When I started the idea of Marriage Monday a few months ago, I’ve probably been one of the biggest beneficiaries of doing the blogs. The tips have blessed my marriage and some things that we have done, I’ve also been able to share. One of the questions I get from time to time is how did I meet my wife. I think it’s fun to look back and remember. Next Tuesday will mark seven years since I asked her to marry me. Sometimes it’s hard to believe it has been that long, until I look at the life we have created. We’ve been very blessed. So here we go.
It’s amazing that when you stop looking for love, it finds you. That’s what happened for me. I had just walked away from someone that I cared about that had no feelings for me. That may sound a little harsh, but it was true. As Biz Markie, she saw me as “Just a Friend.” Along with that, my great aunt that lived in a nursing home in West Virginia had just died. My mom and grandma went to the funeral. I had to stay behind because I had just started a new job. It was pretty much one of the worst weekends of my life.
But Sunday has always been a good day and I went to Bible Baptist and went to Sunday School with the high school teens. To say that they were the bright stars of my life might be a touch on the melodramatic, but they meant a lot during the tough times. So after that, I went to main service and did my rounds of saying hi to everyone. Right before I got to the teen section, I stopped off and said hello to Rosa Ramirez and Colleen Brotherton, two of my fellow singles who have been bright and happy people in my life.
There she was. She sat next to Colleen and on her other side was Carol. Amazingly, I can’t remember Carol’s last name. She was dressed well. Even in sadness, I made a mental note of her. Dressing well is important to me. Ask anyone. People that know my wife now may not realize how good a dresser she is most of the time because she wears set uniforms to work. She doesn’t get to dress up as often. But when she does, it really is something.
After that morning, I didn’t see her for a few weeks. My friend James Delagarza came to talk to me about teaching the Singles Again ministry because I had been part of it at one time and also had taught it before. I accepted and began going. The first Friday night that I went to teach, I saw her again. We talked briefly and then I presented the study portion of the evening. After the class, she stopped me and asked me if I was serious about people being able to call me if they had questions. She sounded a touch distressed, but I assured her that sure, she could call me.
Another five weeks of class pass and I had been floating through. What I mean by that is that I beat a couple subjects that I wanted understood a little too long and with all my other responsibilities, had left this ministry on the back burner as far as focus. After class, she called me on it. She didn’t beat me up, but she politely let me know that I needed to change the subject. It was nice to have someone tell me.
The next week she called me and asked if I would go to a wedding with her. No pressure. I’m thinking, I have nothing better to do on the 4th of July, so sure. Between that time, my friend James told me that we just needed to do a fun event without a study. It rained buckets that night and so the group decided on two things. One group went to eat at Dairy Queen and the other group went to the movies.
We ended up seeing Windtalkers. James and I always liked going to the movies right, so we stopped and got a pizza on the way. So during the most violent scenes, here I am eating pizza like I’ve seen this a hundred times before. She just stares at me. Not that I’m in love with this guy stare, but the this guy might have more than a few screws loose look. I laugh to myself. Here I am on what we realize later is a setup first date and I am looking like a complete goon stuffing myself.
After the movie, we talked about some of our friends and our concerns for them. A couple of our friends were just being stupid and needed some loving talk to kick them out of it. I think that was still on our minds when we met at the church Independence Day function on the 3rd. We had a good dinner and then left everyone for a walk and talk around Kissimmee Park. We spent hours talking about church. I’m not sure she realized she said this, but she asked me, “Do you ever think you are too wrapped up in other people’s lives to worry about your own?” I never answered that question, but boy howdy, did I ever think about it over the next 12 hours.
The next day was the 4th and we went to the wedding at Cypress Gardens. This was a beautiful place for a wedding. Flowers everywhere. However, I must admit that walking to the reception from the wedding was a little weird as all I could think about was I felt that I walking across a 19th century looking scene across a plantation. OK, it probably didn’t help to have “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” playing in my head.
Once we got to the reception, it was a great time. The music and food was excellent. I wasn’t sure how good of a connection I was making until I led her across the room. I took her hand and it felt natural. We both commented on it later and agreed. We stayed around another half hour or so and headed back to Orlando. On the way back, we passed a fireworks display. We pulled off the interstate and just watched. It was very cool.
She had the four day weekend and so we went out on Friday before group and then joined everyone at St Cloud Park for the singles’ holiday cookout. Afterwards, she had wanted to go to the beach, but I had bowling on Friday nights. So she decided that she was tired and went home.
Saturday came and we went to Family Christian Bookstore to look at potential studies for the singles. We had decided on a prayer study and a God’s will study. As we were driving back to my house, she told me that we needed to talk. We’d spent quite a bit of time talking already, but I sensed a serious tone. I began freaking. Maybe I talked too much. Maybe she had too much information. I had felt comfortable with her, maybe too comfortable. AAAAAAAAAA!
We pulled over at this mini mall between her house and mine. She looked at me and said, “Look. We can’t do this. I can’t just be your friend. I want more.” I chugged my soda. Too fast. I chucked. Not badly though. I then breathed a sigh of relief. She’s like, “What’s wrong?” I thought she’d wanted to break up with me. I was so thankful that wasn’t the case.
We went to my house so I could change and then we finally went to the beach at Cocoa and spent the evening there. Before we left, she kept looking at me. I’m like a total airhead. I kept rambling on about how we didn’t bring my camera. Finally, she turns me and kisses me. I think right then we knew. We knew that we would get married. We talked long term stuff on the way back from the beach. I took the long way on purpose. We had almost two hours to chat.
By Tuesday night, I had found the ring. It was a ring passed down from my great aunt Ida. It was a perfect fit. So July 12th, 2002, was the night of our engagement. October 26, 2002, Mindy and I got married. It’s been an interesting ride, but we have survived and it is getting better every day.
So, if you’d like to share part of your journey, take time in the comments below.
I love you guys!