Like really and truly.
Here's our story:
Back in August 2004 I stepped into my very first college dorm room. I had arrived. Bluffton University was my new home. Excited (nervous, terrified, scared, apprehensive, afraid...) I navigated the first day of orientation weekend with a deep desire to make this new adventure everything I had dreamt it to be.
During this orientation my dorm "floor" was paired up with a "brother" floor from another building. We were paired up for ice breaker activities, general rules and regulations, and simply to get to know some people on campus. In this group of people (on the first day of college) I met my female best friend, Carrie and my future husband and best friend, Matt. I will forever be thankful for 1st floor Ropp and 3rd floor Neufeld---turned out Bluffton University was about to be our matchmaker.
For one of the ice breaker activities we were told to find someone in the room we had not met yet. We were told to learn about that person in a short amount of time and report back to the entire group. I spotted Matt sitting in the back corner of the room. He sat there looking quite pathetic--which intrigued me :). I proceeded to tell Matt that he had no choice but to be my partner for this activity. There were no objections.
I started by asking why he looked so sad, as if this was the absolute last place he wanted to be-- Turns out it kind of was... on the walk over from his dorm he was stung by a bee in the ear. Ouch! I guess I would have been grumpy too. I also learned he was missing his girlfriend (figured), he was from Pittsburgh and he was a Vocal Performance/Youth Ministry major. I'm pretty sure at this point I took mental note that he was (unfortunately) taken.
The friendship had started, right then and there in the "pit" of Ropp Hall. We were left with the same "brother floor" for the rest of the orientation weekend allowing some real and lasting friendships to develop. And praise the Lord for that.
Over the next few years Matt and I became really great friends. We were in the same core group of friends. We did everything together and over time we started to talk to each other as if we were the same gender (weird right?). There was no filtering conversations, there was no detail or secret left to be known. We were really and truly best friends.
Here we are as college freshman--probably the first month of school. Look at those baby faces.
This was not the first time I met Matt, but this was taken in the Ropp Hall Pit. Where we first met.
Winter Jam concert with some other friends.
Matt and some of our other friends were in an Air Band Competition. I was there to support!
Becoming best friends.
We even went to a formal dance together--just as friends. (We dressed ridiculously on purpose. In case you were wondering.) :)
We looked good!
Bacchus and Gamma National Conference- still just best friends
We went as dates to a wedding-- yet we still weren't dating.
Around the end of our Junior spring semester Matt was finally single, and made it known that he was having feelings for me stronger than just the best friends that we were. By this time in my college career I was over Matt. I had moved on from those early crush days, and never thought of Matt as much more than my greatest male friend. But Matt pursued. He pursued a lot... and hard and often. But I stuck my ground--said "No." time and time again and tried to explain to him that dating your best friend was a terrible idea. "What if we break up? We are at risk of loosing an awesome friendship". I just didn't think it was a good idea and I surely didn't think it was something God intended.
During my Senior fall semester I decided to take my studies to Pittsburgh, PA (ironic right? Matt's hometown). I was participating in a program called the Pittsburgh Semester. We were there to study the economic struggles and injustices of the inner city. But there I was living in Matt's hometown while he attended school back at Bluffton. During this time I really started to learn a lot about myself. I was preparing for the conclusion of my Senior year, I was thinking about the future, a career... where I was going to be living come May. But guess what Matt was thinking about? How to get me to go out on a date with him.
He arranged a trip home to Pittsburgh over a weekend that I was free of responsibilities and convinced me to commit to a harmless evening at his favorite restaurant. I agreed. We had a great evening, enjoyed each others' company and the chance to catch up. But I'm not sure I allowed this date to really be a date. I was still hung up on the fact that he was indeed my best friend--and not dating material. But let me tell you... does this guy know how to date. He arrived at my house with Starbucks coffee, a rose and movie I had been dying to watch. What a good guy. But there I was... still too stubborn.
I arrived back to Bluffton University for my last spring semester and to finish out my amazing college experience. Matt was still there... pursing me. I continued to do my own thing. As politely as possible I refused Matt's offers time after time. Finally he was frustrated, tired and plan old discouraged. So what did he do? He gave me up for Lent. Yep, he gave up pursuing me. He stopped texting me, overly hanging out with me... everything. It was gone.
And guess what happened to me? I missed it. I missed him. I missed everything about him.
So after some real self soul searching I had a chat with Matt--I confessed how confused and sad I felt without him around me constantly--there was an apparent void.
He offered one more date.
I said "Yes."
And as they say...the rest is history.
This is the "Yayyy! We are finally dating!" picture
On one of our first dates
A visit home to my parents. Happy as could be.
On our last date before I moved to Maine for the summer
And a picture of us from our second year of marriage. So happy I said "Yes!"
In looking back at our love story I can not be more thankful for the way God presented my husband to me. It turns out marrying your best friend is a great idea. I knew everything I needed to know about him (and stuff I probably wish I didn't) even before our first date. I knew his baggage... and he knew mine.
I also believe that God laid some strong feelings on Matt's heart for me-- Matt never stopped pursuing. It took him some serious patience to stay so steadfast in his pursuit. I am so thankful for Matt's patience. So so thankful. We would not be 'us' if it wasn't for his determination to make me his wife.
Boy am I a lucky gal.