Today Jen and I have been married for 10 years. Tonight I am taking her to see Wicked. It's also our daughter's 6th birthday, so we are celebrating that during the first half of the day. If you want to read how a dork like me got a hot, spiritual, fun, and smart girl like Jen read on.
The first real conversation I remember having with Jen was during Founders Week at Moody Bible Inst. I asked her what God had been teaching her lately. She told me about her father's recent death, and how through that God was teaching her to trust him more. She was hot, spiritually minded, humble, and was walking with Jesus through the toughest thing in her life - and she wasn't bitter. She was trusting God more when so many would be struggling with his sovereignty! I wanted to marry her on the spot.
We became friends. Good friends. It was the kind of relationship that included long phone conversations at night where we could be honest about the kind of people we are looking for in a relationship. It was terrible. You see, everyone except Jen knew I was in love with her. My parents knew about it. In fact, my Dad popped into the city one day unannounced, and found us hanging out. He had to see this girl I had been talking about. It was pretty awkward, and got worse when he busted out his camera. "This is the one?" he was mouthing to me when Jen wasnt looking. Ugh.
Eventually I asked her out on a real date. It was dessert at some swanky place high atop Michigan Ave. We had a great time. As I walked Jen back to her dorm I said, "I had a lot of fun." She said that she did as well. I said, "We should do this again!" She said nothing, and the sidewalk seemed to occupy her attention.
I knew better than to ask her out again, but just to make sure there wasn't any confusion Jen's friends let me know what was up. "Do NOT ask her out again. She thinks of you like a brother, a great friend, but that's it." Though I didn't need it, I got this from a few messengers. Things went back to normal and our friendship continued. I was glad that I had not ruined something so great. Honestly, her friendship was more than I deserved so I was careful to hang onto it, and I kept my desire for something more to a daily conversation between me and God.
A couple months later (Spring Break) we wound up spending a weekend with other students. Sort of like a retreat. This was the weekend Jen stopped seeing me like a brother, and began seeing me as the awesome catch I am. That, or God tricked her. Or something.
After Spring Break we were suddenly a couple. We avoided being one of those reclusive dating couples who become oblivious to everyone and everything else around them, but it was clear we were together. I got asked the same question by a lot of people - even staff, "How do YOU get HER?!" "God." was my stock answer, and I meant it.
We were married after graduation on May 24th 1997. Exactly 4 years later Jen gave birth to our first child, Katherine. So today we celebrate our anniversary and our daughter's birthday. It's fantastic.
I have always been able to be myself around Jen, and yet her godly influence in my life has been a major factor in my growth. To borrow a line from Melvin Udall in As Good as It Gets, Jen makes me want to be a better man. After 10 years she's still my best friend and she is a wonderful mom. I am so blessed