I love to hear stories about how couples first met. Karen and I hosted a table at a celebration of marriage event, at our church, last Saturday evening. We were supposed to ask “ice breaker” questions. I asked the couples around our table how each of them met.
One couple met on a blind date. I asked the wife if she was nervous leading up to the date. She said, “No…I was excited to see who God wanted me to meet.”
If we really think about it, didn’t God set us all up on a blind date to find our spouse?
I wasn’t a Christian when I first met Karen. I didn’t have a girlfriend at the time. As a matter of fact, I had never dated before I met Karen. Oh…I had a few crushes on a few girls in school including an attractive, young math teacher in 8th grade. But I never had the guts to ask any of them out. I mean, what if they said “NO!” My delicate psyche couldn’t handle the rejection.
My first taste of being shunned by a person of the opposite sex happened while in elementary school. A group of cute girls were playing square ball at recess. I asked if I could join them but they bluntly replied that they didn’t play with boys. I was okay with that. When I played basketball at recess the guys didn’t let any girls play with us either. But when the same girls let the most popular boy in 3rd grade play square ball with them just a few minutes later, I drowned my sorrow by drinking a second pint of milk for lunch. Needless to say, my ability to bond with girls took a big hit.
Fast forward to early in my Sophomore year of high school. While many of my male friends were experiencing the dating roller coaster ride, I was enjoying my freedom. I didn’t have to worry about writing love letters, taking up valuable time talking on the phone and spending my hard-earned money on girls. I was free to come home after school and watch all my favorite shows on T.V. like my favorite horror soap opera, Dark Shadows or the cool new science fiction show, Star Trek.
I also didn’t have to worry about some girl being jealous about the true love of my life…Basketball. I caressed my basketball the same way some of my friends caressed their girlfriend’s br….oh, you know what I mean.
On December 3rd, 1973 I played in my first varsity basketball game. I was beyond excited when during the game I made my first varsity basket on a free throw. I didn’t even care that I missed my second free throw…My destiny was set. I knew I would go on to play for the Washington Huskies and then the Seattle Supersonics.
After the game, my best friend suggested we celebrate my achievement by attending the high school dance in the cafeteria. I declined with a hearty “No Way! Steve, are you joking? And miss tonight’s episode of Star Trek.”
Well being the stubborn Norwegian he was, he wasn’t taking “no” for an answer. He and another friend literally dragged me to the dance.
As I entered the dark room my senses were assaulted by blinding strobe lights pulsating to the rhythm of the local bands drummer. The lingering aroma of todays sloppy joes and surprise casserole now reeked of testosterone and musk cologne. I dodged sweating bodies bouncing off each other as I weaved my way to the darkest corner of the cafeteria. Once I had arrived, I thought I could hide out until a slow dance and then sneak out undetected.
To my surprise, a skinny girl in glasses stepped on my foot as she walked past me. She didn’t turn to apologize but I noticed a cute girl with long jet-black hair giggling beside the foot stomper. I stared at the shapely, giggling girl hoping to shame her into a solemn state of somberness. It didn’t work.
Eventually I returned my focus on escaping this dungeon of depravity. To my utter amazement, the same skinny girl walked back in front of me and stomped on my foot…again! Did she apologize this time? No…and this time the girl with the beautiful eyes was practically rolling on the floor with laughter.
I had it! I walked straight up to the girl who was making fun of me, the one with the stunning smile and asked her if she wanted to dance. I didn’t realize what I had done until I was holding the prettiest girl in the room close to me while we slow danced.
We danced every dance together until the band quite playing and we said good-night. I was walking on air when I found my Mom’s car. My aunt was sitting in the front seat next to my Mom. When I got into the back seat of the car, my aunt asked me if I had met the girl of my dreams. I remember saying, “I don’t know…maybe.”
Later, Karen shared with me that as she got into her mother’s car, her aunt was in the front seat. She asked Karen if she had met her future husband.
We dated all through high school and two years of community college before we got married on September 2, 1977. After almost forty-years of marriage, her hair isn’t long and it isn’t jet black. It’s the most beautiful shade of gray I can imagine. Her eyes still sparkle and her smile is still stunning. She still laughs at me occasionally and when she does, whatever dark corner of my mind I’ve hidden away to suddenly fills with the most wonderful light I can think of.
Do you see the light of Jesus radiating from your spouse?