I had a boyfriend all through my senior year of high school (I know, totally stupid) that was a good guy from a great family. We started dating in May of 1981, and by the end of that Summer I was head-over-heels. He was different from other young men. He was very strong in his convictions, almost pig-headed in my mind, and didn't swear or drink or do things that I saw a lot of other boys his age doing. Cute too. More like handsome, with thick brown hair and brown eyes. I was a lucky girl.
We graduated from high school in 1982 and I stayed in state to go to a small private college, while he went off to Utah to attend BYU. Remember, I was not a member of the church at this time, and didn't quite understand the draw of this place. After about 6 months we had a conversation on the phone that had this as the theme: I can't marry anyone outside the temple. Finally he was bold enough to challenge me to find out about his church, and why his family was close and focused and happy. I took him up on the challenge, and by January 1983 I was making the 2-hour drive from the Shenandoah Valley back to my home to have the missionary discussions with his family. It felt good and right, and even though my motivation, initially, was a future marriage, by the time I was baptized in July of 1983 I knew I had found what was right for me in my life.
We spent another semester apart, and by February 1984 he was off to Japan to serve a mission, and I was making plans to transfer to BYU, where I could be immersed in the gospel and the culture I had now become a part of. Of course, I also knew that after a time we would be reunited and eventually married. During those 2 years I wrote to my friend regularly, even a few times a week. I confided in him about my new faith and my feelings of commitment to him and to the church. It was a time of pure growth for me and I had purpose and plans.
Forward to May of 1986. The homecoming. I spent 6 weeks that summer in San Antonio, where his air force family now lived. It was dreamy and wonderful, and I felt the prospect of joining them becoming more and more real. We were engaged, and then I went home to finish the summer with my own family before heading back out to BYU for my senior year.
I stepped off the plane in Salt Lake, and he greeted me with anticipation. Me and my big permed hair, hoop earrings, and worn out jeans. Hey, it was the 80's and everyone was doing it! Before the week was over we had ordered and bought the diamond ring. The next day, to celebrate, we went to eat at his newly-married brother's place. Then it crashed. Within an hour of getting there he was sick to his stomach. He went outside and I followed. He looked at me and said it was over. He didn't feel like he should for someone who was getting married. He called it off, the day after the diamond. We both cried. I screamed at him (a first) which felt so weird because we never had arguments. He took me home and I did an immediate reassessment of my life. Finish school back home in Virginia? Move out of the complex where we both lived? Stay in bed for the rest of my life? After 5 years, and decisions that had changed my life forever, I was facing a new reality.
Six weeks of yuck. I stayed in bed a lot. I was starting my student teaching and it was all I could do to get through it and not melt into a pool. Really, it was bad. My almost-in-laws called me every few days to ask how I was. How do you feel about the church? Are you staying at BYU?
In mid-October my roommate, maybe out of sympathy, I think out of love for me, set me up on a blind date. He was funny and 100% attentive to me. He asked a lot of questions and told me about himself, so that by the end of the night I was happier than I had been in weeks. The fog was lifting and I felt hopeful. By Christmas I was getting flowers and phone calls back home, and by March we both used the "L" word. Married by July '87, he still calls himself my rebound. He may have been, but he loved me in a saving way, and I have been blessed to have him as my husband for these 24 years. I am blessed and loved and happy.