Anna and Stephen

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How We Met

We met in 2004, when we were both 14, at Christian Youth In Action (CYIA). It was a summer ministry program that recruited teens from the entire state of Wyoming to teach Bible clubs and camps all summer. We became friends quickly that summer but were from different sides of the state (I was on the east side of the mountain and he was on the west).

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This was back when we didn’t all have cellphones, so exchanging numbers wasn’t really on our minds. When we went back to CYIA in 2005, he didn’t know who I was. I made such a big stink over him forgetting me that he swore to never forget me again.

Eventually, we did get cell phones, and we communicated through texts, emails, and Facebook. We spent every summer together for 5yrs, like really good friends. After graduating from high school, I started attending college in the far southeast corner of the state.

Stephen’s family had been struggling, and he started moving around trying to figure out who he was and what he wanted to do with his life. Our friendship started to fizzle. It never completely died, but we didn’t keep in as close contact as we had before.

Then, in 2018, I was struggling emotionally with different things. It came through on my social media, and when Stephen saw it he felt the urge to reach out. We started off slowly, relearning about each other. It went from texting once a month, to once a week, to every spare minute we had.

In early 2020, he wanted to come over the mountain to see me, and made it very clear he wanted to go to the movies only as friends, nothing more. It had been years since we had seen each other in person, so it was awkward at first, but it wasn’t long before we were right back in sync. He started coming over the mountain every few months to get coffee or to help with my fundraiser event for work.

He finally asked me out in October of 2020. I said yes, and he started coming over the mountain to see me every chance he got. Our first date was navigating a blizzard to eat at my favorite sushi place in town. After 7 months or dating, and many canceled dates due to horrible weather, Stephen moved to my side of the state and got a job in town to work toward our future together.

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How They Asked

Stephen had started thinking of proposing before I even knew I was ready for marriage. He tried to covertly figure out my ring size by asking my younger sister. Unbeknownst to him, my sister turned around and texted me, “Hey, what’s your ring size? Just curious.” Knowing my sister well enough to know she had no interest in buying me a ring, I knew that Stephen was the one looking for intel.

I knew he wanted it to be a surprise, and I knew that we still had time before he would propose, so I sent my sister my ring size and kept it secret that I knew what was going on.

Two months later, Stephen and I celebrated our one year anniversary. I had told him, on several occasions, that I didn’t want to get engaged when we had been dating less than a year. So, he decided that the one year anniversary mark was right on target. He took me back to my favorite sushi place, then we went back to my house.

We were standing in my mudroom (laundry room), and he was getting ready to say goodnight, except he was more nervous than normal. He started muttering and fumbling with his coat. Then, he told me not to freak out. He said, “Don’t freak out,” three times as he slowly dropped to his knee. He gave me a beautiful speech about how he felt about me and how he wanted nothing more than to make me his wife. Then he opened a ring box.

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The light from the ring box had come undone, so when the lid opened, all I saw was a blinding light. I chuckled as I told him I couldn’t see anything and he panicked trying to put the light back in place. Then, he tried again, and said, “You don’t have to answer now, but I am leaving this here with you and you put it on when you’re ready.”

I didn’t say “yes” in that moment. I knew once I did that life was going to start spiraling into wedding plans and family drama, so we waited a month. Stephen and I started making plans ahead of time, and discussed important topics that everyone should discuss before marriage. On November 28, 2021, we let our family know we were engaged.

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We will be getting married on August 27, 2022. Things are chaotic and our families are messes, but we have been brought together after 18yrs.

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