I wrote this for Prayer of Hannah, and though I have talked about some of this on my blog, I wanted to repost it for all to see!
This morning there was a coolness in the air that gave me a small taste of fall. I love fall--the crispness in the breeze, the changing leaves, the apples and pumpkins and spices everywhere. And I love fall because for the Finns, fall is "courtin' weather". Nathan and I met and fell in love in the fall twelve years ago, and every fall season reminds us of that special time in our lives.
The story of how we met actually begins BEFORE we met. The summer before my senior year of college, I broke up with the guy I had been dating for a year and a half. That same summer, Nathan broke up with his girlfriend of 2 1/2 years. Both of us thought we were dating people we would eventually marry, but that summer those relationships ended. Both of us started classes in the fall determined not to date (Nathan), or certain that there was no one worthy of dating on campus (Leah).
In late August, Nathan was a junior transfer student at the college where I was a senior. Though we had been introduced briefly, we connected over dinner at the cafeteria the first night of classes. He winked at me from across the room--yes, he was a bold fellow!--and a few minutes later I sat down at his table. I swear that I was startled by his wink, didn't intend to sit by him, and was, in fact, alarmed that I ended up at his table. He declares that I was immediately charmed by him and his wink and had to sit with him. The entire table had great conversations that night, and Nathan and I ended up eating lunch together the next day. (truth--I waited for someone fun to eat lunch with because all my friends had a different lunch hour. I met up with one of Nathan's friend, ate lunch with him, talking the entire hour until Nathan came to lunch--and I was glad to see him, and stayed another hour!) I walked him to his post-lunch class because it was near my dorm, and I remember the professor (whom I knew and loved) grinning at my walking a guy to a class.
We had many mutual friends, and over the first couple of weeks of classes we spent a lot of time hanging out in groups. Nathan and I had wonderful 'talks', and I just found myself drawn to him. Though we were not dating, I had at least two different girls ask me if I had a claim on him, which I didn't. One day Nathan told me that he needed to talk to me that evening. I knew it was the inevitable "define the relationship" conversation, and I knew what he was going to say--he liked me a lot, but he did not want to be tied down, and our spending so much time together was sending the wrong signals. I prepared myself all day for the 'let her down gently' talk, and knew at the same time that I didn't want it to happen.
We started walking that evening, my dreading the conversation entirely, and...he didn't say what I expected. Instead of just wanting to be friends, Nathan poured out his heart to me, told me he was smitten with me (yes, he used that word!), and declared that he would like to pursue a relationship with me with the intention of marrying me. I was speechless. I asked to sit down-I remember my knees feeling weak. There was no bench, so we just sat down on a curb! I was startled, thrilled and excited all at the same time, and though it could have been scary and may have frightened some girls, I felt a complete peace. The rest was history. We spent many fall evenings together talking about life, theology, our future plans and goals. Our favorite place to 'hang out' was on the front porch of the BSU house on campus--it had several rocking chairs, which Nathan loves, for which we were dubbed the "rocking chair romance." We knew very early that we had met the person we were to marry! Eight months after meeting, we were engaged (April 2000) and eight months after that, we were married (January 2001).
Nathan and I on the porch where we spent so much time in our pre-marriage relationship (taken August 2010)
I am so blessed that the Lord led me to Nathan. The fall season reminds me of God's grace to us both in allowing us to share our lives together. I look forward to many more years with my best friend. Thanks for reading our love story!