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What Does This Bride Have To Be Afraid Of?

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reluctant brideBy Greg B.

Marvin Coote and Rachel Skiffer first encountered each other at Harvard, and shared a kiss. But however it would be more than 20 years until they share another one.

Ms. Skiffer and Mr. Coote have the sort of relationship that could be made into a movie. Ms. Skiffer the daughter of a real estate developer and an urban planner was raised to be independent and not depend on men.

Mr. Coote, 40, was raised in Ridgefield, N.J., and was one of just a few black students in his suburban high school. Mr. Coote, was raised with a strict background, and a father that required the best out of him. Because of such a challenging childhood, he vowed to never grow hardened or to worry too much about the small stuff. He seems to have succeeded; Tori Jueds, a friend at Harvard, describes him as “a ray of pure sunshine.”

Ms. Skiffer was drawn to Mr. Coote’s relaxed manner and wit, and to his 6-foot-4 height. They courted for two years and moved in together. Mr. Coote gave Ms. Skiffer a promise ring, and they were on their way.

After graduating in 1996 before starting Harvard Law School, Ms. Skiffer broke up with him, saying she was not ready to settle down.

“You’re afraid,” a stunned Mr. Coote countered.

Stunned, Mr. Coote decided to start his career working with children seeking to switch into accelerated high schools.

In 2006 they connected yet again and saw each other for about a year. Mr. Coote lived in Washington and Ms. Skiffer was in San Francisco. He suggested he relocated to he, she refused.

After the breakup they agreed not communicate with each other unless one of them was marrying or had fallen seriously ill. This silence lasted nearly six years. He went out on a lot of dates and had a few girlfriends, but his best friend, Johanna Aeschliman, said: “Rachel was always the gold standard. There really were no others.”

Months later, she wrote Mr. Coote a letter of apology and admitted she was scared. The letter closed with an invitation that surprised her even as she wrote it: “If you’ll have me, I’m ready.” She had a little trouble finding the right address but eventually her letter reached Mr. Coote in Hartford at his workplace.

Mr. Coote called her afterwards and they embarked on another try at love, but this time with great results. The met at SF airport and from that point flew back and forth to see each other.

For Ms. Skiffer, all the unknowing melted away: “Marvin felt like home.”

From then on, the couple racked up frequent-flier miles with coast-to-coast visits. Her father died in 2012, but not before he had given Mr. Coote his blessing. By then, she was finally ready to fully commit.

They ultimately married, to much joy of their respective family and friends and relived that kiss shared some 20 years earlier.

Chime in, have you fought, then fallen in love?

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Greg B., is a financial professional and native Ohioan who is the writer here. I am an avid reader, coffee connoisseur and dog lover. Follow me on Twitter @love2edify.