Ten years ago today my husband officially asked me to be his girlfriend. I knew we would get married, and I knew it even before that moment. (He did, too.) On this our ten-year anniversary, I am listing the 30 moments I grew to love my husband and knew he was, and still is, "the one."
1. The first time I saw him.Okay, so it wasn't entirely love at first. But for me, this really was the beginning. I was new to the college he had already been attending. He was being Mr. Social in the front row at an evening weekend program, and I looked him up in the mug book when I got back to my room. He wasn't single and I thought he was someone a friend had dated, which ruled him out. I remember feeling disappointed and telling my roommate that.
2. Moonlit skateboarding and watching Hitch in the theater.We were both hanging out with my brother and some of my brother's friends. He was now single, but I wasn't. So while this wasn't a moment of sparks between us, it was proof we could be around each other in a friend setting.
3. Chatting on MSN during Christmas break.This is when we both felt our first real connection. We were both single, I was home for Christmas break in Kansas; he was taking his Christmas break from deaning at an academy. We'd chat for hours. About music and past relationships and our favorite color. We had so much in common and I felt so safe and connected to him. And it was embarrassing to admit that even to myself, since we were only "talking" through a computer.
4. He sent me a book. And a poem.I returned to college and he returned to the academy he was deaning at. He sent me a devotional book and a poem about our new friendship. It was super sweet, but made me feel confused since I didn't know if we'd have the same connection in person.
5. He came back to visit college in the spring.He brought students from the academy he was working at to visit our college. My job was coordinating visits, so I went with him to take the students out to eat. He drove the van, and there was something that just felt right sitting next to him. Again, confusing since we didn't really know each other, and his sister and my brother were getting married that summer. I was convinced that meant we'd never date.
6. He hugged me at our siblings' wedding.I didn't see him again until the weekend of our siblings' wedding. He hugged me and I melted. He felt and smelt like home. (Cheesy, I know, but I bottled that moment up in my mind.) During the summer, I met my brother to go camping in Moab. He had made me a hemp-type bracelet with three beeds--the middle one was God, the little one was me, and the third one was the man I would marry that we didn't know yet. Whenever the time was right, God would be the foundation to keep us together.
7. He hugged me in August back at college.I finished the summer in California and he finished the summer at a camp in the Northwest. I was feeling misplaced when I returned to college in August, and I happened into him right after his 2-day drive back to school. He hugged me and I melted all over again and was so thankful for this little bit of home.
8. He jumped a couch to chase after me.He was hanging out in the girls dorm lobby when I was on my way to go meet a guy. He said hi across the lobby and asked where I was headed. I didn't want to answer so I ducked my head as if I didn't hear him and walked faster. He ran after me, jumping over a sofa that sat between us, and caught me just outside of the door. I told him where I was going, he gave me a hard time, then hugged me. I met up with the other guy and told him we wouldn't be talking anymore.
9. He brought me an orange drink.I couldn't hang out with Daniel because I was working on a paper. He came to visit me anyway and brought me my favorite citrus drink to sip on while I typed. There was a time before college when my brother and I talked about writing a book together that we affectionately called "Kiss the Love Story Good-bye." The first and only chapter I actually worked on was called "When orange lost its color" about the fall of Adam and Eve and heartbreak. This was a moment when orange regained its color and I was feeling more alive.
10. He rubbed my shoulders and I called him a magnet.We were hanging out a little more, just as friends, of course. We were sitting on campus and he rubbed my shoulders, and I hated that I still felt so connected to him. So I asked him why he was such a magnet to me. That was one of the first moments that I admitted I really was still attracted to him as more than friends.
11. I told him something I've never told anyone. And didn't fear him knowing.We talked a lot, and I never filtered myself or wondered what to say. When I overshared, I didn't feel a vulnerability hangover like I did with other people. It just seemed right that he know these things about me.
12. Our first kiss.We sat by the lake under a giant supermoon (apparently one that won't happen again until 2025). I knew we were going to kiss and he surprised me by only kissing my forehead, then sweetly kissed my cheeks. Seriously, the most gentleman and romantic first kiss I could think of. If I had any reservations, they were gone in that moment.
13. I took him home to my parents.The weekend of my 20th birthday, I took him and a friend home with me. This wasn't too big of a deal, since my parents already knew him and liked him.
14. The day he asked me to be his girlfriend.The day after my 20th birthday, after we drove back to college, we had a conversation about our pasts. It was hard and we were both hurting, and it wasn't exactly a feel-good movie start to a relationship. But it was just what it needed to be--real, honest, and a commitment to forgive and move forward together.
15. He told me I was beautiful.One of the weekends he came home with me, I went to bed early. I didn't really tell him why, but I had been feeling pretty down about lots of things. He came to see me, and without knowing much of what was upsetting me, sweetly touched my hair and my face where the scars run deep and told me how beautiful I was. I felt fully seen and fully loved.
16. I tried to break up with him and he wouldn't let me.Independence is my defense mechanism, and I started to use that with him, too. I didn't want to screw up this relationship or him, and getting out was my go-to. He saw through it and knew that's not really what I wanted and that's not what he wanted, so he fought for me. He said he wouldn't let me break up with him if I didn't have a good reason and he wasn't going anywhere.
17. His calming embrace.I'm not much of a hugger and would often start to push him away when he'd try holding me to comfort me. Still, he had a way of embracing me that calmed me. Later, we saw an episode of Grey's Anatomy where a girl would get anxious and needed the weight of a person against her to calm down. I realized that's exactly what he gave me--a firm embrace that calmed my anxieties.
18. I told him I was pregnant and he asked if we were big enough.I woke him up way too early in the morning to tell him I was pregnant. He met me out on front campus, still groggy and a little disoriented. One of the first things he said as he processed the news was, Are we big enough? And I knew that even if we weren't, we were still a we and that was enough.
19. He stayed in Lincoln.We already had plans for the summer--he was going to work at a camp in Colorado and I was going to work with my parents at a camp in California. I changed my plans to stay at the college and prepare for our upcoming wedding. My independent defense kept telling him to go to Colorado anyway, I'd be fine. He ended up staying at the college so we could be together.
20. He helped me through morning sickness.That summer we took a little trip out to California to visit my parents. I was having terrible all-day "morning" sickness. He pulled me off the couch up to the bath he had filled with bubbles, lights out and candles flickering, iced lemonade ready to sip, The Book of Love played in the background.
21. He agreed to have Fireflies played at our wedding.I loved the Fireflies song by Faith Hill and everything it triggered about my fairytale dreams now coming true. I asked his sister to sing it at the end of our wedding ceremony for us to walk out on. He still makes fun of it, but it happened anyway. Someone gave us the advice to end everyday in prayer, and we did consistently for the first few years of our marriage.
22. He sold his jeep.We were all kinds of poor after getting married. We couldn't afford to keep both of our cars, so we kept my sedan that had good gas mileage and sold his Jeep that he loved. I knew that he would do anything to provide for our little family.
23. He held our first baby after she was born.I was exhausted and her heart-rate needed steadied. He took her from me so I could get a break and sang the sweetest song to her that he made up on the spot.
24. He steamrolled my fears.I have an irrational fear that really showed up in my anxiety and depression shortly after our baby was born. I was sharing the ridiculousness of it with him and instead of laughing it off (because it's a really ridiculous fear), he held me and told me to imagine he was steamrolling it away. I still think of that visual when the fear comes up.
25. He changed because I cared.You're not supposed to be marry someone expecting to change them, and I didn't. But when something came up after a couple years of marriage, he respected me and changed because he cared about me.
26. We cry together.Neither of us are exactly big criers (or at least, I'm not lately). There are some big moments throughout our last 10 years together that we've felt stressed, overwhelmed, or lost and have talked and cried together. These moments were growing moments, because we were together through them, not struggling alone.
27. We laugh together.We have laughed so much together, and each laugh we share brings us closer together.
28. He comes home from recruiting trips.He travels for his job. While it can add strain to the relationship and requires extra effort, it also has given us moments that have brought us closer together. It's like the Passenger's Let Her Go song and others like it: You never hate the road until you're missing home. When he's gone, I'm missing home.
29. He switched jobs for us.When we found I was pregnant with Baby 3 we knew something would need to change in our finances. He loved his job, but still made a change for the good of our family. I knew he would still do anything to provide for our little family.
30. He encourages me toward who God created me to be.From the beginning my husband has always made me feel fully seen and fully loved. He is always encouraging me toward God's calling in my life, even when it means I don't do as much around the house or complain about aspects of it.
Love isn't one moment of sparks, but many moments of growth and togetherness. We're celebrating ten years of growth and togetherness and look forward to many more ahead!
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