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This month's topic for Marriage Monday is "The Crazy Way We Met".
German's and my meeting was actually pretty normal, but our progress to a life together did have some "crazy" turns here and there.
I moved to Washington after finishing my graduate degree. I had never lived in the Northwest, but I was young, single and had no commitments other than my cat, so it was as good a time to make a huge journey as any. And, there was a nursing home out there crazy enough to offer me the social work job. It was a match seemingly made in heaven. After a year, I realized the job really wasn't for me, but the town of Spokane was. I met with my pastor and we dreamed of starting a single's ministry that would encompass several churches in the area. There was one stipulation to beginning the ministry--it was to minister to spiritual needs, I was not interested in running a dating service. I went home to Texas to spend some time with my grandmother who was ill and weak and to raise some support. Two months later, I would return to Spokane to find a part time job and start half-time at the church.
While I was in Texas, German was transferred by his job from Montgomery Alabama to Spokane. He started attending my church. My first Wednesday night back in town, I can remember sitting on the floor with the pastor, German (who I just met) and a friend/mentor praying for the things that would happen in the ministry over the next few months. Little did I know....
German was instrumental in actually getting the ministry off the ground. He offered his computer skills to put together my slides and presentations. He was a huge encouragement and was fast becoming a good friend. Our pastor and that friend/mentor mentioned earlier took every opportunity to have us do things with their families together. We were pretty oblivious to the matchmaking. We each had some major things that had happened in our lives in the previous year and we were largely just getting our feet back under us.
We had our first kick-off single's conference in early October. It was on the topic of Preparing for the Holidays or other Major Days Alone. I made the statement that I was single "by calling and by choice." I had never really seen myself as getting married or being in a serious relationship, so I was totally content as a single. German now says that although he "wasn't called to be single" he "got the message" and understood that it was "hands off." I was still oblivious.
Through the next couple of months we became closer friends. We would often go out to eat after church rather than be alone. We prayed together, laughed together and played together. We never considered dating. Then, at the church Thanksgiving dinner I happened upon two friends having a "I think they are/I don't think they are" conversation. As I walked up, Ruth said "let's just ask her. Are you and German dating?" I laughed. I assured her we were just friends and couldn't believe anyone would think we were dating. German and I had a good laugh later that evening.
Then came Thanksgiving day. We spent the day with our pastor and his in-laws. German and I took a walk and talked about the things we wanted in our life. I got home and I wrote a long letter to him, that I never expected him to see, that basically said I had fallen totally in love with him and I hadn't seen it coming. Unknown to me, he also was writing a letter that said the same thing. (but that gets ahead of the story). Christmas came and he went to St. Louis for two weeks. I wasn't planning to go home. We talked on the phone every night for 2-3 hours. (Remember we aren't dating!) He made arrangements to come home a few days early (but didn't tell me). My grandmother died New Year's Eve and I left for Texas, as he came back to Spokane. When I got back he collected me at the airport and we spent the day eagle watching at Lake Coeur d'Alene. We now call that our first date. The next day, I took a chance and read him the letter I wrote. Then he took out the letter he had been writing and adding to since Thanksgiving. We decided that we wanted to get married the next Thanksgiving since it was only appropriate.
With a wedding date set in our minds, but not known to anyone else, we felt it was only fitting to "date." German kept saying, "we aren't engaged until you have a ring." He promised I would have a ring before I met his family in July. Memorial Day in Montana mountains (where we spent that Thanksgiving) came and went, no ring. My birthday came and went, no ring. I decided I wasn't getting a ring before we left in 3 weeks. Then one Sunday afternoon (Father's Day 1995), he said let's go for a drive. We drove to the top of Mount Spokane. He proposed and I was totally surprised--I never saw it coming. He had been waiting for the road to the top of the mountain to open. It was the latest opening in years, which is why I hadn't got a ring earlier. But it was perfect.
We finally told people we were planning a Thanksgiving wedding. When I called my dad and said I'm getting married he said, "you're getting what?" My family also never expected me to get married. But God had different plans. We will be married 13 years this November.
And, by the way, we were the only ones in the Singles group to get married. That is something those who were familiar with our "not a dating service" policy take delight in reminding me. God's dating service is always the best.