Friday, May 20, 2011

The Story, The Whole Story, and Nothing But The Story




Steve and I are celebrating seven years of marriage this Sunday...

Seven wonderful, action-packed years!

Here we are on our wedding day, sitting on the very bench where he proposed to me, outside of the Washington, DC Temple.  I like to say that Heavenly Father had to move heaven and earth to get the two of us together, and that isn't too far from the truth. 

Steve and I were both in the same singles ward in 2003 - The Langley Ward.  I had recently moved to DC and was still untangling myself from emotions left over from a previous relationship when I first met Steve.  I remember sitting in my car, listening to some music, before getting up the nerve to enter a bowling alley where our ward was having FHE that evening.  I was mulling over the huge waste of time the last two years of my life had been...dating someone who I neither liked, nor wanted to be married to.  But now I was in a different place, back in DC among many of the friends I had loved so much the first time I lived there a few years earlier.  As I gave myself a little pep talk to get ready to "mingle" with the singles, the thought entered my mind, "Who knows?  I could meet my future husband tonight."  Then I gave myself a mental lashing for even thinking something so ridiculous and cliche and I joined the party.  Later that evening, I did in fact meet Steve.

He didn't make a huge impression on me that night, because I observed him laughing at jokes made by a girl who openly admitted to having had a boob job.  Sorry Steve, but I'm just being real here.  He was just another guy to me, one of a thousand or so who ran in the LDS singles scene in DC.

That is why when we ended up on a date together one evening a few months later, I didn't even remember him by name.  "Steve Christensen," my date Clark told me, "You know him!"  I insisted that I did not know a Steve Christensen.  Clark was my home teacher.  He liked me.  He was an extremely nice guy, very righteous, very stalwart.  I wasn't interested in him, but I went out with him anyway when he asked.  I didn't have a reason to say no, really.  We went on a double-date:  Clark and I were joined by Clark's good buddy Steve and Steve's girlfriend.

When I got in the car that evening, Steve and his girlfriend were in the back seat.  It was dark, so I still could not see who this Steve person was who I supposedly knew.  And then he spoke.  At this point, I still couldn't see his face, but his voice was like some magic combination of chords that made my heart and mind feel alive!  It wasn't necessarily a love reverberation, but it was something--some kind of connection.  It was like he spoke on a frequency that no one in the world had ever spoken to me on before!  I didn't even know what his face looked like, but his voice made me hungry to hear more.  Every word that he spoke was so intelligent and insightful.  He was funny without being silly, personable, but genuine.  More than anything, I wanted him to say more...

When we got out of the car, I realized that I truly had met Steve before, but this time, I had gotten to know him better.  He was a nice guy...an interesting person...with a great voice...and a "steady" girlfriend.  Lucky them, I thought.

Months passed, and Steve and I were thrown together again, this time because of our church callings.  Brother Haraguchi was the counselor in the bishopric who called us both to serve as co-chairs of the activities committee.  Every month we planned activities for about 400 singles in our ward.  It was a lot of fun.  By this time, Steve had broken up with his girlfriend, but I figured Steve wasn't interested in me, because he never flirted with me during our many late-night (because of my work schedule) meetings, so in my mind we were never going to be more than friends.

Just Friends - At "Mulligan Madness" a mini-golf event we planned for the singles ward.
I was working for CNN at this point, and I got off work at 11pm.  So I would go out most weekends to parties as soon as I got off work.  I enjoyed meeting lots of guys and hanging out with my girlfriends and co-workers.  I had pretty much resigned myself to a life of dating around, working, and enjoying all that DC had to offer...at least for the time being.

Then Memorial Day Weekend rolled around:  Singles in DC traditionally go to Duck Beach over Memorial Day Weekend, rent houses, and hang out at the beach.  I had decided that I would go to Duck Beach that Memorial weekend with the singles too...and then Steve asked me out.  I had to weigh the choice:  go to Duck Beach and hang out with 700 singles or go out with Steve, my co-chair on the activities committee.  Hmmmm.  (What would you choose?)  Up until this point, I thought he was not interested in me (although he had asked me out once before...I was out of town that time too.)  I waffled between the two options, and Steve, in an attempt to mask his eagerness said, "Well, if you do end up staying in town, we'll have to hang out."

I worked an earlier shift that day, because I planned on hopping in my car around 3pm and driving down to join the party at Duck Beach.  Although, admittedly, I was still waffling.

Around noon that day, my roommate Cindi called me at work.  She asked if I was sitting down.  (I thought she was going to tell me that my grandpa had died, her tone was so grave!)  She told me that a tree had fallen on my car...the very car I was going to drive to Duck Beach.

When I walked home from the Metro that day, this is what I saw outside of my apartment:

My car is underneath all of those leaves...

There's part of my car now...as you can see this tree had rotted out at the base.


At this point, workers were already sawing away the treetops so they could get my car out.

Bye-bye Windshield.

I did in fact stay in town that weekend.

And Steve and I went out not once, but three times....



Saturday, he took me to Rockford, MD to see the Spin Doctors in an outdoor concert.  (He didn't know that this was my favorite band in high school!)

Sunday evening, we attended a Memorial Day Concert of the National Symphony Orchestra in DC.  We sat on the steps of the Capitol, and he held my hand as the rain fell softly, creating a beautiful mist.  The music was amazing.  A perfect atmosphere for falling in love.

Monday, we went to Arlington National Cemetery to watch the President lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  We were held up in security and missed the wreath-laying, but as we walked the grounds, a bird brushed my face with its wing as it flew past.  I'll always remember the sensation.  I took that as a sign of good things to come.

After that week, I KNEW that Steve was someone who I could marry.  I had never been able to say that with 100% confidence with any other guy before.  Whenever I entertained the idea of marriage with other men, I'd get an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach, or I'd have a bad dream where I played out getting married to that person and things would just feel very wrong.  But not with Steve.  I always feel right with Steve.  That is how I knew that he was the one.  

He also did something that other guys didn't. He was strong enough and secure enough to show me that I was his number one choice very early on.  He held nothing back.  He was willing to make himself vulnerable to me and was always very unselfish emotionally.

One time about a week or two after we went on our first date, Steve had to attend a dinner at a girl's house.  He had made this arrangement previously.  I don't remember the details, but I remember that he called me at work to tell me that he was going to dinner at this person's house with a group of people and that he wanted me to know that it was just a friend situation.  I absolutely did not expect him to do this.  He cared about my feelings from the very start and was so considerate of me.  Other guys I met in DC at that time, were so inconsiderate.  They dated girls for sport.  They'd take you out one night and forget your name the next day at church.  It was so degrading actually.  But Steve was a real man.  He was dating with a purpose.

He proposed after 3.5 months of dating, and we were married one year after our first date.

I guess this isn't actually THE WHOLE story, but you're getting the gist of it.  Two fiercely confident and independent people brought together by the hand of the Lord.  It wasn't enough that we were put into a calling together, forced to work together...He had to drop a tree on my car for us to TAKE THE HINT.  We were meant to be together...

I like to think that our love story is unique, but maybe it's not.  I just know that I hear lots of lovely, fluttery, goo-goo-love stories, and I think our love story was much more sensible.  I had had those kissy-kissy, can't live without him love/crush experiences in the past, but none of those lead me to THE ONE...the one who gives me wings, but keeps me grounded in what's true.   The one who encourages me to follow my dreams while still being true to myself and my covenants.  The one who knows me instinctively, knows what's best for me, wants what I want, works as hard as I work.  

Steve would disagree with this next statement, but I got the sense that he really could live without me and would carry on just fine, but that he CHOSE TO BE WITH ME, and that made me love him even more.  We are equals.  We stand side-by-side.  We can like different things, have different interests, and yet neither one must bend to the other, because we are equally yoked and perfectly in step.  We are just an absolutely perfect fit.  



And three kids and two moves later, I want him now more than ever.

So thankful to the Lord for bringing us together.
So thankful for the institution of marriage.
So thankful for the beautiful children that we have made together.

So grateful for the life we have ahead of us.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, STEVE!

I love you!

27 comments:

  1. Congratulations on 7 years! We must have gotten married on the same day because our 7 year anniversary is Sunday too!

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  2. One of the best love stories, ever!

    And Happy Anniversary!!

    =)

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  3. I love a GREAT love story! Congratulations you two.

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  4. you really oughta post that video you guys made.

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  5. A CARE FELL ON YOUR CAR! Holy smokes! What a way for you to realize you needed to stay in town! :)

    Great story, I always love to read/hear about people's "getting together" stories and yours was fun to read. One more instance of the Lord knowing best, and knowing how to get you there. What a blessing that He knows us so well!

    Happy Anniversary

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  6. Well now you've gone & made me all teary eyed! That's definitely not a typical how-we-got-together story. I mean really- a tree? That's amazing. And you guys are amazing. Congrats!

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  7. I absolutely loved reading this post! I celebrated my 9th wedding anniversary on Wednesday. We were also married in the DC Temple. Your post made me think of my love story.
    Happy Anniversary! It will just keep getting better!

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  8. Happy Anniversary!! What a GREAT story!!

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  9. Thanks for sharing your story! I knew all the people and places you were talking about (our old Langley ward and Bro. Haraguchi). I had no idea that tree fell on your car over on Calvert Street. Crazy fate. :)

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  10. Aww, I love this story! Thanks for reminding me why I fell in love, too... I needed that today. :)

    Happy Anniversary!!!

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  11. great story, fun to hear it with all the details-thanks for sharing...

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  12. Thank you for sharing your absolutely beautiful story. I needed to read this.
    :)

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  13. LOVED hearing your love story. :) Even if it wasn't lots of love for most of it. hehe Glad that tree fell on your car!

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  14. Happy Anniversary! I love your story. How beautiful!

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  15. Isn't it wonderful to be married to a worthy, kind, amazing man? It's a rare treasure in this world. Thank you for posting that you are greatful for the institution of marriage. This fall is my 10 year anniversary! Yay for being married!!!

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  16. WHEN TWO PEOPLE ARE MEANT TO BE TOGETHER FOREVER NO ONE OR NOTHING CAN KEEP THEM APART.

    GOD BLESS AND MAY YOU HAVE 107 YRS. MORE TOGETHER, FULL OF GOOD HEALTH, IMMENSIVE AMOUNT OF ROMANTIC LOVE AND A TON OF HAPPINESS.

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  17. Happy anniversary! Wonderful story - thank you for sharing.

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  18. Happy Anniversary! Our story is much like yours... forced together into situations... and very sensible :) Love it.

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  19. Happy Anniversary! I love your story! And today my husband and I are celebrating our 6th anniversary! So great!

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  20. That is a great story! Happy Anniversary to you!

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  21. congrats, you guys are so young still. loved your story and pics and hand of God in your life.

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  22. I love a good love story and this one was awesome. I loved reading of the tender mercies of the Lord that brought you together.
    Thanks for a lovely post and blessings to you both!

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  23. Congrats! We just had ours too. ;o)

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  24. Becca shared this link with us over on our post about Duck Beach and we are so glad she did! What a beautiful love story. :)

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  25. Love this post! Would you like to be my romance spotlight sometime and share this post with my readers? Email me at pmwhiteley (at) gmail (dot) com if you are interested and we can talk details. 
    -Mackenzie @ www.fridaynightdatenight.blogspot.com

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