Five Years Together

Not our first date - but at least our first Valentine's Day as a couple

Five years ago, a new chapter opened up in our lives: Andrew took me on our first date. And he didn't skimp, either.

During college, Andrew was part of an unofficial Christian guys' fraternity, which mainly consisted of living in a wrecked-out Victorian house with twenty other bachelors, throwing enormous parties including bouncy houses and glow stick dancers, and once a year, an official "date night" to encourage the guys to shave, take a shower, and ask a girl out.

Although Andrew had already been out of college a few years when we met, the alumni were still invited to date nights. And on December 12, 2008, he decided to take me.

The night started off with ice skating at Crown Center in Kansas City, followed by a ridiculously overpriced seafood dinner at McCormick & Schmick's on the Plaza. (I still remember that I sneaked a peek at our bill, and it was $75 - I think that's the most expensive meal we've ever had as a couple!)

I remember feeling incredibly nervous the entire date. It was a bit overwhelming being around twenty other couples, most of whom knew each other already and acted like old friends. And, unknown to pretty much everyone, this was my first official date with a guy. I had no idea how to act, what to wear (asking Andrew was completely unhelpful), and what Andrew expected of me. It was freezing cold, and Andrew and I circled the ice skating rink, skating near each other but not touching. I still remember he wore a black velvet jacket, and I wore a sparkly silver sweater with a dark blue top underneath.

As if dinner and ice skating weren't enough, I asked Andrew if we could go salsa dancing afterwards. I had started salsa dancing a few years back with a friend and went pretty regularly. And since the local ballroom was having a salsa night the same day as date night, it seemed like we were meant to go. Andrew had been dancing a few times with our group of friends and said yes to salsa - maybe afraid I wouldn't go to anything if he said no.

But I think it may have been a bit too much for one night - especially since I was working nights at that time and just waking up around nine o'clock at night, while Andrew was definitely running out of energy. During a bachata song, Andrew stepped on my foot - although maybe stepped is too light a word. More like pummeled my toe with his hard-soled shoes. It hurt a lot, but it was one of my favorite songs, and I didn't want him to feel bad about it. I also couldn't actually see my toe, since the lighting was so dark in the dance room. We finished the song, and I limped off to the bathroom.

When I finally got to the bathroom, my foot was covered in blood - not just my toe, but my foot and my salsa shoe and everything. I actually had to take off the shoe and rinse it in the sink. The toenail of my second toe had been knocked out of the nail bed almost completely. And yes, it was extremely painful.

Andrew felt terrible of course, especially when I danced with some of my other guy friends I knew from the "salsa crowd." I still remember him sitting at the table, looking incredibly glum, watching me dance with my Ukrainian friend. He was probably thinking, I totally blew it.

The next day at work, I had one of the doctors look at my foot. Yup, he said, that sucker's gonna fall off.

Our first snapshot "together" at the Christmas dinner

The next time I saw Andrew was at a Christmas dinner for church. Although I wouldn't say he avoided me, he certainly wasn't taking initiative to come over and talk to me. But I had honestly had a great time with him, and I didn't want one bad moment to ruin the memory of a fun evening. So I went over and started talking with him.

As we sat down to eat, I said, Oh, by the way, I had a doctor at work look at my toe. He said it'll probably fall off, and whoever did that to me totally owes me another dinner.

A slow and somewhat relieved smile crept over Andrew's face. I could do that, he said. But maybe not salsa dancing yet.

I replied, No, I think you need some lessons before that.

Six months later, we were engaged.

Three months after that, married.

And now - five years on - we're living in Cambodia and pregnant with our first baby.

If you had whispered into my ear, while I was washing the blood off my foot in that grotty bathroom in Midtown, that all that would happen, I might not have believed you.

But I am so deeply grateful that God gives us stories like that to remind us of his ability to weave our lives together with others'. When we look back over the years, we see the beauty of his plan. I could never have come up with the story of my life in my own creativity. I'm so thankful that my Savior is also the Author of my story - our story together.

Happy anniversary, Andrew.
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