The extraordinary snap was taken in July 2000, when dad-of-two Ye, now 35, and his wife Xue both visited the city of Qingdao, east China, with their own families.
The pair, from Chengdu, who have been married for five years, were only teenagers at the time and did not know one another.
The picture shows a young Xue in a white dress posing in Qingdao’s May Fourth Square, while a young man stands in the background.
Ye said he immediately recognised himself in the snap – because he has a picture of himself from the same day, in front of the same landmark.
Ye, who is dad to twin girls, said: “We were at my mother-in-law’s house, and I was looking for old pictures of my wife to see whether our kids looked more like her or me.
“I saw myself in the corner of her photo and said: ‘That’s me’.”
Ye said the astonishing snap gave him goosebumps.
He said: “I knew my wife had also been to Qingdao on holiday before, but we left it at that because we didn’t know each other then.”
The couple, who met through friends in 2011 and married a year later, were both “very surprised”, and happy at the same time, believing that their relationship was “destined”.
They already had similar feelings while dating when Ye realised his then-girlfriend’s family lived in the same residential building his own family used to live in.
Ye said he planned to keep and treasure both photos.
“My wife says I don’t know how to be romantic,” he said, adding: “I’ll show her romantic.”