So, while this post and the next aren’t necessarily fall-themed, they’re certainly long enough to encourage you to brew up a nice hot drink, snuggle under your favorite blanket, and settle in for a good 10-15 minutes of reading.
So go brew up your drink of choice (or try mine), don’t worry I’ll wait…
Ok, now that you have your drink (and we’ve scared off all the fall haters – who needs them?), this is the story of how Steve & I met, became friends, started dating, and got engaged & married.
I’ll start you off with a picture to ease you into it. Just look at that handsome man – what a catch!
Now to begin in earnest.
The fall of my sophomore year in college, I was just getting into the perfect place where I was truly content in my singleness. I had been in a pretty terrible relationship my senior year of high school that continued through my freshman year of college, and had broken it off at the beginning of the summer. I then spent all summer in an intense internship at my church (where Cara & I met) building my relationship with the Lord.
I had known Steve for about a year, but not very well, and though we talked a few times over the summer, we were really still just acquaintances. But that fall Steve and I were in a class & a Bible study together, so we started hanging out to work on Greek homework & it wasn’t long before I had a pretty good-sized crush on him. Then I started to suspect that he liked me too, but I talked to one of my friends about it (my mentor at the time, who had been good friends with Steve for a while), and she thought I was just imagining it because Steve is just thoughtful and sweet with everyone.
It was good for me to hear that from her, since I was still trying remain content with being single. So, I continued to focus on my relationship with God. A few weeks went by – weeks where I sought the Lord and struggled between my feelings for Steve and the knowledge that I needed to be content with what the Lord had for me, and not what I wanted for myself – and then came the time for the college ministry fall retreat (see, this is definitely a fall-themed post).
Steve and I, who were both working for the church at the time, were part of the group going early to set things up for the retreat weekend. We walked together from campus to the church parking lot where we were meeting the group to leave.
On the walk, we talked about school stuff & all the usual things, and then Steve told me that he had something he needed to say to me. Because of a recent sermon on biblical manhood that our pastor had preached, he said he felt like it was only right for him to tell me that he liked me.
At this point (he told me much later) he totally expected me to be full-on creeped out that he liked me. But reader, as you sip your drink and consider lighting a fall-scented candle (how did we find so many fun, fall-loving readers?), you already know that that is not at all what was going on in my head. I was in total disbelief. I mean, did this guy – the sweetest, nicest, coolest, and cutest guy I’d ever met – really just say that he liked me? I knew that I’d had a crush on him for a while, but I never suspected that he would ever like me back. And to be totally honest, I’m still amazed!
But back to the story: there we were, in the parking lot, about to go off on the retreat. After Steve explained his feelings for me, I told him that I felt the same way for him. But I also told him that I had recently gotten out of a bad relationship and was just starting to be content with my singleness. I really didn’t think that a relationship was what I needed right then. I needed to focus on the Lord.
Steve took that very well, and we went off to the retreat on good terms. Over the retreat, I talked with my good friends and my mentor about the situation and got their advice and encouragement. I also made sure that my friends, who didn’t know Steve very well, got to hang out with him. It was a
good great retreat.
A few weeks went by, and we continued talking regularly and studying together. I spent a lot of time in prayer and the Lord taught me that I didn’t have to be afraid of being in a relationship, that I could still cling to Him and set my hopes on Him alone while dating someone.
When I came to this realization, I told Steve I thought I was ready to be in a relationship, but I wanted him to ask my dad if he could date me. Since my previous relationship had caused me to drift away from my family, I wanted to start this one on the right foot. Steve sat down with my dad for a (apparently very intense) talk, and my dad approved. I was never worried that he wouldn’t, knowing what an awesome and godly man Steve is, but I still wanted to give my dad the chance to say no.
So, there we were, dating! That was November 2010.
We set certain boundaries up straight away and stuck to them pretty well. We had a lot of fun hanging out with both of our groups of friends and going on double dates and study dates and watching Psych together (which we still enjoy). We actually never fought. The fall semester ended, the spring semester came & went. Then it was summer time again.
Now, in my previous relationship, I had thought that I loved the guy from practically day one. But after that relationship was over, I realized that I still had no idea what it really meant to be in love with someone, the kind that lasts a lifetime. I felt that it was only right that I make that clear to Steve so that he wouldn’t get the idea that I loved him accidentally.
But by about mid-summer, I was really starting to think that I might be in love with him. I felt like I would never get tired of learning more about who he was, and that I really could live with him for as long as I lived. But I also still felt that if the Lord decided to take away the relationship, I would be able to learn to be content, and that was really important for me since I hadn’t felt that in my previous relationship.
Well, one night later that summer, Steve told me that he loved me, and I said it back! We started talking about marriage soon after that, and we were getting pretty serious. By the time October rolled around (I’m beginning to see why I love fall so much…), we had practically set a date, but there still wasn’t a ring on my finger.
One night, Steve told me that he & I and his roommate, Paul, were needed to test out a scavenger hunt for the people who ran the apartment complex that we both lived in, which is also a ministry for college students. I probably would have been suspicious, but Paul was there so I didn’t expect a proposal. The scavenger hunt involved someone texting clues to Steve that required that we take a picture somewhere on the apartment property.
We ran all over the property for about an hour figuring out clues and taking pictures and texting them back in. About 3/4 of the way through, Paul had to leave to go study. So, Steve and I did the rest of the clues on our own. Towards the end, I was getting pretty tired and I started getting frustrated at Steve (who, though I didn’t know it then, was trying to stall). Finally, the last clue came in and we were supposed to go to a classroom in one of the apartment buildings and look for a post-it note.
We got to the room, and Steve sent me off looking in one corner of it. While I was distracted, he started up a slideshow of all the pictures that we had just taken, and they all matched up to parts of the traditional wedding vow. Here’s an example:
The clue asked us to reenact the Heisman trophy, and in the slideshow this pic showed up as “to have and to hold”:
Once the slideshow started, I figured out what was going on pretty quick. At the end, there was a slide that said “But first, I have a very important question to ask you…” and he knelt down on one knee, held out the ring, & asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes.
That was October 12th, 2011.
We set the wedding date for December 17th, 2011. A two month engagement! It sounds a little crazy to have such a short engagement, but I loved it. It took a lot of pressure off of me as far as decisions went. For example, I picked a color for the bridesmaids’ dresses and then I could only choose from the dresses and sizes that they already had on hand in that color, which narrowed it down to two options. It really helped me concentrate on preparing to be a wife and just letting all the little details fall into place.
December 17th rolled around, we said “I do”, and that’s the end of that!
Reader, if you have managed to make it this far, you deserve a prize – maybe some cute fall boots, or a scarf! But since I can’t actually give you those, here’s a great picture of Cara at the wedding totally being a diva and stealing my spotlight, enjoy:
A note from the Happily Ever After: When I asked Steve to proofread this, he said he would only if I would snuggle down under the blanket with him while he read. He knows me so well!