When Matt Grodsky was in preschool, he knew who he'd marry. Her name was Laura Scheel and they were already inseparable.
Despite losing touch for seven years and living 1,500 miles away from each other for another three, the Phoenix natives have made it work.
Now people around the world are reading their story.
Laura first met Matt in preschool at United Methodist Church on Central Avenue. Shortly thereafter, Matt announced to the class his intention to marry her someday.
The bold declaration didn't seem to bother Laura -- she said the pair was inseparable as young kids.
"We were so close," she said. "There was never a time where we ever fought or anything, I don’t remember ever being angry with him."
Their parents and other people who saw them said they acted like an old married couple, like they'd already been together for years, but there was a time after preschool when they fell out of touch. It was just one of the links in their chain that could have broken, but after seven years, they linked back up.
Freshman year of high school, a mutual friend wanted to set them up together. Matt was at Shadow Mountain, Laura at Xavier.
Of course they remembered each other and their bond as young kids but Laura took a bit of convincing. Within a couple weeks, they agreed they were officially dating, because that's what you do in high school and because they recognized their connection.
"Laura and I met in preschool. One of my very first memories is of being 3 years old and standing up in front of my pre-school class, declaring that I would marry her someday. As kids, Laura taught me how to ride the swings, draw rolling hills, and the 'right way' to properly eat string cheese. We have fond memories of playing hide-and-go-seek, chasing after each other on the playground, and mischievously staying up during nap time. I was enamored with Laura as a child, and I still am to this day. Eventually, we lost touch upon entering our Elementary School days and for the next seven years, our family's annual Christmas cards was the only way we ever saw each other's faces. It wasn't until High School that we reconnected by happenstance through a mutual friend. Within two weeks, we decided to be boyfriend and girlfriend. We continued to date through out all of High School, even though we went to different schools. We even stuck together long-distance while attending colleges in different states. We remained a resilient couple until May 23rd, 2015 when I decided to stay true to my preschool pledge and make Laura my wife. I proposed to her at the place it all began... our preschool classroom."
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After dating throughout high school, another strain on their relationship came: Matt was headed to Columbia College Chicago while Laura would head to Flagstaff to attend NAU.
Matt said they went 20 weeks without seeing each other that first year. After that stretch, they were sure not to let that happen again.
Laura shared some advice for anyone in a long-distance relationship like theirs.
"Just stay true to who you are," she said. "It stinks in the portion of the long distance but you just have to push through it and know that the end goal."
They spoke every day and wrote letters to keep their relationship strong.
We're not sure if they're more Ross and Rachel or Monica and Chandler, but watching Friends together on Netflix helped keep them close while half a continent away.
Matt graduated college early so he could come back to Arizona to be close to Laura. Two years ago after they both had graduated, he took her to the church on Central where they met and proposed to her.
She said yes, and a year and a half later they were married.
Laura and Matt knew how unique their story was, so they reached out to @TheWayWeMet on Instagram, which features couples' origin stories.
When Laura got a follow request from @TheWayWeMet last week, she knew something was up.
"I was like, 'Oh my gosh, this is it! They’re going to post it,'" she said.
As of Thursday night, nearly 25,000 people had liked their photo on Instagram.
"There’s a lot of depressing things in news today," Matt said, and Laura chimed in "so it’s nice to share an uplifting story."
Yep, they're even finishing each others' sentences.
Matt and Laura credited their parents with recognizing and fostering their connection.
"I wasn’t very shy about it in high school, either," Matt said.
They're back in Phoenix starting their young careers, and they don't see their fairy tale leaving the Valley anytime soon. But Phoenix may not be the site of the most important thing that brought them together.
Laura's father first met her in an orphanage in New Delhi, India on a Thanksgiving morning. She was tiny and had IVs in her arms and a tube in her nose after battling pneumonia. He and her mother eventually brought her home on Christmas, and later to Phoenix, making her life with them and with Matt possible.
Plenty of things could have changed their course, from her adoption to losing touch through elementary school to going to college so far from one another. But nothing did.