I remember walking into the “Conan party” thirty minutes late feeling slightly nervous and somewhat aware of my aloof state. I sat down next to a few of my friends and leaned into them talking intensely about the weather and other really important things like that. I laughed too loud if they said something funny, and I had a difficult time making myself lean back in my chair nonchalantly. Jay was sitting across the room glancing over at me from time to time with a look of confusion. He kept up a fairly good front by laughing with the guys around him about Conan and then talking some about his recent travels to Europe when commercials interrupted the show. Still, he would look over at me from time to time to see what I was doing, and when I caught his glance I would look down at the ground shyly, and my voice would catch in my throat.
No, sadly, Jay and I were not meeting for the first time. We’d been talking for months, spending all of our free time together, walking the streets of my neighborhood in complete bliss. No, we hadn’t had a first fight or anything else awkward happen. In fact, the night before I had picked him up from the airport upon his return from a two-week trip to Europe and had listened to his stories about Rome, Paris, and London with great eagerness. You could say, in fact, that until the Conan party everything was more than perfect between us.
So, back to the Conan party, Jay and I had just become Facebook Official (FBO for those familiar with eighth grade terminology) right before he had left for Europe. We’d had talked about our relationship for the first time (yes, the DTR) and had both wanted to “take things to the next level.” The Conan party was the first time we had been around our friends with our intentions clearly defined, and we were no longer “hanging out” but were a real couple. I promise I’m not nine years old, and I promise I know how to drive a car and pay my own bills. I am an adult. The problem is I have been clinically diagnosed as socially awkward. Seeing Jay in our first social setting after becoming “official” left me staring at the ground and even talking to it some. I could barely make eye contact with him, and I have no idea why. Oh, that’s right, it’s because I default to my former homeschool days when feeling overwhelmed socially.
Needless to say, we overcame Conan thanks to Jay, and this past month we celebrated our one year anniversary of marital bliss (no sarcasm here at all actually). This has been hands-down the best year of my life. We laugh often over Conan and other social blunders I constantly make, most commonly my frequent habit of greeting the ground when I try to say “hello” to someone I don’t know well. It’s a good
thing Jay knew how to move us forward. I have always been impressed with how well he has led us, from getting to know me well in the beginning before pursuing me to constantly making me feel loved and “spoiled” so to speak. This year for our anniversary, I wrote him a lame love letter and sat on our couch pregnant and swollen with nothing else in the works. He, on the other hand, brought home flowers and over a picnic dinner that he put together indoor-style, he read his wedding vows to me that he thoughtfully framed for me. (Yah, I’m not sure what he was thinking when he married me either :).)
Here are his vows. I tear up when I read them now just as I did when he read them a year ago:
Hi. You are so special to me.
I remember our first date like it was yesterday. I was worried it wasn’t going very well until we took our first walk together. After coffee, we walked around the neighborhood for hours sharing our life stories and laughing to no end. I remember thinking it was the best walk I’d ever been on. It was our first of many walks together.
In fact, walks would become such a big part of our story. I was so excited to see you the night we went for a walk after guac fest. At that point, not even Rufus’ mange could dampen my joy as we walked for hours through your neighborhood. I remember leaving that night anxious to go on another walk with you.
I remember our first walk together as a couple. It was the first time I held your hand as we trekked through the dark scary woods in the middle of the night on the camping trip. I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night. The next day you poured out your beautiful heart to me on our walk to Florence Park. I realized that I loved you then.
On our first formal date, we walked the Riverparks and you shared how all you ever wanted was someone to walk the Riverparks with you. I prayed that very night that I hoped I was that someone.
I remember our last walk as boyfriend and girlfriend when I proposed to you on the pedestrian bridge. You looked so beautiful in your Russian hat, and it was the happiest moment of my life.
As we prepare to take our first walk together as husband and wife, I am truly in awe at what a beautiful woman God has blessed me with. You are the sweetest, kindest, most compassionate, loving soul I have ever met, and you fascinate me. I cannot wait to go on a whole lifetime of walks with you as we share a life together.
I promise to always go for walks with you. . .and I promise never to walk away from you.
I promise to always give you time with Feather and to never be jealous of her.
I promise to spiritually lead us in a marriage that puts God over everything.
I promise to always hold you and pray with you and comfort you the rare times you cry.
Finally, I promise to protect you and nurture you and love you with all that I am. I love you so much.