In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I would share some of the details of our beginnings.
It's always so fun for me to learn about how couples came to be!
"That guy is really good looking!" I whispered to my friend.
We were sitting on the front row of the mock courtroom on BYU Campus where we attended our church meetings.
We had arrived extra early since we had gone earlier to see another of our best friends speak in Church before she left on her 18-month mission, and evidently we had a new (ahem, tall, dark, handsome) person in the ward who arrived very early simply because he liked to be very punctual.
I was 18, I had been at BYU for almost a year, and although I had a few comical awkward dating stories in the books, nothing thus far had been terrible enough to give me a bad attitude about the dating game.
So it was with interest that I discreetly stole glances over my shoulder to take in the stranger with the blue tie sitting on the second-to-last row.
He was tall...well over 6 feet...with a chiseled jaw line, muscular build, slightly flushed cheeks, deep dimples, dark hair, and piercing brown eyes that seemed to see into your soul when he looked at you.
Basically, he fit my definition of attractive perfectly.
That night I had my chance to get acquainted as our ward met together for ward prayer.
He was standing behind the couch I was sitting on with my roommate
(giggling, no doubt, because it's what we did pretty much non-stop),
so I gained some composure and turned around to introduce myself.
We exchanged the typical information...name, major, hometown...
and then I was disappointed to see that, despite my encouragement to come, he didn't show up at "cheer notes" after ward prayer.
I'm not sure if it was that apparent aversion to spreading cheer,
his heavy, dark eyebrows,
or his serious disposition and careful reverence at Church,
but for whatever reason I gained the impression that he was a little grumpy.
But grumpy or not, I admired him from afar.
The Sunday I took pictures for the ward directory, I took note when he let everyone who had come to get their pictures taken go ahead of him.
And, admittedly, after the ward directory was printed, I saved his picture on my computer just because I secretly admired him.
I was impressed when he stood in Sunday School one week and announced that he and some friends from his former ward were visiting a nursing home after Church and anyone was welcome to come along. I told him after Church that I thought it was great and he asked if I was coming, but it was Mother's Day, so I was heading out of town to spend the afternoon with my family. Little did I know that they visited the nursing home every week!
I watched him leave a little early from a ward activity to do some homework and nearly ran after him in hopes of walking home with him, but I lost my nerve.
And from time to time I would tell my roommate,
"I really like that guy...but I don't know why, because I think he's grumpy!"
Finally, the stars aligned when he was called to be the secretary in the Elders Quorum Presidency.
I was the secretary in the Relief Society Presidency, so we were given an opportunity to exchange contact information and converse more at last! We chatted casually on our way to Sacrament Meeting after our meeting beforehand--we discussed the new Narnia movie and its symbolism.
I was delighted when he sat next to me, and our conversation continued off and on as our meetings progressed.
And then, that evening, he decided to come to "cheer notes"
(maybe he didn't have an aversion to cheer after all!),
and we talked. And talked. And talked.
That day, my passing admiration of that handsome new guy in the ward exploded into a bit of an obsession. I thought about him all week long. And on Saturday night, I was standing in the parking lot of our apartment complex with a group of friends when he passed.
At this point in the story, I owe my best friend and roommate a thousand thanks.
She knew of my interest in him, so as he walked by she called out, "Sam!"
The late hour meant he couldn't see us through the darkness, so he asked who was calling and she said, "It's your favorite people!"
Mr. Serious made his way over to our group, and before I knew it, I was face to face with him yet again.
And once again, our conversation spiraled off effortlessly.
Unbeknownst to me, it was then that he made the decision to ask me on a date.
Two days later, I admitted to my roommate that I really liked him.
She, the master of flirting and dating, got a scheming gleam in her eye and a smile on her face as she began to try to figure out a way to get him to ask me out.
The scheming was unnecessary, though, because that afternoon I got a voice message from him--
asking me on a date!
Do I sound desperate?
Because I had never been so excited about a date before.
I think I set a personal record as I rode my bike to campus, where my roommate and I had a class together, and shared the news with her. She obligingly shared in my giddy excitement, and after class I called him back.
As was typical for him, he was extremely polite and offered me three different options for our date.
We could check out a used book store, see "Horton Hears a Who," or see an IMAX film at the planetarium in Salt Lake City. As a physics major with more than a shallow interest in him, I definitely wanted to head up to the planetarium to allow me a long drive to get to know him, but I nonchalantly responded,
"Those all sound great! Whatever you'd like!"
"Well, it's kind of nice to get out of Provo sometimes," he said. "Let's go to the planetarium."
And so it was that the day after my 19th birthday,
he knocked on my door, escorted me down to the parking lot
and took me to El Gallo Giro (his favorite restaurant),
and then we made the hour drive to Salt Lake City.
I was surprised by how easily the conversation flowed
and how quickly we progressed beyond the typical "getting-to-know-you" topics of a first date into the realms of serious thoughts, questions, and spiritual insights.
I was totally comfortable with him and only more impressed as I learned more about him.
That night, he thanked me for the date and gave me a quick hug. For those 3 seconds I was shocked by the way I was overwhelmed with feelings of safety and security.
And then he bid me farewell, leaving me with the phrase, "Let me know if you want to do something again sometime." His words echoed through my mind long after the door had closed--
what did he mean?
Should I ask him on a date?
Should I tell him I did want to do something else?
Should I invite him to a non-date activity?
Should I play "hard to get," as some had advised in the past?
And as I lay on my bed, staring at the ceiling, a peculiar feeling washed over me...
a feeling that, given the experience and conversation I had just had,
things could go far with this boy.