If you've missed them or would like to read them again, here are Parts One and Two of our love story.
The night we figured out that we liked each other, Joshua and I had gotten together with a couple other people to watch South Pacific. I figured that between the music, the WWII action, and the story, Joshua and I would both enjoy it.
Sitting to his left on a couch, with my roommate and two guys from Joshua's hall in a public lounge, I started to realize that the movie was more significant than I had thought, especially as our companions started leaving with a variety of excuses.
As Emile sang in a rich, deep bass, "Some enchanted evening/ you may see a stranger/ you may see a stranger/ across a crowded room,/ and somehow you know/ you know even then/ that somewhere you'll see her/ again and again," I let my hand rest on the couch between us, hoping that Joshua would pick it up and hold it.
Later, Nellie sang "I've known you a few short weeks, and yet/ somehow you've made my heart forget/ all other men I have ever met/ but you..." and I knew exactly how she was feeling. Joshua's hand brushed mine and he quickly crossed his arms. "Drat," I thought to myself, "I've scared him off and how he's not going to hold my hand at all."
A few minutes later he commented that his hands were cold. I jumped at my opportunity. "Mine aren't," I said, grabbing his hand.
I didn't let go. Neither did he.
Eventually I leaned my head on his shoulder, and he put his arm around me and pulled me closer. "So..." I said. "Does this mean I can call you my boyfriend?"
"Well, can I call you my girlfriend?" he asked.
"Of course," I said.
"All right then." After a few minutes he offered, "Would you like me to call your dad and get his permission to date you?"
"That would be great," I said. The way I wrote that makes it seem like I was calm, cool and collected. I was actually so excited I think I was shaking.
So that was that. After the movie, and mostly ignoring the last several minutes, he walked me back to my dorm. I was giddy. The next morning I was still so excited I could hardly eat breakfast. He called my dad that afternoon. We sat on the floor against my bed, both of us shaking and nervous. Joshua didn't have to say much, but the conversation went well and Dad did give his permission. I had been telling my parents about Joshua for the last two weeks so it wasn't a complete surprise.
My friends, once I told them all that I had a boyfriend, were mostly quite surprised. I wasn't the first of my close group of girlfriends to have a boyfriend, but the last time any of them had dated anybody was eighth grade and it hadn't lasted very long. So my having a boyfriend was a pretty big deal.
Joshua and I started eating meals together as often as we could and hanging out when we were free in the evenings. He became more and more important to me as time went on, although he didn't become one of my very highest priorities until a few months later.
One proof I had of his affection for me came just a few weeks after we started dating, when I came down with swine flu and was stuck in my room over fall break. Joshua spent the entire long weekend keeping me company, bringing me books, food and movies, rubbing my aching back, and generally taking care of me. I realized then that he really did love me.
Over Thanksgiving break we were apart but we talked on the phone almost every day. I kept tying up my aunt's and grandma's phones while I was staying with them, and with my family. During Christmas break Joshua came up to visit my family for ten days, and I spent a few days with him and his parents at the end of break (his parents live just about twenty minutes from us).
At the end of our visit at my parents', Joshua took a bus back down to his parents' and I flew down the next day. My parents took me to the airport, and while we were in the car my dad said to me, "So. Is this the one?"
I was rather taken aback, but I said, "Well, yes, he is."
"Does he think so?" Dad asked.
"Well, then," Dad said, "do you have a date?"
"Dad! Well, we were thinking this coming December..."
Obviously the wedding wasn't in December 2010 (unfortunately). Dad explained that since that was a very busy time for him, and for Joshua's dad (who is a pastor), and that the weather wouldn't be good for traveling, it would be best to not get married in December. It was he who suggested Memorial Day weekend of 2011. Joshua and I weren't thrilled about having to wait that long (fifteen months!) but it ended up working out just fine.
Our engagement was fifteen long months of planning, working, school, and spending as much time together as possible. Over the summer we were apart for six weeks at a time. Joshua came to Wisconsin in May, and we visited Nebraska in July, arriving on my 19th birthday. Then I got a ride from some friends back to Nebraska a couple days before school started again, and stayed with Joshua's family until we had to start school. Our sophomore year actually went by fairly quickly. We spent Thanksgiving together at Joshua's parents, and I did a lot of wedding planning over Christmas break. We started pre-marriage counseling with our campus pastor, and also did some with the pastor at my parents' church who married us.
Over spring break, which we spent in Wisconsin, we mailed out invitations and had a bridal shower that my aunt and grandma hosted, visiting from Minnesota. It was so much fun and four out of my seven bridesmaids were there. One of them, Emily, had just returned from a mission trip in India the day before and showed up to surprise me!
After school got out in May I stayed with my grandparents for about a week before the three of us went to Chicago for the wedding of one of my dad's cousins. My parents and sister were there too, so I went home with them. Joshua had already moved into our apartment and was "baching it" for about two weeks. Ruth and Joe were still here for May-term classes, so they kept him company and fed him--bless them! They have been such a blessing to us since second semester of last year, when Ruth and I started getting to know each other.
The week before our wedding was really not very busy. Joshua arrived about a week before the wedding, and his family came up two days before it. I had finished most of the work that I had to do long before that. The food and cake were ordered, my dress was ready, dear friends were taking care of the hall decorating and serving the reception. It was actually a really relaxing week. I spent time packing up a lot of my stuff, because one of our groomsmen was driving his truck up in order to haul back a U-Haul trailer with our wedding presents, some furniture, and the rest of my things.
Finally came the weekend of the wedding...which I will write about in another post. :)