1. In 2009, about six months before we met, we both ended serious relationships that we thought were heading toward marriage. This was a spiritual turning point for both of us, and – looking back on it – God’s way of preparing us for each other by performing major heart surgery.
2. We met on August 2nd, 2009, at a housewarming party that neither of us should have even been at for very long. I had just finished working at Falls Creek all summer and was headed back to my hometown for a few weeks before my sophomore year of college started, and Daniel had a movie night planned with other friends and was only supposed to stop by for few minutes. That party was my first visit to Durant, and even though I had a lot of fun, as I drove out of town the next day, I thought, I’ll probably never see any of those people again.
3. A day or two later, he friended me on Facebook, and I sent him a message about something funny that happened at the party. Most casual Facebook conversations end pretty quickly, because one or both of you have nothing else to say, but we just never ran out of things to talk about. We wrote back and forth constantly for the next week, and he subtly (and then not-so-subtly) hinted at wanting my phone number three times before I finally gave it to him.
4. What really sealed the deal as far as me deciding I liked him was the fact that he mailed me his favorite devotional book when I told him I struggled with reading my bible consistently. He wrote a note in it and everything. And he even held me accountable to reading it! I would call him, and he would say “Have you had your bible study today?” If I said no, he would tell me to hang up, go spend time with the Lord, and call him back after.
5. One of my favorite things we did when we were getting to know each other was send lists of numbered questions and answers via Facebook message, both silly and serious. Everything from “Do you scream on roller coasters?” and “What’s your favorite midnight snack?” to “What are some goals or habits you would like to have in your relationship with God?” and “What do you need most to fight Satan on what you’re struggling with right now?”
6. Our entire dating relationship and engagement were 100% long-distance. We lived about 2½ hours apart, and until we got married, the longest length of time that we had seen each other was 9 days in a row. I also didn’t have texting until my last semester of college, so pretty much all of our conversations happened over the phone. Yeah, I know, we actually TALKED to each other…*wink*. Daniel still jokes about how long our phone calls used to be, and how that proves how much he liked me because he hates talking on the phone, but I honestly love this about our dating relationship.
7. Most of our dates happened in Ada, Oklahoma, because it was halfway between the towns we lived in. Those dinners and movie nights were affectionately dubbed “Ada dates”.
8. Daniel took me to one jewelry shop to find out what I liked, and although I had spent years thinking I wanted a solitaire princess cut, I put one on my finger and hated it. I couldn’t stop staring at a round halo ring that the jeweler had me try on, but I knew that whatever Daniel picked out, I would be happy. He ended up custom-designing a one-of-a-kind ring with the help of a local jewelry store where we currently live (white gold, round halo, plain band) and it still takes my breath away.
9. In the spring of 2011, we went on a really meaningful picnic date in Wintersmith Park. Later that year, in July, Daniel proposed at sunset in the same spot, on the same blanket, with the same picnic basket. Nobody secretly took our pictures, there wasn’t a surprise engagement party after, and I don’t even remember most of what he said, to be honest. But it was incredibly sweet, special, and personal. And I was 100% surprised, which was all I really wanted out of a proposal!
10. In the span of about six months, I graduated from college, we got married, I moved to Durant, we became members of Lakepoint Community Church, I got my first adult job, we became leaders at the local Baptist Collegiate Ministry (BCM), and we renovated and moved into our first home. 2012 was a whirlwind, y’all.
11. Our newly-married season was spent hosting friends at our house for tons of game nights, helping develop the bible studies at the BCM, and surviving Daniel studying for (and passing!!) the CPA exams.
12. Two major milestones happened around the same time during Christmas of 2015 – we moved into our second gorgeous home and got our German shepherd, Fitz!
13. A few years into marriage, our church went through a really dark season, and we started slowly pulling back from the BCM in order to invest more heavily at Lakepoint, which was a super-hard-but-necessary change. But God rewarded our faithfulness and obedience a few years later in the form of an amazing friendship with our current pastor and his wife, and our dearly-loved community groups. Aka, some of my favorite people on earth. Leading our foundation group was so instrumental in the deepening of our marriage.
14. Over the years, we’ve tackled some really hard things together in our own relationship and walked alongside lots of struggling friends and family members through all kinds of things: death of loved ones, difficult jobs, betrayal, family drama, addictions, loss of friendships, eating disorders, divorce, gender transition, chronic illnesses, suicide attempts, infertility, pregnancy loss, and a wide variety of struggles within marriage, like polar opposite communication styles, male/female differences, and just plain old selfishness. Glory to God that He has equipped us to do it all without giving up or running away from the Lord or each other.
15. We have been in each other’s lives for 10 whole years, as of today, and I can say with total confidence that they have been the best 10 years of my life. ♥