A Love Story : Divya Chopra & Kyle Peterson, Seattle

Valentine's Day is coming soon and us at Grinning Cat Mag love nothing more than real life love stories of everyday people. Divya and Kyle are a symbol of true partnership and love working great together as life partners managing a chaotic and hectic life of being parents to three beautiful kids and working full time, yet still make time to focus on their relationship which a lot of times as a married couple with kids we tend to forget to do.

I hope you'll enjoy reading their love story as much as I did.

So how long have you both been together and how did you meet? Was it love at first sight or first kiss?

Divya - We've been together a little over 8 years though we've known each other for about 10 years. We met at work when we were working together on a project. We respected each other so after we learned more about each other, falling in love was pretty much inevitable!

Kyle - Divya and I have been together since December 7th, 2010; but we met all the way back in 2005. That’s when Divya joined Amazon and we started working together. Unfortunately we didn’t spend enough time together for several years, until 2008 when Divya and I started sharing an office. I tried to be professional with Divya for as long as we were office mates, but when we moved to different desks in 2010, I found that I kept making excuses to drop by her new office. It wasn’t long before that flirting led to hanging out outside work, and eventually I worked up the courage to kiss Divya.

How did you both know that you were meant for each other?

Divya - Being with Kyle felt so natural and effortless. Plus, he had qualities that I were important to me from a life partner so I knew that I had found my soul mate.

Kyle - Before we started dating, I remember the giddiness and butterflies in my stomach anytime I was going to see Divya. I’d come up with nonsense excuses to message her. On our first date (which neither of us admitted was a date at the time), we talked for hours, until the restaurant kicked us out; and even then we found an excuse to keep talking in the car for a while before I drove Divya home. This never really changed. When I wasn’t with Divya, I couldn’t wait to see here. When we were together, I never wanted to be leave. I felt this calm and comfort and happiness that I’d never felt before. Divya just felt like home to me.

How long did you date before you decided to tie the knot? How did the proposal happen? Was it as how you both imagined?

Divya - We dated for exactly a year before our civil wedding. We got engaged on a weekend getaway where Kyle completely surprised me when he proposed, even going down on a knee. It was magical.

Kyle - After our first date, it was only a week before we moved in together (and it was only that long because my mom was visiting Seattle). At that point we both already knew that we were going to get married. We were talking about it to our parents within a month of that. Divya’s mom actually tricked me into confirming it and giving her a date when she told me that wedding venues in India book up to a year in advance. I wanted to propose on the Olympic coast, under the full moon. I waited until I had the ring and it was nice weather to go out there for a weekend. We rented a cabin on the beach and went out hiking during the day. Unfortunately, both nights we were too tired to go walk the beach. So when we were lounging on the couch in front of the fireplace I snuck away to the kitchen, got out the ring and walked back to Divya. My hand was shaking the whole time. When I got down on my knee in front of her and took out the ring, Divya gasped. It was a wonderful moment.

Did you have two or one wedding reception? Please share with us your experience in organizing a wedding in India, it must have been such an amazing experience!

Divya - Apart from our civil wedding, we had two weddings - one in India and one in the US. By Indian standards, we had a pretty small wedding limited to mostly family and close friends. Indian weddings are a multi-day affair which is a great opportunity for the attendees to socialize and enjoy the festivities. Our wedding celebrations spanned across four days. We had a very fun time and would probably do it all over again!

Kyle - We actually got married three times! We had our court wedding in Seattle first just to get the marriage registration handled. Then a month later we had our India wedding. My immediate family flew over as well as a few of our friends from Seattle. The wedding took place over four days: two days for dancing, one for the formal ceremony, and finally the reception. It was very different for me, especially having to ride a horse to the wedding, with my eyes covered, in the middle of a parade. Divya looked so beautiful in her wedding lehenga. The wedding was pretty small by Indian standards, with only a couple hundred people at the reception.

Since none of my extended family could make it to the India wedding, we then flew to Illinois two months later for another wedding there. After the wedding in India though, only one day for the wedding and reception seemed pretty rushed.

What is your definition of love and how do you like to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Any special plans for this year’s Valentine’s Day?

Divya - We usually don't celebrate Valentine's Day since we both feel that it's a shame to have only one day to celebrate your love!

Kyle - We actually make it a point not to do anything special on Valentine’s Day because we want to celebrate being in love every day (and it’s too hard to make restaurant reservations). I don’t know how I would define love other than the feeling that I just want to spend all my time with Divya, and even that just doesn’t seem like enough. When I’m at work and I think about Divya I still get butterflies in my stomach and I just want to drop everything to flirt with her. So for me love is just Divya.

What do you think is the secret to a happy & balanced marriage?

Divya - Communication, communication and communication! We both firmly believe that open communication is necessary for creating a strong foundation for any relationship. We openly discuss problems so that we can get the other’s perspective and work through issues together.

Kyle - I know it’s cliché, but the key is communication. Divya and I talk about everything. I love to hear about Divya’s day, watch her smile when she’s excited about something, and help her if she’s upset. We’re intentional about discussing how to handle situations with the kids, busy times at work, what our plans are for the week, anything. When we’re angry with each other, neither of us feels better until we open up about it. I never miss a chance to tell Divya how much I love her.

If you could change one thing about your husband, what will be or is he just perfect already?

Divya - Kyle is perfect for me. Perhaps, the only thing I’d say is that sometimes Kyle bottles up his stress which manifests physically. I wish he would do less of that.

How about you Kyle?

Divya is definitely the more responsible of us when it comes to day-to-day life: getting bills sent in, maintaining the house, getting ready for work and school in the morning. There are times when I’d like her to just prioritize being impulsive, being romantic and amorous, over the day’s practicalities.

We all know how busy it gets being parents, when you find the time, what would be a romantic night for you both?

Usually dinner and drinks at a cozy restaurant.

How do you balance couple’s life and being parents to three children? How do you keep it exciting and romantic?

One of the things we discussed before the birth of our first child is that we didn't want our identity to solely be defined as parents. Our relationship was sacred and precious so we made sure that spending time with each other was a priority. Even now, every couple of weeks or so, we go on a date. It really helps us focus on just each other and enjoy that time without kids.  

What would be your advice for the young love birds out there who are deciding to get married? Do you recommend it?

Divya - Personally, the happiness, love and security of being in a rock solid relationship is more meaningful to me. Beyond that, marriage is a milestone to celebrate that love and commitment towards each other.

Kyle - If you need anyone’s recommendation about whether to get married or not, I’d say wait. For Divya and I when we got married it was a wonderful event, but it didn’t feel like a change. We just knew that we wanted to be together, always.

If there is one thing you have the power to change in this world to make it better, what will that be?

Kyle - Too much of the time we treat people that we disagree with or don’t understand as a group, as something abstract, defined by single attributes (like race, nationality, political viewpoint) and simplified ideas. It’s easy to villainize others, shout at them, fight with them, dismiss them, and hate them when you don’t take the time to interact with them as individual people. It’s much harder to have a normal conversation with a person, joke and laugh with them, hear their stories, and then hate them.

As a couple, we all get into some rifts at times, how do you handle tough situation or when you both are having a rough moment? How do you get through it?

Divya - We are both very self-aware and also attuned to each other. We always talk it through with each other to determine the best course of action that will take the pressure off, so that then we can have

a productive conversation.

Kyle - I get physically stressed, my back and shoulders get stiff and tighten up. I sometimes bottle up for a little bit, if I really need time to calm down. At some point I just miss Divya more than I’m angry about whatever the issue is, and then it seems silly that I was so upset, so it’s easier to explain to Divya how I was feeling.

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