In April 2005, almost a year after I became a Christian, a boy named Travis asked me out on a double date with my friend Melody and his friend Mark. I knew Mark some but didn’t feel like I knew Travis very well. I knew who he was because he was part of Campus Outreach too and we had talked to each other a few times. But I still thought it was odd that they would ask us out on a double date. “Why us?” I thought.
It was a fun date. We went out to eat at Cossetta’s, a great Italian restaurant in St. Paul. Then we played frisbee in the park, wrote down 10 questions to ask each other, and discussed the questions over ice cream at the Grande Ole Creamery (also in St. Paul). As we sat talking, one of the questions was “What is something significant that God has done in your life recently?” or something along those lines. My response was “I am finally okay with not having a boyfriend.” Travis silently groaned at his unfortunate timing.
I actually ended up with a slight crush on Mark after that date. He had a charming, innocent personality and a great smile. Travis was quieter and blinked a lot–but was a nice guy nonetheless.
But he persevered. The following Wednesday night, I got a call from Travis (after I had already gone to bed like an old woman!). He asked me out to dinner for the following weekend. It clicked in my head: “Oh…Travis likes me.” I said yes to him because I couldn’t say no. I had to work that weekend, unfortunately, so we ended up going on our first date over lunch at Annie’s Parlour, doing a crossword on a campus bench, and then taking a long walk down by the riverfront. I was wearing flip flops (not prepared for a long walk) and by the end of our walk, I was like “Man, my foot really hurts.” I pulled up my pants leg to see that my foot was actually bleeding from my flip flop. When I saw Travis the next night at the Campus Outreach weekly gathering, he handed me an envelope that had “Sorry about your foot” written on the outside and a bandaid on the inside. He won major points with that.
After that first date, I knew Travis was a nice guy. But I felt like he was just a good friend, nothing more. I was willing to trust God though. And so I prayed “Lord, You obviously have Travis asking me out for a reason and You obviously think I’m ready to date. So I want to stay open to Your plan for me and my life. If this is part of Your plan, grow my heart toward Travis. If it isn’t part of Your plan, make it obvious to me.”
So when Travis asked me out again, I said yes. We went to Brit’s Pub downtown for dinner and then played softball in the park. We walked around the Sculpture Garden a little when Travis (seemingly) randomly suggested we go check out the inside of the Guthrie because he “had never been inside.”
So we walked in and it was just a big white lobby, nothing exciting. I was kind of bummed but then Travis again seemingly made a random suggestion that we go see the play that was going on (which of course had been planned ahead of time). He went up to the counter and got his will call tickets. When he came back, I said “Oh…so that’s what the tickets were for. I thought they were for the gun show.” (He must’ve mentioned something about tickets earlier…) Travis thought it was funny at any rate.
As we sat in our seats waiting for the play (She Loves Me) to begin, I looked at Travis out of the corner of my eye and said to myself, “You know, I could get used to this.” Being around Travis that is.
So began our relationship. I was leaving for Summer Beach Project (SBP) in Myrtle Beach at the end of May and Travis was spending the month of June out in Montana for a geology class in June. But he came to SBP after being out in Montana. I picked him up from the airport. We watched the 4th of July fireworks together on the beach. He had had a rough time out in Montana, not being around believers, and studying evidence “proving” the earth was 4 billion years old. He said that the thought of me was like the light at the end of the tunnel. Needless to say, that freaked me out a bit. It felt like he liked me a lot more than I liked him.
So we decided to take things slow and to hang out with our respective sexes whenever we could. But that didn’t prevent us from taking many a walk on the beach at night. We talked about everything: politics, family, God, friends, hopes, dreams. Being at SBP made our physical relationship move very slowly – as in we didn’t hold hands, hug, or anything while we were there. At the end of the night, after falling in love with him on a starry beach, all I could do was give him a slug on the shoulder and say, “See ya later dude.”
But we did write love notes. We put them in our mail sorting accordian thingy. Those notes were so fun to get! I got so giddy with love reading Travis’ notes to me. I’d read them once to myself and then once to my three roommates.
By the time we drove home from SBP all the way back to Minnesota, I was head over heels in love with Travis. We stayed overnight at a staff member’s house in Chicago but I couldn’t get to sleep for the life of me because I was so infatuated and overcome with emotion for Travis. His smile made me melt! He was so manly, considerate, and fun. He loved the Lord. I was amazed at who he was – everything I had ever wanted in a man but never thought I could find. All my previous boyfriends were a joke! Travis was the real deal.
Over the next 16 months, Travis and I had our ups and downs. We overcame doubts and fears instilled in us by past relationships. We learned to trust each other and to be vulnerable even when it was scary. We told each other about our past relationships – a very difficult thing for us to both do and hear. We also made it through many a tense conversation about our future. I wanted to know for sure that we would get married but Travis, being the man of character that he is, wouldn’t say anything about it until he was absolutely certain. (And then he didn’t say anything until he had proposed). That period of time, I clung to God’s promises moment by moment. One of my favorite verses was Psalm 63:5-8:
5For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7On God rests my salvation and my glory;
my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.
I didn’t want to put my hope in a proposal or in a man. I wanted to rest on the solid rock, Jesus Christ. In August 2006, when I returned home from my 2nd SBP, Travis told me that he was sure that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.
“But that isn’t a proposal,” he said.
“I didn’t interpret it as one,” I replied.
Finally, toward the end of 2006, I finally felt at peace with not knowing when Travis and I would get engaged. He had said that maybe we’d get married while he was in grad school. Even though I didn’t agree, I accepted that. It’s amazing the work God did in my heart while we were dating! Little did I know Travis was just tricking me into thinking I had to wait!
On December 29, 2006, I was celebrating a late Christmas with my family when I received a surprise present – a plane ticket to Chicago and an invitation to dinner at the Signature Room on the 99th floor of the John Hancock building. For several minutes, I was so confused. This is a real plane ticket? I’m going to Chicago? But aren’t I supposed to be celebrating Christmas with you guys? When I opened the scrapbook of pictures of me and Travis, I knew who it was from.
Still, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. What if he doesn’t propose? What if he’s just doing this because he felt bad that I didn’t get to go to the Campus Outreach conference? But I still hoped a little – after all, it seemed like a lot of work to go to for just flying me out to a conference.
The next night, I was picked up from the airport by a friend of Travis’ and met Travis in the courtyard of a church across the street from the John Hancock building in Chicago. He said we were a little early for our reservation so we’d just hang out until it was time. But it was cold! I was about to suggest we go wait somewhere inside when Travis started talking about how he’d had time to think while being at conference and how he wished I had been there. Then he got down on one knee and told me that he knew for sure that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. It was a very surreal experience, as I wondered Is this actually happening? I’m getting engaged?!?! “Will you marry me?” he asked. “Yes, I will,” I replied. We hugged and kissed and he put the diamond engagement ring on my finger.
walked floated across the street to the John Hancock building. We rode the elevator up to the Signature Room on the 99th floor and had the most expensive meal we will ever eat, while overlooking the lights of Chicago. After dinner, we took a carriage ride around Chicago and I called my family to announce the great news. Then we went to the hotel where all of our friends were (and where the conference was). When we walked in, everyone came running over to us (they already knew about the proposal), congratulating us and wanting to see my ring. Then I got to tell all 75 of them the proposal story. It was the best proposal I could have ever imagined. Kudos Travis.
Four and a half months later, on May 19, 2007, Travis and I were married at the north site of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mounds View, Minnesota. Our reception was at the Earle Brown Heritage Center. We took our honeymoon at the Aventura Spa Palace in the Riviera Maya. For the summer, we lived at our friends Samm and Paul’s house in their spare bedroom (they were gone down south and in India for most of the summer so we were mostly housesitting). Then on Labor Day weekend, Travis and I moved to Boulder, Colorado, where we lived for a year before buying our first home in Wheat Ridge.
Our first year or two of marriage were a little rocky but little by little, we have grown in understanding and appreciating one another more. I am a very blessed girl who has an amazingly wonderful husband.