Once Upon a Beach in Mexico…

February 15, 2024
Reading time: 4 minutes
Love, Relationships


It’s Valentine’s Day week! A time for celebrating the romance in our lives—candlelit dinners, roses, chocolates, and whispers of sweet nothings…

Well, that’s what movies, TV, and social media ads would have us think, anyway. Valentine’s Day isn’t something everyone looks forward to, partnered or not. For single people, it can feel like a day that doesn’t belong to them, and for those partnered, it can be an expectation rollercoaster that ends in disappointment (though it certainly needn’t be!) When it’s all said and done, Valentine’s Day is just another day, but the effort you put into your relationship—no matter who it’s with—is something that matters every day.

I have written and spoken about relationships extensively, and many of you know my approach to the topic of love is more practical than whimsical. While I believe in experiences of deep romance and sweeping emotion, I also know that love takes work, intention, commitment, and an ability to rethink everything.

This is probably because of how I met my soulmate.

I was on a secluded beach in Mexico, attending the wedding of a close friend who was sixteen years my senior. The small group of guests was almost all couples in their mid-thirties.

Being only twenty-one years old, I felt out of place. The only other person my age was my future husband, Michael, the son of the officiating Rabbi. I had met Michael before, just in passing, and being the only two people of a similar age thrown together for a weekend, you’d think we would have naturally gravitated toward each other—but that was not the case.

The day after the wedding, all the guests were outside enjoying the beach. Everywhere I looked, there was something exciting happening: parasailers, runners, children making sandcastles, and sunbathers sipping frozen cocktails adorned with tiny umbrellas. As I was taking it all in, enjoying the warmth of the sun on my shoulders, something struck me. I may have felt out of place, but Michael looked out of place. There he sat, uncomfortable and miserable, studying an ancient text in Aramaic in the heat, desperately trying to cover his entire body, including his head, with a towel. I remember feeling really confused. I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t just go sit in the shade somewhere and put an end to his misery. In hindsight, I realized that he was trying to be part of the group, which didn’t come naturally to him. I can say with absolute certainty that on that day, I did not recognize him as my future husband, let alone my soulmate.

I would love to say that the first time I encountered Michael was life-changing, but in reality, it was more of a thud than a bang.

We spent our time very differently in the first part of our lives. For me, there was no walking and reading; it was more like drinking and dancing. At 17, attending Beverly Hills High School, I was a free spirit. I drove my Jeep Wrangler around town, my long, curly hair blowing in the wind. I lived in Levi’s and motorcycle boots. Michael was 18 at the time, and he didn’t just read books. He inhaled them. He didn’t put much importance on superficial things, so wearing black pants and a white shirt every day suited him just fine.

The differences between Michael and I were obvious, from how we dressed, to how we spent our time, to how we grew up—he was born in Jerusalem and lived an Orthodox Jewish life, whereas I was born in Louisiana and, although raised Jewish, sang a lot of Christmas carols growing up. That day on the beach in Mexico, I was relying solely on my five senses, and because of that, I couldn’t see that we had anything in common at all.

I tell you this story not only because I enjoy recounting how Michael and I met but because it’s a perfect example of how our soulmates are rarely who we think they will be. I can tell you with certainty that if God himself had told me that Michael was my soul mate, I wouldn’t have believed it! Today, we have four beautiful children, a thriving 26-year-long marriage, and enough memories to last several lifetimes.

Valentine’s Day (and week) is not just for soulmates and couples. It’s a time that we can bring focus to all the varying versions of love in our lives—most especially with ourselves. Michael and I may have met as diametrically opposed young adults but through the spiritual work we’ve done, we reveal more and more love with each passing year. It isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it. This kind of love is our birthright, and I am here to remind you it is available and possible no matter where you are on your journey.

If you are single, see yourself as your one true soulmate. Admire yourself the way you wish a partner would, get curious about you, and see yourself through the eyes of love. What changes? What do you discover?

If you are partnered, spend the day believing that your partner is your one true match. Your soulmate. Admire them, get curious about them, ask them questions (especially ones you think you know the answer to!), and look at them as though for the very first time. What shifts? Can you feel a greater connection?

What we bring to our relationships is more important than anything else, and the love in our lives begins with us.

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  1. Jonathan Daniel Kruger Erbstein : February 21, 2024 at 5:44 pm

    Amazing and helpful being single!

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