|(Yes, these are our hands, my bridal bouquet, and my veil.)|
At the time we got married, it was kind of a "thing" to have your invitations say, "Today I marry my friend." I found that ridiculously cliche and sappy, and refused to get invites that said that. Instead I got invites with a fairy tale castle and a carriage and horses. It said something about "Dreams do come true."
But the truth is, I did marry my best friend that day. A God-given best friend, guide, shield, provider. A person who understands that he will never truly understand me, and I will never truly understand him, but that's okay. A man who takes care of me, but knows I need to stand on my own two feet sometimes. Who supports my creative endeavors, even when they make no sense to him. Who watches movies with me just because I enjoy them. Who still finds me attractive even though I've gained 5 pounds per kid over what I weighed when we got married. Who does not feel in the least bit challenged by the fact that I am so fond of so many fictional men, because he knows none of them mean anything true and real to me. Not like he does.
|(We got married at my home church in North Carolina.)|
A while ago, I posted a little about how we met, and so many of my lovely blogging friends wanted to know more that I thought I would elaborate a little.
My sophomore year of college I took a full year of German to fulfill my foreign language requirement to get my BA. I chose German mostly because I wanted to understand the Krauts on Combat! a little better, because all they ever speak is German with no subtitles (except one episode). And Cowboy, a lowly freshman, also took that class. He sat at a different table, and he was, in a word, insufferable. You see, he'd previously learned a foreign language, and once you've figured out how to learn one, you pick the other up pretty quickly. Also, he's very intelligent. Now, I'm intelligent myself, and a good student, but I'd only learned a smattering of French before. To learn German, I had to study my vocabulary and grammar assignments for hours every night. I worked harder for that class than any other I took in all of college. I regularly took my brain out of my head to let it air out a little, then coated it in melted German and crammed it back in, hoping something would stick. At least, that's how it felt.
Cowboy? Cowboy looked over the vocab list as he walked to class in the morning. And he got 'A's on his quizzes the same as I did. And he was not reticent about this fact. In fact, I found him conceited, arrogant, opinionated, and utterly annoying.
If you think that sounds an awful lot like how Anne Shirley felt about Gilbert Blythe, or how Elizabeth Bennet felt about Mr. Darcy, or how Margaret Hale felt about Mr. Thornton, etc. (or, as they write in German, usw.), you're not wrong. In fact, as a teen, I harbored a secret dread that I would one day fall in love with a man I originally found completely horrible. I used to look at the guys I knew and think, "I can't stand this one or that one -- what if I end up married to one of them? How could I ever change my mind about such an irritating person?"
Turns out, minds can change. Cowboy was friends with some of my friends, so we ended up eating at the same table in the cafeteria sometimes. The spring semester, we wound up in the same Christian Doctrine class together, in addition to German. I couldn't help noticing that he had wonderful broad shoulders. And dimples when he grinned. I'm perilously fond of broad shoulders and dimples.
I went to the dorm room of some mutual friends one winter evening and asked, as casually as I could, if any of them knew if Cowboy had a girlfriend back home or anything. One of them said yes, she thought he did. (I later found out that she was herself angling for his affections. Cowboy, being even more clueless than most boys, had no idea at all either of us were remotely interested in him.) I decided that was the end of that, and decided to forget about him. Plenty of other eligible guys in our... okay, actually, there were only two other guys at our tiny 450-student college that year that I was remotely interested in, and they most definitely had girlfriends right there at college.
Whatever. He probably had a girlfriend back home. And after all, he was annoying. Sure, he kept sitting by me in chapel a day or two a week. Sure, he teased me endlessly by singing "The Bunny Song" from Veggie Tales because he knew it got stuck in my head and annoyed me. (WHAT is wrong with boys?!?!?!?!?!) Whatever.
This is where the divine intervention comes in. God must have seen that I was about to turn my back on a guy who would make me happy for the rest of my life, if I could just get over my mixture of shyness and annoyance. Cowboy was on the debate team, and he had to go away to a debate tournament and miss several days of classes. He asked if he could borrow my lecture notes for our Christian Doctrine class. He sat near me, he knew I took good notes.
So I let him borrow them when he got back. And, in an impulsive gesture that is utterly unlike my usual cautious, plan-prone, reticent self, I wrote in the margins, "If you like me, why don't you ask me out already?"
And after I handed the notes to him, I wanted to go throw up in the bathroom. Or ask for them back quick, saying I'd given him the wrong ones. Or something. Dreadful impulse! Why did I do that? (Insert other self-recriminations of stupidity here.)
The next day in class, he handed the notes back to me and said, "So, there was something really interesting written in the margins of one of these."
I crawled under a desk and put my back pack over my head and sang, "Zippedy-Doo-Dah" very softly until they came and locked me up in an insane asylum.
Okay, no, that's just what I wanted to do. Actually, I said something very cool and calm like, "Oh, really?"
And he said, "Yeah. Are you going to Spring Formal with anyone?" (That's a formal dance our college had at the end of every year because who doesn't like dressing up and dancing?)
I said, "No, I'm not."
He said, "Now you are." And walked off.
In hindsight, wow, really? That's how he asked me out? I think some of my initial impressions were not all that off-base. However! At the time, I walked in a sort of daze to my next class. And went to Spring Formal with him a couple months later, and we exchanged long emails all summer long, and dated all fall and winter, and the next spring, he proposed. A year after that, we got married.
|(We were somewhat infamous at college for our unabashed displays of affection.)|
So! Happy anniversary, dear Cowboy. I love you! (Merry Christmas!) (Nuts!)