So, you know by now how we ended up on our first date, which took place January 28, 2004, and if you were paying attention when I told you our wedding date, then you know that we got married exactly 16 months and 5 days later on June 2nd, 2005.

To say that those 16 months were pretty much smooth sailing is actually a fairly accurate (if cliché) statement.

We never fought (my husband is incapable of engaging in a “real” fight; It’s just not how he rolls; I, on the other hand…ahem).

We never broke up (more on that in a moment).

And we pretty much have fallen more and more in love with each other ever since that first date.

But since those broad sweeping overviews leave so much out, I thought I’d share a few interesting tidbits with you to help add a little texture to the big picture.


I almost broke up with Shaun on his birthday (although the date had never really occurred to me until just now).

Cold, I know.

But his birthday happened to occur only 4 short days after our first date (and we’d seen each other every day in between…intense, right?), so if the break-up was going to happen, it needed to be early before either one of us got too attached.

At least that’s what I told myself.

So, why—after all of the gushing I’ve been doing about how perfect he is for me—would I even consider letting him out of my sight much less ending the relationship?

Answer (prepare to scratch your heads): he was too perfect.

Seriously, people.

He was so nice.

Much nicer than I am.

Don’t get me wrong.

I am nice.

And not just if you’re nice to me first.

I genuinely like people, so it’s kind of hard not to be nice to most of them.

But Shaun was so good and sweet and calm.

And I can be a bit…um…fiery.

And I thought, “Oh no. What if my personality’s too strong for him? I can’t respect a guy who isn’t at least as strong, in a complementary way, in the personality department, and I can’t marry a guy I don’t respect!”

It just so happened that his birthday coincided with Super Bowl Sunday that year, and we were on our way to a Twenty-Somethings Super Bowl party when I worked up the nerve to do it.

So I told him how much I liked him and how I really wanted this to work, but…

And he said, “But what?”

And, after a bit of waffling, I basically just blurted out my fears that I would bulldoze him.

Have you ever seen Blast from the Past?

If not, a quick recap is in order.

Brendon Fraser plays Adam, a 35-year-old man who emerges into society after being raised by his ultra-geeky mom and dad in—get this—a fallout shelter.

He does a hilarious job of conveying the wide-eyed wonder and utter naiveté of someone who’s never had contact with the real world.

And, of course, he falls head over heels for the first girl he meets, even though she’s waaaaay too worldly for him and not a good fit at all.

Well, although that setup has practically nothing to do with Shaun’s and my situation, there is one moment when Adam suddenly switches from ultra-sweet boy to confident man, and everything about him—his posture, his voice, his expression—changes so completely…and it’s a great moment.

And I think of that moment every time I remember the time I almost dumped my future husband because he was “too nice.”

Because as soon as I voiced my concerns, Shaun said something like the following: “Listen. I really like you. I think you’re amazing, in fact. But I have opinions. And I have no problem whatsoever voicing them when the occasion calls for it. And I think we can be really great together. So, if that sounds like something you’re interested in… Great. Me too. If not, I understand. But don’t worry about me. When I want to say something, I’ll say it.”

And he said the whole thing with just the right mix of manly confidence and kindness that my pulse got all fluttery and I couldn’t remember for the life of me why I’d ever been worried in the first place.

And I’ve never worried since.


You long-time readers already know this, but the newbies might be interested to know that we didn’t kiss until the pastor told us to on our wedding day.

What I haven’t told you, though, is that I wrote and recorded a song for his birthday (which we played at the wedding) after we were engaged.

I burned it to a cd, then slipped it in his car so that he would find it on his way to work that morning.

He called me as soon as he listened to it and told me that it was a good thing I wasn’t there when he heard it because our no-kissing policy would have flown right out the window! : )


We lived together before we got married.

That may sound a bit odd coming from a couple who didn’t even kiss until the altar, but it’s true!

Shaun already owned a house, but we wanted to buy land in the country, so he put his house up for sale, and it sold within a month.

Then, he moved into the 3rd story dormer of my parents’ house (my brother and I occupied the 2nd story) and lived there for 7 of the 8 months we were engaged. 

And while it may sound a little weird, I honestly think it was one of the best things that could have happened to us since we were able to work through a lot of newlywed “kinks” before we were ever newlyweds.


I hope your gag reflex isn’t too strong because this next part may make you a little queasy.

We have pet names for each other.

Mine is Boo (short for Beautiful…he gave it to me on his birthday…the same day I almost broke up with him).

His is Alby (a derivative of our last name…yeah, I think the one he gave me is better too).

In fact, it’s felt really strange to type “Shaun” over and over again this week, since these are not just our pet names for each other, but the only names we use when talking directly to each other.


Valentine’s Day came two short weeks after our first date, and Shaun gave me a ring with a paraphrase from the book of Ruth that said, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.”

(Even he shakes his head now at his nerve).

You know how I said, in Part 2, that, after my previous relationship, I wasn’t sure how I would know when someone was right?

Well…I knew.

And I wore that ring proudly, right up until the moment when he replaced it with something even better.

…which I’ll show you tomorrow, when this week-long love-fest concludes.

P.S. Some of you have already done it, but it would pretty much make my day if you’d share some fun little tidbits about your own love stories in the comments. I would love (ha!) to read them!


  1. I just found you from Cassie’s blog and you are so cute! I am so excited about reading more of your blog.

    It sounds like you definitely found a winner. You and I have similar stories. My hubs and I were married exactly 18 months after our first date (which was one week after we met). We never broke up, but it was really close once and then I realized very quickly that I was being a complete moron.

  2. Oh, Abbie, isn’t is amazing how you just KNOW?? Thank the Lord for that!! My first husband left when my two little ones were 2 and 4. I was torn apart and undone in ways that words can never capture. As my first husband was leaving, my deep and begging prayer was for God to provide a strong, God-fearing and God-honoring, man of integrity to lead this broken little family. And, of course, God heard and orchestrated my encounter with Kevin. During one of our early dates, we were at the zoo. I was talking, rambling, and otherwise just babbling on and on about musings and thoughts and “suppose this” and “what do you think about that”…..when I stopped to catch a breath and realized he was just looking at me with a big, goofy grin. He proceeded to say, “I’m going to marry you”. I simply replied, “I know”. And carried on with my monologue. (He he!! That threw him! He states to this day that my little “I know” was such a small response to his major, life-altering realization. I just tell him he was a little late to the party, because I was already aware of the fact that we were going to get married!) We were standing in front of the zoo’s otter house at the time. Three months later, (in the middle of a Michigan winter….Burrrrr!!) standing in front of the same otter house, he asked me to marry him and presented me with a ring he had designed. The ring contained our birthstones as well as the birthstones of my son and daughter. Ohh, that sweet man. He loves ALL of us whole-heartedly. I am constantly thankful for the love of my husband and deep, abiding, all encompassing love of my Savior. I was not alone for even one, small moment……

  3. Loving your love story! My husband and I met on December 28th 1996. He asked me to a marry him 28 days later!! We got married September 6th 1997 🙂 There are lots of fun details – I’ve considered blogging my story on my blog – maybe someday!!

  4. Well I told you we dated for five years.. and most of that time we lived in different towns so we only saw each other every fortnight. Paul would stay at our family home – separate bedrooms – and my mother and father really got to know Paul during this time. Remember how I said they thought he was too old for me… well, all the visits helped confirm to them that he was a good guy. My father was a carpenter and Paul is a Fitter and Turner (Metalwork) so my Dad really enjoyed teaching Paul about wood. We never had a falling out during those five years… and when we finally got married and lived in the same town it was just so special to be able to spend time together. I am ready for the ring story now….

  5. love your blog!!! not sure how I stumbled upon it…I met my hubby in 1986–he was 16 and I was 15. We dated off and on, but mostly off for the next 6 years. We both dated other people. He was always around and was my go-to guy if a dance rolled around and I didn’t have a date. He was very close to my parents so if his parents were out of town during the holidays, there he was. It made it very uncomfortable if I was dating someone else and he showed up for Thanksgiving. We married in 1992 and will celebrate 20 years this month. I think I broke up with him on several occasions because he was too sweet. I wanted the bad boy. After dating several of those bad boys God kept showing me the goodness of my hubby. He is a man of integrity, Jesus-loving, amazing daddy. It has been quite an adventure so far! We are homeschooling 3 boys (ages 18, 16, and 12) and it is never boring!!! I’m so blessed that the Lord put him in my life…1986-youth choir—I wore black stirrup pants a “swatch” shirt, and since I am southern, the biggest bow in my hair I could find—what was I thinking????

  6. YES! YES YES YES YES and YESSSSSSSSSS! Finally someone has the same veiws as me in saving the first kiss for the wedding day! That is my desire. I am not married yet,nor am I close to getting married but I plan for my first kiss to be at my wedding altar when the pastor says,” You may kiss your bride.” Such a sweet love story! I llok forward to reading the rest tomorrow!

  7. My hubby and I were the only ones each other ever dated, which led to some comedy since a lot of times we were a little clueless to how this whole world of dating worked! 🙂 I am 3 1/2 years older than him, we went to the same church our whole lives and we never spoke until he was 21 and I was 24. We were put in a young adult small group together at church and we were even made prayer partners, which my hubby used to his full advantage! 🙂 I was very sick at the time with Lyme disease and this did not scare him away in the least. He was more compassionate and understanding than even my close girlfriends, and still continues to be today. He is my best friend and never gets angry at me, even though I might get a little crabby once a month or so! 🙂 We didn’t wait until our wedding to kiss, but I did make him wait 6 months. I told hm he would be allowed to kiss me on our 6 month anniversary, he said “Oh no, you made up this arrangement, you’re going to kiss me!” I leaned over in his truck and gave him the hugest kiss, and then hopped out and ran away giggling! 🙂 We also have tons of pet names for each other, its actually hard for me to just call him Dan is public. We went on vacation with his family a few years ago with his family, and we actually had to talk ahead of time about what pet names we could use and what ones they could never know about. 🙂 Thanks for sharing your cute story with us! God is good!! 🙂

  8. I met my soon to be husband (128 days EEEP!!) 7 years ago when he was engaged to some one else. I remember thinking “wow he is a really great guy, of course he is taken” Three years later he had a summer internship near me. We ended up spending every day together that summer. Every one asked us if we were dating and we always said “no, no we are just friends”. It wasn’t until he was leaving to go back home (and the to Malta for a year long missions trip) that I realized I had feelings for him. I called my dad in tears after watching him leave. I realized I loved him on my way home from dropping him off at the airport with his family for his year long missions trip to Malta, when the toll booth attendant told me “I must be in love” since I was crying so hard. We didn’t start dating right away when he came home. In fact, I “broke up with him” before we even started dating. (I told him that if we were not going to date I needed to back out). A year and a half later he proposed. He confessed that he started saving for the ring when he was on that missions trip. He knew he was going to marry me, he just didn’t have the nerve to ask me out for fear of hurting me. I love our story. God’s hand is all over it! 🙂 We are also saving our first kiss for our wedding day.

  9. My husband proposed the first time we ever spoke to each other. We met at a wedding (sappy, I know). We were both in the wedding party and danced at the reception. While dancing he asked me to marry him. I said yes. Of course, we spent the next year and a half getting to know each other before we went to the altar. It’s been 15 wonderful years since we said, “I do.”

  10. What a wonderful love story. I admire those with such strength and conviction to wait……that had to be the most romantic, toe curly, leg lifting KISS. You both look so radiantly happy in your wedding photos and in other pics you’ve posted. Thank you for sharing this lovely story.

    I still get gushy thinking about the moment my husband said those three words when where dating. I go by my initials and have since I was days old when my daddy thought my name was too big for (then) little ole me. My husband had a hard time calling me by my initials, he thought it was weird, so he called me honey pretty much out of the gate. He is over it now (13 yrs now). So that moment arrives in our relationship and he starts the conversation out by asking me what I go by for important things… I am thinking legal documents, payroll, driver’s license, boy was I thick. So I told him I always use my first name and my middle initial fo those types of things; he ask so you go by your full name when it is something important, yep. So as we are sitting picnic style in my living room watching Last of the Mohicans (we both bought each other the soundtrack at Christmas) when he scooches up close and removes my glasses (making me blind to what was happening haha) and says I love you Patricia Jo. Awww, it still makes me smile that silly crooked smile when I tell that story. I returned the sentiment.

  11. I don’t have a pet name for anyone (well, scratch that, I call my pets all sorts of things besides their names, but since they’re already pets I don’t know if I could say that I have pet names for pets.) BUT, it’s kind of an interesting tidbit to know that I didn’t call my husband by his real name for like the first 3 or 4 months that we were dating. His nick-name (to everyone) was OT, and that’s how I was introduced to him. We had a mutual friend who never went home, he was either with me or with Josh (OT) so I had his number in my phone before I ever even met him because Matt put in there and would call him from my phone all the time, and he was in my phone as OT. After we got together, I still called him OT because that was how I knew him, and it felt really weird to call him Josh. And he remained in my phone as OT until after we were married because I am the kind of weirdo who hates new technology (ironic that I married an IT guy, no?) and refused to get a new phone for almost 3 years, until mine finally fell apart at the hinge.

  12. I could just fall in love with a man that is logical, strong in the ways that count, and can convey what he thinks without getting all stressed/fired up/emotionl – like I do… oh wait. I did! There are parts of your story that just ring true with me (not the kissing bit, but hey, what a wowser of a time to kiss!!! You go girl!)
    B was like that with me, only we’d been friends for years (well, you did say you wanted to hear out little stories too!). After dating for about a week, I was so scared that we’d find that we weren’t really compatible at all, and I would lose my best friend. I was terrified. So I blurted that out in a most stressed out, completely-in-a-flap manner and when I’d paused my waffling, he said “So it’s like this. We either break up if it’s not working AND remain friends – because NOT being friends isn’t an option – or we get married.” (he shrugs) Just like that. (And later he said he was smaking his head that he’d even brought up the marriage thing). But it was the best thing he could have said. and 10.5 years of marriage later it still makes me shake my head in wonder at this marvellous person that God has put me with.
    Abbie, I just want to say thank you for sharing your story with us this week. It not only reveals a little of your heart, but it makes US take stock of how much we ourselves have been blessed. You are great, and you have blessed me because of it.

I love hearing from you guys!