2 months. 60 days. Under 9 weeks until the day that I’ve been dreaming of for as long as I can remember!
I’m all about dates and countdowns, so I thought it so special that my dress fitting was exactly two months before the big day! I grabbed my shoes and veil to make sure I was ready for anything they needed. When I got into the fitting room and unzipped the garment bag, my mom’s dress from 1996 was staring back at me. I felt sheepish as I told the alterations lady that I’d accidentally grabbed her dress instead of mine. That’s when I realized that though they were both from David’s Bridal, my garment bag was white, not bright pink.
Needless to say, I’m pretty accident prone, which was painfully clear to myself right from the beginning of my relationship with my soon-to-be-husband, Owen.
How It All Started
I remember meeting Owen when I visited a Cornerstone University worship class as I considered transferring to this new school. He seemed solid and had some really deep things to say, but I didn’t think anymore about it.
The next fall, Owen had already graduated, but I saw him around campus as he ran audio for some music events. I went on a fall retreat that year, which Owen’s parents attended as Cornerstone University staff members. Little did I know that they went home and told their son that he needed to get to know this new transfer student.
As Owen tells the story, he tried to find ways to interact with me at various events, but I was completely oblivious. He finally decided to send me a message on Facebook Messenger in which he kindly said that he had enjoyed getting to know me a little bit over the fall and would love to get coffee.
To which I responded with what I hoped was a gracious “no” (which actually came after hours of agonizing over how to kindly turn down such a nice guy!)
I felt sick afterward. Something inside me knew I had made a mistake – it felt like a magnified version of one of my many accidents, though this time I brought it on myself. I knew I couldn’t change my mind – he couldn’t possibly ever want to go out with me after I turned him down, right?
Over the next couple of months I interacted with Owen several times. I remember being struck by how kind he was to me and intentional in making conversation with me. I didn’t sense any ulterior motives – I felt valued as an individual and not just as a prospect for a future wife.
I kept coming back to this, but was convinced that he wouldn’t want to get coffee with me anymore. Finally, after months of debating and talking it over with my family, I decided to message him and see if he would still like to get coffee. My message to him was fraught with errors and autocorrections (oops!), but even more significant than that, my message came right as the world was shutting down in 2020. This felt like an accident, a mistake on my part for waiting so long. But it turns out that this was part of God’s beautiful design for our relationship as we began getting to know one another during the lockdown in March.
We went on several dates before we became “official.” I really liked him and felt like we had a lot in common, but I was nervous to begin a relationship. How would I know if I was ready? On our third date it became a little more clear.
It was supposed to rain that day, but we had to be outside because everything was shut down. So Owen decided to drive an hour to get to the beach in Muskegon, since the weather was supposed to be better there. Long story short, the date consisted of ordering food that was an hour away in Grand Rapids, hopping fences, freezing as the wind and sand whipped our faces, and having sand blown into our food. I thought it was all funny, but felt a little bad for him as I knew he was trying so hard! The best moment, though, was when he beached his little Volkswagen Golf in the sand and couldn’t for the life of him get it out of the sand bank. We ended up being towed out by another truck.
I was having a hard time stopping myself from giggling as I watched him floundering, especially since I knew that he despised sand!
As we drove away he told me, “Well my family says, ‘If it’s funny later, it’s funny now.’” So we laughed together on the way home.
And that’s when I knew I wanted to date this guy.
I knew I could have fun with him and that he would laugh with me and my accident prone self. I also knew from observing him over the previous months that he had a depth of character and a deep love for God and for others.
We started officially dating shortly after that.
Deepening our Relationship
At first it felt like a mistake that we started dating right at the beginning of the lockdown in the US. Then we realized that we were able to spend a lot of time together and with both of our families early on in our relationship. Our summer months were blissful as we relished the time with one another and with our families.
We were engaged on our six month anniversary at my favorite spot on the beach. It rained on that day, and it was freezing cold. But it seemed to fit the theme of our relationship: things not going quite to plan.
Since our engagement, we’ve been learning what it means to be deeply known by another person. We’ve been learning how to pursue God and how to encourage one another toward that end. We’ve been learning how to make big life decisions together (like purchasing a home!) We’ve been learning how to enter into one another’s families. We’ve been learning how to best support one another in our busiest seasons. We’ve been learning to trace God’s faithfulness in the hard moments and in the fun ones.
As I reflect on the relationship I have with Owen, I feel humbled that God chose to bless me with someone when I least expected it, someone who spurs me on to love God more deeply, but also laughs with me throughout life, accidents and all.