My heart has been ready to be a wife since I was 16 years old. It ached to be known and to know another in a faithful, lifelong commitment. A couple relationships came and went, with a bit of heartache along the way. I entered adult life watching most friends my age get married, start careers, buy homes, have kids. Until finally at the age of 28, it was my turn.
I met Seth in March 2011 when we both signed up for a Spring Break mission trip to Dearborn, Michigan with Campbellsville University. Because it was a small campus, I knew he was a crazy outgoing guy who played Ultimate Frisbee every Sunday, but we’d never officially met. Our road trip was about six and a half hours and by the time we arrived to Dearborn, it felt like I had known Seth for years.
We stayed friends after this trip and even after graduation. Our friendship was very much on again off again depending on the phase of life, but when we would reconnect, we could pick back up right where we left off. He attended my international student parties. I was with him the day he discovered his love for rock climbing. He was a huge support for me by phone and text when I moved to Houston. He was my plus-one any time I asked. There were some feelings mixed in, but we, well really, I never gave them a chance. There was even a year or so that I stopped speaking to Seth altogether because he told me he wanted to have ten children one day and I couldn’t handle that. Thankfully that hiatus also passed, and thankfully, he was just joking. At that time, I didn’t want to take the risk. I was in independent woman, “I only need a man for health insurance” kind of mode.
In early September, Seth was my plus-one to a wedding I was in. I walked him out of the reception and as we were saying goodbye, with colorful outdoor lanterns hanging overhead and music playing in the background, he asked, “This is so romantic. Are you really going to let this moment pass?” I giggled like a little girl, and I let the moment pass. I didn’t fully accept that I had feelings for Seth until he travelled to Ultimate Frisbee nationals with a girl on his team, and I was terrified they were going to fall in love on that trip. I remember typing out message after message asking him to just come home and ask me out. I don’t think he believed me when I told him that I wanted to be more than friends because I had been so wishy washy in the past. It still took us some time before we chose to be together. I didn’t want to lose him if things didn’t work out. My college roommate talked some sense into me one night and said, “It doesn’t really matter if you’re risking a great friendship. Because if it doesn’t work out, you all won’t stay good friends after you marry someone else. And if it does work out, you’ll marry your best friend.”
And so I did. We started officially dating October 29, 2016. We were engaged January 12, 2017. And we secretly got married on February 25, 2017. A week after we started dating, Seth attended a Somali Peace Feast with me. We had homecooked Somali food and had some real conversations with some new Muslim friends about how we can bridge the gap between beliefs, cultures, and more to bring peace to our community. That night we both knew that our forever had begun, and that it would likely move at a quick pace. Thankfully, my family saw it too. Soon after we started dating, my mom said that my Grammy asked if my sister and I would be having a double wedding the next summer. But that was too far away. With my sister living in Ecuador, I knew that I couldn’t have a wedding without her. I also knew that I didn’t want to wait. We had waited for each other long enough.
On February 25, 2017, I moved all my belongings into “Squirrel House,” the man cave home that Seth lived in. We went to my college roommate’s daughter’s birthday party. Then I left early to get my hair done, change into my wedding dress, and we got married. Since my dad is a pastor, he married us at my lifelong church with only our parents and two good friends to video and take pictures. We also facetimed my sister in from Ecuador, so she didn’t miss it. I had decorated the second-floor foyer with paper lanterns and a simple backdrop. There was an aisle runner from the elevator to the altar. I made my own bouquet and bought a $200 dress. I got ready on the first floor, and when it was time, I rode the elevator up by myself. My dad met me as the doors opened and walked me down the aisle as the Bridal Chorus played on my i-Phone. We were both so excited and giggly the entire time; I don’t think I’ve ever been that happy. I forgot to prepare the traditional wedding exit song, so we hummed it as we walked down the aisle as husband and wife. It was simple and perfect. I can’t imagine doing it any other way.
Now, there were many people who were unhappy that we didn’t share our wedding experience. But we made up for it through four wedding showers and two wedding receptions. Both receptions were so uniquely memorable. For our church reception, we asked married guests to send in their own wedding photo with some marriage advice. These were posted all around the room for everyone to view. We also asked that it be potluck style and that took me back to my more traditional Baptist roots with food and friends from my whole life. Our other reception was close to the wedding ceremony I had dreamed of. Teaching ESL and introducing my students and friends to Americana culture has been most of my adult life, so I knew I wanted them to be involved on my special day. We held a mock wedding for my ESL students. We re-enacted what a traditional American wedding looks like including bridesmaids and groomsmen, flower girls and a ring bearer, cutting the cake, etc. To jazz things up more internationally, our guests were asked to bring food from their country to share and to wear their native dress. There was also an option to get henna. My favorite part of the evening was when one of my Sudanese students told Seth that if he doesn’t take care of me, she would beat him with an okra stick. She was so serious, and then followed it up with, “Thank you for inviting me. Have a good night!”
As of today, we have been married for 1 year and 5 months, and there’s not been a dull second. In that time we have lived in three homes, travelled to three states and through the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador, survived surgery and therapy, and had multiple job transitions. On a more regular basis, we wrestle in our homemade dojo; we watch all kinds of alien weirdness on Marvel television and movies; we are regulars at the Mexican restaurant near our house; we now have a rock wall on our back deck. My life is so fun and full with Seth. I couldn’t ask for a better partner in life. He’s the most real, down to earth, honest person I know. He is selfless and positive and always builds me up. No one will ever know the extent of which he takes care of me. Seth deserves the best of everything in this life. I adore my husband, and I want to live in this mushy gushy love bubble for the rest of our lives.