That fall was the beginning of a great, steady thing for me. We were just good friends... for a long time! Our friendship had its ups and downs, I moved away for a bit, then came back. He hung in there with me while I was gone. But when I came back, we started to spend more and more time together. I think we just realized we really enjoyed the simpleness of hanging out. We went on hikes, went camping with friends, hung out at one of our houses with roommates, playing spray bottle tag... football in a very small living room, etc. And we just spent a lot of time talking.
I didn't realize how remarkable that was until one day our SS teacher's wife said, "Robert talks to you?" He was quite friendly, so I thought he talked to everyone. I guess he did, but he talked with me. Somehow, I got something very different from him. When I look back, I think we trusted each other for our no-nonsense-ness. We were both very real, and I think that attracted us to each other. And somehow in the middle of this, I developed a serious crush!
In the late fall of '98, we realized something was different as we were spending just about all of our free time together... with still no declaration of any feelings for each other! So anyway, not much exciting to write about during this time... just lots of fun and long talks and not nearly enough sleep. We had talked more than once about the option of marriage, because neither of us wanted to waste our time or hearts in a relationship that we knew would not have the possibility of marriage. And eventually, we decided that we were way too close to keep our friendship just a friendship. We knew we had to cut off the friendship or get married. :) We decided to get married!
He proposed officially in the living room of the small rental house I shared with a friend. He was in his dirty work clothes, and I was still in my clothes from teaching that day sitting on my white hand me down couch. Mind you, this was also after we had ordered the invitations! I was getting a bit impatient and feeling a bit like a fool, but I had no idea he was waiting on a custom ordered ring to come back for me. Thankfully, almost everyone around me did!
(His mom and dad had given him a set of diamond earrings to use in the ring for me. The earrings were the gift his dad gave to his mom on their wedding day. Robert had them set surrounding the center diamond he bought. I think it's beautiful, but I love that it came from my in-laws as well.)
Okay, fast forward three months... the day had come! In spite of some major wedding day tears caused by the absence of some beloved people, my Gramma Lil and my Aunt Marcy and Uncle Danny and their kids, we had a great day! We had a few hiccups, and I misunderstood a few things so made some strange planning decisions that I didn't realize until later, but most importantly... we drove away a married couple!
When I look back on how it all happened, I wouldn't change a thing. We only went on two or three "dates." There hadn't been much romance per se, but we built a very solid foundation. There hadn't been any pretending, so we didn't have that really hard first year everyone told us to expect. And because of the foundation the Lord gave us, there's been a lot to rely on when our circumstances haven't been ideal. I will say it definitely gets better every year. And I can't wait to see what God does over the next nine years!
Happy anniversary to us!