Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Our Love Story: Nine Years Dating Today

      Nine years ago today, while in Northern Ireland, John and I started to officially date one another.  I've realized that this blog is a great way to chronicle stories from our life, and I thought this one was worth writing down.  I have great hopes that someday the kiddos will want to hear more about us and want to read this kind of stuff.  We shall see.
      We don't have a typical falling in love dreamy kind of story.  Sometimes I mourn that, but more often, I am grateful that God knows better than I do what kind of story he wants to write in our lives.

Here goes.

      We probably met sometime in the fall of 2000, though neither of us would be able to recall when.  As students at a small Christian college, our awareness of one another on campus was almost inevitable.  Most people knew most people, so we knew of one another.  John actively disliked me for a  while, and I don't actually blame him for this.  One of my friends and I wrote a column for a school publication called "The Toilet Paper" that was actually hung in every bathroom on campus.  Yes, we were that cool.  Our column was called "Rudimentary Romance," and we basically used it as a vehicle to espouse our views that the guys at our school should be more interested in dating and less interested in rock climbing, or something brilliant like that.  We also answered "readers" questions that we solicited from our friends.  I wish I had some copies of those writings because I am sure the entertainment factor would be extremely high with hindsight.
      Needless to say, John thought I was annoying.  Which was accurate.  Sometimes it is still accurate.  We also had the same major, so we had classes together occasionally.  Unfortunately, I was also annoying in class.  I was that girl that attended class 50% of the time if that was what was required to pass, and I managed to still earn high marks, much to the displeasure of someone like John who has always been hard-working and responsible.  Someone as flighty as me would not draw his attention in a positive way.
      We both dated other people in college, though nobody real seriously.  Between my sophomore and junior year, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  9/11 came a few months later, and I was, quite frankly, a mess.  I was also very involved in student ministries at the time, and John was as well.  In fact, John was Mr. Super Involved.  He was "that guy" on campus.  The one that everyone knew and liked.  (come to think of it, he is still "that guy."  how did I get so lucky?)  He was in charge of a children's ministry in a very poor neighboring town.  Very swoon-worthy.  By the spring of my junior year, I had a huge crush on this guy that I was sort of friends with.  He had no inkling and certainly no thoughts of reciprocation.
      What I didn't know is that things were hard in John's world, too.  His parents were going through a separation (they have since reconciled, by God's grace, and are an amazing example of clinging to God and your marriage vows), and he was stressed by the amount of responsibility that he had taken on top of being a student.  We were both sort of a wreck.  Perfect time to become friends, which we did.  
      During my senior year (John's junior year, since he is a year behind me.  I am a cradle robber.), we had a ton of classes together, since we were both completing out our major work.  We started to become real friends.  We would stay up late doing homework together.  Annotated bibliographies are so romantic.  We would commiserate on the harsh realities of our current situations.  We would laugh and get ice cream from Wal-Mart at 2 a.m.  By that spring, most people at our school would regularly assume that we were dating.  Which was not true.
      We did do crazy things like go cliff-jumping in February.  It was really cold.

Us Night Swimming

We did a double date with some of our best friends, hoping that they would start dating.  This was "Future Career Night."  Steph and Brian are married now, and she is actually a doctor per the plan.  Since my plan at that time was to be a Princess at Disney World (how super realistic of me), that is how John and I are dressed.  Some times life doesn't work out as we plan.

Us Date Night

We basically hung out all the time together.  Which was super fun, though it did get rather annoying to continue to tell people that we were not dating.

Us Graduation

Eventually we addressed the obvious; we were "in Like" with one another.  By April, there was a bit of passionate hand holding, but we knew it wasn't the time to try to figure things out between us.  You see, my dad was dying.  John came home with me on the last Easter weekend I spent with my father and got to meet him, which is something I will forever cherish.  When I got the call to come home for the last time, there was no real question.  John came with me and was there with our family on the morning that my dad went to heaven.
      It is a bit surreal to think about even now.  How my best friend/future husband got to be there at the worst time in my life.  He saw the ugly.  He walked with me through it, graciously.  I graduated from college later that week, and he was there for all of that, too.  Amazing.

Well, this story has gotten a bit long-winded, so I am going to break it up and tell the rest tomorrow!

(Click HERE to read the rest!)


Stefanie said...

Man, reading this takes me right back to sitting in the SMLT office and watching Homestar Runner :) Love that I got to watch this relationship develop and love even more that God has let me watch His continued faithfulness in your lives. Love you, Spensts! (cue, Friends are Friends Forever or some such cheese...)

Hannah said...

I think I would have guessed camel jockey for John, ahead of Disney princess.

I was in Ireland 10 years ago just now, just missed your official beginnings, but I guess I got in on the maturing relationship during the SCLE years...