“You could marry him someday.” Those words flashed through my mind completely unexpected and unbidden as I sat taking notes during a college class. I was in the first semester of my senior year and happened to be seated next to a freshman named Shawn, who I only knew on an acquaintance level. He had just leaned over and asked me how to spell a word (I wish I remembered what) that I thought any college freshman should have been able to spell. The shocking phrase passed through my head even as I was laughing inside at his poor spelling skills. He seemed like a nice guy, but he was younger than me and not on my screen as a potential match. Besides, I had already experienced two painful break-ups during my college years, and I was just trying to focus on finishing school and starting the next phase of my life, whatever that was to be. Wondering where in the world such a strange thought had come from, I dismissed it from my mind and tried to turn my attention back to the class lecture.
A few days later Shawn and I both stayed behind after class to ask the professor a question. In the process we struck up a friendly conversation that continued as we left the classroom and headed toward the cafeteria. I was amazed at how naturally our conversation flowed. We were able to talk as easily as if we had known each other for a long time. Over the next few weeks, it seemed as though we were running into each other all over campus. Granted, we were attending a small Christian university, but this was happening all the time. Conversation continued to come easily, and soon our “chance” encounters became “planned” encounters.
Our first date came soon after, though we were still technically just in a “friendship phase.” The campus held an event that year called “Create-a-Date” in which two couples would team up with $10 and three hours in a contest to see who could come up with the most creative outing. Afterwards everyone met back at the campus to share their stories and awards were given. We paired up with another couple with a budding romance and planned our evening. We started at a local dollar store to pick up some water balloons, a plastic bat, paper and water-color paints. We then headed to the grocery store to pick up some cookie dough. Back on campus the other couple got busy baking cookies while Shawn and I made water-color thank you cards for the local police department. With cookies fresh out of the oven and our original art we headed down to the police station. They were not quite sure what to make of us, but they enjoyed the cookies, and one easy-going officer hand-cuffed Shawn and me together while posing for the camera.
Next we headed downtown and played water-balloon baseball, ensuring that we each got a soaking! With one dollar to spare and another hour on our hands, we headed to McDonalds and ordered a hot-fudge Sunday, which we all shared. We played in the play yard and finished our evening by painting water-color portraits of our dates under the glow of the golden arches. We didn’t win any of the awards, but we had a great time and made some lasting memories!
It wasn’t long before the “friendship phase” officially transitioned into an exclusive dating relationship that lasted for the next two years. Then, on December 18, 2005 I walked down the aisle and married my best friend in the whole world. To make the day even more magical, we had chosen to save our very first kiss for the altar. We knew we didn’t have to, but we wanted to, and I would never go back and change that wonderful moment! After the pastor told Shawn “You may kiss your bride,” and our lips finally joined, my new husband unknowingly did a hop of joy, and the pastor encouraged him that he better kiss me again!
At the time of this writing we are in our 8th year of marriage, and we have two beautiful children. I am more in love with Shawn now than ever, and I feel so very privileged to spend the rest of my life with my best friend, an amazing man, husband and father. I’m so glad that “You could marry him someday” went from a strange possibility to a beautiful reality!