and you kissed and everything worked out magically,” Laura Lee admits. “That didn’t quite work out.”
Paul agrees that they were too young when they first got married.
“We didn’t really know how to be married, I don’t think, at that time,” Paul agreed.
Although they both say they were “the best of friends,” their marriage ended after just four years. Paul went on to remarry, have a daughter, and get divorced. Laura Lee never remarried and worked as a teacher, then a therapist. They vowed to remain friends after their divorce, but within 10 years’ time, they had lost touch.
All of that changed 40 years later, in 2019. Laura Lee was driving to Georgia to see family when she thought of Paul, who lived in Alabama. She called him up out of the blue and arranged to meet for dinner in Birmingham. The moment their eyes met at the restaurant, the sparks began to fly!
“It was love at second sight,” Paul said. “I looked at her and knew it was. I looked her in the eye and I thought, ‘This is it.'”
Laura Lee felt it too.
“It’s just like, that person, that best friend that you haven’t seen for years, you see each other and there’s no hesitation.”
The second time around, the couple chatted by phone every Saturday night for weeks. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Paul moved into Laura Lee’s home in Plano, Texas — and never left! That fall, he asked Laura Lee to marry him again, and she said yes… again.
They got married on February 21st 2021. Since then, they’ve had time to process how much has changed over the past few decades, and how much things have stayed the same.
“We both do a better job communicating,” Laura Lee said. “We laugh a lot.”
The only regret Paul and Laura Lee have is wasting 40 years apart! They regret missing out on those years together, but they intend to make the rest of their lives count.
We should all be so lucky to have a second shot at the love of our life!
Share this story to wish Paul and Laura Lee well.
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