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First-date etiquette suggests that talking about politics, race or religion is off limits. However, when Marlena Brown went on a first date with a brazen firefighter who had chased her down the block to ask her out, their conversation broke all the rules. They discussed substance abuse, political beliefs and their pasts. In this week’s Modern Love essay, Ms. Brown recalls their contentious yet loving relationship, where they differed in opinion on almost every topic, but still managed to tackle those differences with love and respect.
In this week’s Vows column, good things sometimes happen to those who show up to weddings uninvited. At least that was the case for Ariel Figueroa, who met Nathan Baker in Berkley, Calif., at a mutual friend’s wedding reception that she had crashed. They reconnected when she moved to New York for medical school and began dating soon after. Ms. Figueroa said in her wedding vows, “I couldn’t deny my feelings for you. I fell in love, head over heels.”
And, if you and your partner find yourselves fighting over whose turn it is to wash the dishes, our readers share advice on how to navigate away from traditional roles and expectations.