Dan Kottke, architect 31, and Erin Kottke, marketing manager, 26, Minneapolis, Minn.
He: Late at night sometimes, I’d take online personality tests or browse through the “missed connections” on craigslist, an online community. People would post things like “I saw you on the number 7 bus,” and I’d think, That would be amazing if they actually got together. One night I saw a note from a woman named Erin that read, “Matt and Dan, the architects.” My friend Matt and I are architects, and we’d met this woman, Erin, a few nights earlier at an indie rock concert. I looked over at my cat, who was perched beside me on the couch, and said, “I think she means me.”
Erin and I had talked for a few minutes. We liked the same kind of music, and I thought she was really cute and had a vibrant personality. But once the concert started, we got separated in the crowd and I lost her. I remember thinking, Who knows where that would have gone. I wrote back and said, “We should hang out.” There was another concert in the area in a couple of days, so I asked her to meet some of my friends and me there. Turns out Erin and I lived only three blocks from each other.
It was a matter of a few weeks of getting to know each other before we decided to make a go of things. It moved fast.
She: I’d always thought of architects as having gray hair and wearing black mock-turtlenecks. So when Dan said he was an architect, I thought he was lying. But once we started talking, I knew it was the beginning of something. After I lost him at the concert, I posted a message on Craigslist that said, “Please email me.” Since it was a romantic and idealistic thing to do, I was shocked when Dan replied in just a couple days. Then I felt nervous: I didn’t want to be “the girl from the Internet.” But we really hit it off. I told my parents, “This feels right.” Six months later, we got married in a 15-person wedding at a friend’s house. Our son, Linus, was born the next year, on Mother’s Day 2008.
He Had Her Back
Sarah Peterson, actress, 60, and Dr. Sherwin B. Nuland, physician and author, 78, Milford, Conn.
She: I was working as an actress with the American Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, Connecticut, when I developed a painful carbuncle on my backside. I had to go to the emergency room after the show we were doing. The doctors performed minor surgery and referred me to a local practice for a follow-up.
The day of my appointment, I was feeling crummy. I was so sick from the infection that was coursing through my body, I wasn’t even embarrassed by that point. All I could think was that I wanted to feel better. And I was lying on the exam table on my stomach, with a drape over me, when in walked this very handsome man.
The doctor and I started talking. As sick as I was, I thought, Oh, he’s cute. And he has blue eyes. I had to keep going back to his office so that he could change the dressing on this boil and check its progress. Our relationship went from there.
To think that at first, I felt this wonderful man would be a good match for an older friend of mine!
He: While Sarah was lying in the exam room, she asked me about the Hippocratic oath that was hanging on the wall. She had taken classical Greek in college, she said, and she wondered about the translation. I thought, This is an unusual patient.
During the next visit, our conversation was even more interesting. I wasn’t accustomed to complex discussions about literature, art, and science while I was working on a patient.
A few weeks later, I went with my two children to see Sarah’s group perform Romeo and Juliet. Another night, I met Sarah after the show. We ended up talking through the night, until 8:30 the next morning.
But the truly transforming moment was when Sarah invited me to her home for dinner. It was a really lovely evening. When the time came for me to leave, I leaned over, kissed this beautiful woman on the forehead, and went to let myself out the door. But as I tried to make a smooth and dignified exit, the doorknob came off in my hand.
It was like a bad movie! No longer was I the avuncular, benevolent doctor—I was a human being. All the seriousness between us drained away, and I realized that I was falling very deeply and sincerely in love with Sarah.
When both my children insisted I marry her, I knew I couldn’t live the rest of my life without her. We have been married for more than 30 years.