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.
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?
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!