I love a good love story. I never tire of wedding pictures, engagement stories, or seeing happy couples together. If you feel the same way, grab a cup of tea and sit back, because this is a long one!
|Michael and I in July 2013|
Michael: Ever since I was a teenager, I began to notice relationships. Boy meets girl. Girl and boy "fall in love". Boy and girl break up later. Boy and girl are heart-broken. I so decided that if I was going to get married, I wanted God to pick the wife He wanted for me. He picked Allie. Our first conversation, however, did not allude to that fact. Honestly, it was just incredibly awkward. At that point, I had engaged in about as many Free Will and Predestination debates as I could stand. So when Allie asked me what my position was on the subject, I was anything but a gentleman. But I was honest... I said, “I’ve had about a dozen of these conversations, and I could tell you my beliefs on why I’m a Calvinist, but we’d be here all night, so let’s just save ourselves both the trouble, so we can be friends. Sound good?” Poor girl.
My friend Jessica told me that Michael had struggled with health problems his whole life and that we had a lot in common regarding health struggles. For the record, Michael has cerebral palsy and I have had a lot of stomach issues throughout my life, most notably a tumor in my stomach when I was a high school freshman, and an eight year battle with gastroparesis. Excited to have something in common with such a good looking man, I reached out to Michael via Facebook at the beginning of March. He wrote back a week later and so began our constant stream of Facebook messaging and texting.
That was the most awkward Facebook message I've ever received, because well, I spent a day or two trying to figure out who in the world this person was, and then our almost conversion on Calvinism flashed into my mind. Oh yeah. Her... that’s weird... So, I began to read. She was asking for help (or so I thought). And, my first thought was, “I can’t help her - she’s really weird, anyway... seriously, who does this?” I don’t know what caused me to do this, but I read it again. And when I was done reading it the second time, I could get the sense that she really was a lot like me and she needed someone to talk to. As soon as I made up my mind to help her, I got an overwhelming feeling of, “This is the one.” It wasn’t the, “A girl is paying attention to me! She likes me! I’m going to marry her!” cooky feeling, but the feeling of a decade long prayer finally being answered. And it scared the crap out of me.
Allie: After nearly a month of messaging, we (I) decided that we should get together in person. We saw each other every week at college group, but I was always too shy to say anything (which was very unlike me), and Michael wasn’t exactly the smoothest guy on the block. We set a date for April 7th, right after our college group. Michael wanted to go to Haagans (a grocery store that has a cafe and seating area), but I convinced him that we should class it up a notch by going to the five star restaurant that is Shari’s.
Michael: I had no idea that I was going to go out with Allie on our first date (I thought we were just two friend getting together), so naturally, my clothes didn’t match and I didn’t shave. I didn’t know I was about to have the most amazing conversation I’d had in my entire life.
After an awkward start, the conversation flowed.That is one of the greatest conversations I have ever had to this day. The more he talked, the more I was in awe of this wonderful man and his amazing heart. He was kind, compassionate, awkward, and funny. He had a vision for life which aligned perfectly with mine. We shared things with each other that we had never shared with another person, and it was exactly what the other needed to hear. About an hour in, I kept thinking to myself what a remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime man Michael was (and is). I realized that this was exactly the type of man I wanted to be with forever. We stayed for nearly four hours and the conversation never stopped. It was beautiful and it was perfect...until it came time for the check. Michael claims he didn’t have time to whip out his wallet, but I never even saw him reach for it. We had never specified that this was a date, so I took out my card and somehow ended up paying for both of us!
There is only one person who I’ve ever told everything about myself, both good and bad, in my life. That person was Allie. She discovered who I truly was, and, in the end was amazed instead of disgusted. It made me realize that maybe I could truly be loved by another. I came into Shari’s talking to someone who I thought was nice and a little weird, and I left Shari’s thinking that I had just met the most wonderful woman. She was very sweet, kind, and she had the best smile and most beautiful eyes. She made me believe in marriage again. And, it was because of that shock, that it took me a lot longer to get out my wallet than I should have. By then, the meal was already paid for. Oops!
As we sat while our cars defrosted (I have no idea why they both needed defrosting in April), I realized that something about that night was different. I didn’t want to spend all night/week obsessing about whether it was a date and whether it meant to him what it did to me, so I did something I have never, ever done before: I got out of my car, marched over to Michael’s car, and asked, “Was this a date?”. I’ve never seen more shock on a person’s face than the shock I saw on Michael’s that night. After a few seconds (but it seemed like a few years), he said “Yes”. “Did it go well?” I asked. “Yes” he replied. And finally, “Will there be another?” Again he said yes. Satisfied, I went back to my car and freaked out about what I had just done.
I hated my 1984 Honda Accord and this was no exception. Defrosting it took so much freaking effort. I was in the midst of this daily ritual when out of the blue I heard “Is this a date?”. I was blown away by the question, because I thought I had just met this really cute and shy girl and she morphed into a bold woman with large cojones right before my eyes! I honestly didn’t know whether the answer was yes or no, because to me, it was so much more than a date. It was a life-altering experience. So I said “It is whatever you want it to be”. She responded with: “that’s not very helpful”. I asked if she wanted a yes or no answer, and she said she did. So I said yes.
There was another date a few days later, and another one the following week. In between texts, messages, and long conversations, I realized that Michael was it for me. He was the man I wanted to be with forever. That Thursday, only a week after our first date, we started talking about the future. On a rainy and cold night, we sat in Michael’s car and both said that this was forever. We both realized that this was “it”, that we had found our other half. We weren’t in love yet, but we knew that we were going to be something special.
The moment that I realized she was the one was when she asked me to pray for us. That prayer that I had uttered to God for over a decade finally came into realization. I realized that my life and everything that I went through was so that I could be the husband God wanted me to be for Allie. That was the moment that I was in it forever.
We were inseparable. We saw each other as often as possible, and messaged/texted/skyped when we couldn’t. We would stay up until 4 in the morning talking and getting to know one another. Michael had never been in a relationship and wanted to take it slow. He thought we should be friends for a year or two first before we became official. Somewhere along the line, we realized that we were exactly like boyfriend/girlfriend without the title. On April 30, 2011, Michael finally asked me to be his girlfriend.
I had never had so much energy in my life as I had in those first weeks. It was absolutely exhilarating getting to know Allie, and the more I got to know her, the more I realized she was the woman of my dreams. It didn’t take me long to ask her to be my girlfriend.
Dating someone who I knew I was going to marry was wonderful. I didn’t have to worry about whether or not it was going to work out, and I could speak freely about the future because I knew it included Michael. I had never been happier.
It was wonderful to be with someone I could be completely honest and myself around, and it was wonderful to have that reciprocated and returned. It was even a greater joy to have God be a part of our relationship. I was a happy man!
|Our first picture together (April 21, 2011)|
Allie: Around January 2012, we decided that we were going to get married in Summer 2012 instead Summer 2013, like we had originally planned.
Michael: A few weeks beforehand, I had purchased the ring and received the blessing of Allie's mom. With that blessing came the unending excited questions from Allie about when it was going to happen. I had debated between two weekends. One later, one sooner. In talking with her best friend, Cassie, we decided that the later weekend would be better in terms of planning it out. Allie wasn't too thrilled. Through many conversations and through emails from her Maid-of-Honor, Allie found out where and when the proposal was going to be.
I couldn't help being so excited--I knew that my best friend was going to ask me to marry him!!! I also knew he had something pretty and sparkly and I had no idea what it looked like. The anticipation was killing me!
Now came the daunting task of fooling her so that it would still be a surprise. I decided that I would tell her that Cassie and I needed more time, but I still wanted to go on a date with her because I wanted to spend some quality time with her.
As soon as he said that, I exclaimed: "You're going to propose to me!!". He said no he wasn't, but I wasn't quite buying into it. Later that day, my friend Jessica threw me off the trail and planted doubts in my mind. I told Michael that I didn't want to go because my hopes would be up the whole time.
Despite her mopey protests, I insisted we go. I also insisted she be blindfolded.
When I found out the original plan, we agreed that I was being a total stinker and that I would be blindfolded in the car every time up until the proposal so I wouldn't find out again.
When we got there (to Amadeus Manor, our special place where we had our sixth month anniversary), I walked her up the hill to the restaurant, and to my surprise, Cassie was still setting everything up. Luckily, Allie wasn't wearing her glasses, so we walked right on by and into the restaurant. In order to buy some more time, we spent the next ten minutes touring the manor, until we finally went back outside.
I had a feeling it was going to happen when I saw we were at Amadeus Manor, but I still had doubts. He took me on a tour of the manor, and I kept hoping I'd find some sort of elaborate set up in a room. But with each empty room, my heart sank a little more. I was finally convinced when he took me outside and I didn't see anything.
There was a fountain outside the restaurant where I had Cassie place floating candles and a book that Cassie and I had made for Allie. The book included pictures throughout our relationship and promises for our future. After she read it, I sang to her, and got on one knee and asked her to be my wife. She said yes!
It was perfect.
So there you have it! That's our love story. We'll do another he said/she said later this month in celebration of our first year of marriage. If you made it this far, you get a gold star!