• Love Stories: From “Hello” to “I do” in 8 years and 11 months

    Love Stories: From “Hello” to “I do” in 8 years and 11 months

    The tale of how two first dates eight years apart led to this duet’s forever

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Every couple has a unique story love story to tell, and Anne and I are no exception.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003. That was the night I first met her. I was new to the Phoenix area, having just moved there from Fargo, N.D. I didn’t know many people, but I had gotten involved with a study at Scottsdale Bible Church. The study had just started up again after a six-week break, so there were a lot of new faces in the crowd, including mine. I doubt if Anne noticed me at all, but I definitely noticed her. I was completely enthralled with the beautiful, confident girl who was up front giving announcements. I decided right then that I wanted to get to know her better.

It still blows me away to think about the chain of events that led to that point. A random road trip to Phoenix in 2001. An almost unexplainable pull to go back there. A unexpected job opportunity in the area. A church recommendation from a pastor 2,000 miles away. And then, showing up at this study group and meeting Anne. Looking back, God’s hand was evident in all those things, ultimately leading me to the person I was destined to love.

I pursued a friendship with Anne for eight months before working up the courage to ask her out. But one night in early June 2004, I finally did, and we had our first date the next day, June 8 (which also happens to be my mom’s birthday—the one and only one I have ever forgotten).

We dated for a few months, and I fell hard for Anne. Unfortunately for me, Anne took a lot longer to fall for me—almost eight years longer, in fact. After that summer, we downshifted from dating to friendship and eventually lost touch.

Fast forward to the spring of 2011. I started attending Grace Community Church and enrolled in a class to meet some new people. Over the Fourth of July, some friends from class and I headed north to the church’s retreat center at Pinetop-Lakeside. I had my camera with me and took lots of pictures, which I posted on Facebook. I didn’t know it at the time, but those pictures would prove to be instrumental to Anne and me reconnecting. You see, several years before, Anne had attended Grace, taken the same class and even visited the church retreat. So when she saw my pictures of me with some of her friends on Facebook, she was curious how I knew everyone and, shortly after Thanksgiving 2011, she emailed me to check in.

Her email came as a complete surprise. We emailed back and forth a few times, and I suggested we get together for coffee to catch up. At this point, I wasn’t interested in anything more than a friendship, but sensed that she might be looking for more. I figured that if I saw her in person, I would be able to tell. While I didn’t really get a good read on Anne’s interest level, I did discover I still really enjoyed her company—which led me to ask her out. On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, we had our second “first date.”

About a week later, I was driving home from Anne’s house and trying to figure out where things could be going between us. I wasn’t coming up with any answers but felt compelled to find out before flying home to Minnesota for Christmas. I emailed Anne when I got back to my house and asked her if she’d like to go to lunch the next day. She said yes, and during our lunch, I finally admitted that I wanted to pursue more than a friendship. Turns out, she did, too. The rest is history, and we became husband and wife on September 29, 2012.

– Craig, Plymouth, Minn.

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