This is the story of how Joshua and I met (spoiler alert: we get married at the end).
The first time Josh saw me (that he remembers) was at the institute of religion building located just off the campus of the college we were both attending. I had promised to bring refreshments for the class I had been meaning to attend, but I was called in last minute to babysit for the family I was working for. I decided to keep my promise, so I grabbed some donuts and took the two small children with me to drop the food off. That’s when Josh saw me. He thought I was super cute, but he was disappointed because he thought I was already married with children. Also, he had a girlfriend.
I didn’t really take too much notice of Josh at first. Mostly because he was already spoken for. And so was I… but I try to forget that. I did attend his baptism, though, which I’m very glad about now. I noticed that he was super hipster, kind of goofy, and very quiet. I don’t think I ever really spoke to him until just before we started dating. I guess I was a little curious about him, but I never envisioned dating him. He seemed to go so perfectly with the girl he was with.
(I actually just remembered while writing this that after Josh’s baptism I went home and broke up with the guy I was dating. It was because of the baptism and seeing Josh join the church, not just for the girl he was dating, but because you could tell he really believed. I saw him as an example of the kind of man I would want to be with. It’s amazing how life works like that sometimes.)
Maybe about 7 or 8 months later, I had returned from my summer adventure in Japan and I had vowed not to seriously date during the next semester. I felt like I needed to focus on myself and to become the best version of me. It was my senior year and I was graduating early, so that semester was my last. I planned to finish school in December and move to Utah as soon as I had a job (because I did want to get married and I figured Utah would be the place for that… it’s a dumb reason, but whatever). Josh and his girlfriend had kind of broken up, but it was a complicated situation. She thought he and I would get along and suggested we go out sometime. It was an awkward conversation, so neither of us really jumped at the opportunity. They continued spending time together and sitting with each other at church so I just assumed they were really still together. I went to Utah for a visit and school started shortly after I got back.
My best friend and I decided that we wanted to join the Swing Dancing club that year. We started going to the dances, sometimes with friends. At one of the dances, there was a group of people from our singles branch who had come on a whim. Josh was there (as was his not girlfriend girlfriend). He and I talked for probably the first real time and we ended up dancing like weirdos together. It was kind of awesome and I was able to see a side of him that I hadn’t before. That partnered Bernie was the beginning of it all. Later that night when Josh was riding his bike home, he had an impression that he should marry me. But in true Joshua fashion, he was pretty slow to make a move. He did kind of invite me to his house one night when he was feeding the sister missionaries, but there was another guy and another girl there, so I didn’t read into it too much.
After our swing dancing experience and the less-than-intimate missionary dinner, we started talking almost daily at the institute. Every time I went to the institute between classes I would hope he would be there, and I would be disappointed if he wasn’t. I don’t think either of us were catching the signs that we might actually like each other. My best friend could see it though, and while she and I were camping one weekend with her family, she tried to talk me into dating him. I didn’t hate the idea, but I was too unsure to go for it.
I tried not to dwell too much on Josh, though, because I remembered my “no serious dating this semester” rule. If we dated I would be breaking that rule. I also had a “no dating anyone more than a month younger” rule. If we dated, I’d be breaking that rule, too.
As luck would have it, he was asked to be a fill-in for one of my home teachers who wasn’t able to make it that month. It was like the universe was just throwing us together. There was one moment while he was at my house, though, that made me question my no dating decision. I don’t think the other home teacher or my roommate was even aware of what was going on, but something so funny was happening and Josh and I were just cracking up. We could not stop laughing. We were totally on the same wavelength and it was awesome. Later that night we were texting and I ended up inviting him to my house for dinner sometime.
I want to add that at the time, I’m sure it looked like I was trying to steal another girl’s boyfriend. Especially since I had been friends with Josh’s ex and kind of knew some background on what had gone on with them. I never expected to date him. I just wanted Josh to have a friend in the church. The guy I had dated before Josh had also joined the church. However, he just joined for me and would use that against me when we would break up. He would tell me that he didn’t have any friends at church and if I wasn’t going to be there for him, then he would just stop coming. I didn’t want that to happen to Josh. I didn’t want him to leave because he felt like he didn’t belong. I was definitely developing a crush on him, but I was so unsure of where he was emotionally that I was mostly focused on just fellowshipping. What better way to fellowship than with a home-cooked meal?
After that first night, though, I couldn’t get rid of him. He came back the following day, and the next and the next. We would stay up until two o’clock in the morning just talking, laughing, and watching movies. Seriously. No funny business. After weeks of no physical contact and countless homemade milkshakes, I figured that we were just going to be friends and that was ok. I had no idea where Josh stood on the matter of dating and I didn’t want to push it.
After those few weeks of “friend dating”, I invited him to go rock climbing with my two stepbrothers, my stepbrother’s girlfriend, and me. After showing off my climbing skills, we all went back to my apartment to play games and hang out. I sat on the floor next to Josh’s leg (he was in a chair) and I think I put my hand and my head on his knee at different times throughout the night. He didn’t stop me, so I figured I wasn’t being too forward (remember, no physical contact before). I guess that kickstarted him into relationship mode.
(My favorite of our first pictures together)
A couple nights after our climbing “date” we were sitting on the back porch of my apartment, on a blanket, with a candle. I tried to make it a vaguely romantic setting. It was a little chilly, so I kept scooting closer to him… you know, for warmth. It took long enough, but he finally made his move. We had our first kiss. Immediately after he looked at me and said, “Ew” (like the Jimmy Fallon skit). I think we were both mortified, but we just laughed it off. Good thing I already knew he was the most awkward human being on the planet. The day after our first kiss he told me he loved me and we officially started dating. It was certainly an unorthodox start, but we got there eventually.
When Josh told me that he loved me, I didn’t say it back. It wasn’t because I didn’t feel it, but I had some concerns I needed to talk to him about first. I had been in love with my previous boyfriend, and he had told me that he loved me too, but he had just used those feelings to manipulate me. I was really afraid that Josh was going to do the same. The next night we had a long talk about both of our prior relationships and how they affected us. I think we understood each other a little better after that, and Josh guaranteed me that his intentions were good. So I told him I loved him, too. After that, our relationship took off at 1000 miles per hour.
About a month after we officially started dating, we got engaged. We took a spontaneous trip to our favorite park the night before Halloween and Josh proposed to me at the top of the slides, before we raced down (I won). It wasn’t a perfect, beautiful, planned out proposal, but it was still special and very exciting.
(The night he proposed. Who are those adorable children?)
We started planning our wedding for the summer, so we could get an apartment together without worrying about our current leases. The more time we spent together the more we realized that we didn’t want to wait until the summertime. We started planning for a spring break wedding so we could have a nice honeymoon, since Josh was still in school. We didn’t even want to wait that long, though, so we picked January 4, 2014 (1/4/14) as our wedding date. It was a pretty special day, especially for me. January 4 was my dad’s birthday, but he had passed away when I was 19, so he never had the chance to meet Josh or see me get married. It seemed like a sweet way to honor him even though he wasn’t there. We scrambled to get everything done and were married in the Chicago, Illinois temple with a reception later in the evening.
(The very newlyweds)
Our marriage hasn’t always been easy. Sometimes I think that maybe we should have listened to everyone who told us we might want to chill out and slow down for a second. We are not those same silly kids we were, and I don’t think we took enough time to really understand what it would take to build a family. I thought that since we never really fought that it meant we were just good at resolving issues, but really it meant that we were terrible at communicating our issues. Oh the things you learn through experience. But I’m glad our relationship moved as quickly as it did, because neither of us had time to overthink things or back out. And now that we are married, we have to put that effort in. We are forced to focus on making our marriage so solid and unshakeable, because we don’t know what life is going to throw at us next.
So far we have had about three and a half years of growth together, and this is only the beginning. But how amazing is it that we were able to take four months of dating and turn it into an eternity of togetherness?