Our Story: How I Met My Husband
The first time we met was back in August 2009 on our college campus (formerly Atlanta Christian College, now Point University) in our home state of Georgia. We were both 19, but I was a senior and Patrick was a freshman (I had started college at 16 and he had started college later). I had never had a boyfriend before and honestly, by my senior year, I had given up on the possibility of a relationship at this stage of my life. I was focused on graduating from undergrad, going to grad school, and maybe even moving back overseas. Meeting my future husband was a distant prayer in that season of my life, because I knew there were a lot of things I wanted to do.
However, isn't it funny, how you can make plans, and then something totally different happens?
That is precisely my story.
We first met on our campus' beach volleyball court. I didn't think much of him at that time, because to me, he was just an incoming freshman who didn't know much about college life yet. Patrick was very nice to everyone, including me, but I sort of kept my distance in the beginning. However, I quickly learned that sometimes when you keep a distance from someone, they want to know why, and they only get more interested and intrigued...this was exactly what happened with Patrick and I!
With our campus being so small and our friend group overlapping, we ended up spending time together. I began to notice that even though he wasn't someone I would consider myself being interested in, I was interested in him as a person because he was different than a lot of the other guys I knew. After my sister and my friends teased/probed me to see that he really was a good guy and I shouldn't give him such a hard time, I began to open up more.
One thing that was very interesting about when we first getting to know each other is how different our backgrounds were. I was a home schooled preacher's kid who had just spent the earlier part of the year living in England, and he went to public school, didn't grow up being a person of faith, and was working in retail and living on his own before college. On top of that, we are different ethnicities - I'm black, and he's Hawaiian and white. On paper, we couldn't be more different, but for some reason, that was why I truly believe God brought us together. Patrick came to know Jesus at 18 and had a fire about his faith and about life that I didn't see very often in people our age. Even though I was very involved in ministry and had been my entire life, he challenged me to be passionate about it in a new way, and this gave us a lot to talk about in the early stages.
The first week of October, I did something I had never done before: I told Patrick that we needed to have a DTR: Determine The Relationship. Even though I knew that that was an awkward question, I had seen too many of my friends have broken hearts because these things were never established. I did not want that to happen. To my surprise, Patrick, in his typical nature, was pretty straightforward. He let me know he wanted to pursue me.
I will never forget the moment we had that awkward question sitting in the parking lot between the cafeteria and the chapel on our college campus. And it was there, i did something else I had never done before: I asked him if he wanted to meet my parents for breakfast that morning. He quickly said 'yes,' and there we were.
The funny part about this is that when I was college, going back to my hometown for a Saturday morning breakfast with my family wasn't exactly a normal thing for me, but for some reason, I just felt like it should happen. My parents, being the kind, pastoral type that they are, agreed to this and that next Saturday, Patrick met my parents.
Breakfast was great, and then, something I didn't expect happen: my dad and Patrick really hit off. Like...really hit it off, and then, before I knew it, they started talking and talking, just as the two of them for hours. There's still a playful debate amongst us how long they actually were talking in my dad's office, but all I remember was sitting at the top of the steps listening in and anxiously texting my friends about how awkward it was.
After their conversation finally ended, I was relieved, but as I look back now, I know I was also grateful. My parents have always been my spiritual mentors and their marriage has always been an example to me, so it was special that that was able to happen.
On the way back from campus, we had the most awkward, seriously un-romantic conversation that made the relationship official:
Me: So...what is this?
Patrick: What is what?
Me: Whatever this is between you and me
Patrick: Oh...yeah...do you want to be my girlfriend?
Me: Yep. Sure.
Patrick: Okay, great!
That following summer (July 2010, I had graduated from college, he was still working full time and going to school, and we got engaged, downtown Atlanta, on a bridge in Atlanta's Atlantic Station the night I came home from my grad school two-week residency in Nebraska. We got married in October 2010, and we've been together ever since.
We got married young and rather quickly, but I can honestly say, that through all of our awkward conversations and the interesting stories that came out of us getting to know each other, we knew that at the core, we connected on a deeper level. We didn't have everything figured out in terms of careers (we both ended up on completely different career paths than we were expecting and couldn't be happier), we didn't have a lot of money, and we didn't know about the mountains and valleys we would climb over the years, but we know that we had faith. We knew that God would give us grace as we continued to learn, by trusting and living for Him alone. Since we got married, we've lived in Atlanta, Nashville, Dallas, and now Los Angeles. We've worked a lot of different jobs and had a lot of opportunities that have taken us all over the world. We've experienced the loss of love ones that were dear to us, and we've gained strength and wisdom that we never thought we would have. It hasn't always been easy, but it has always been worth it to pursue what God was doing, and that has been the theme of our relationship since it all began in 2009.