How We Met
Sitting here five years later, I can still remember the first time I saw her. We were in a crowded freshman dining hall. It was warm, sunny day in late August. We both unknowingly had the same mutual friend, and he had invited us both to eat with him. As I approached the table, I noticed that there were no seats beside my friend so I took the first open seat at the long table. Choosing that seat changed my life. Directly across from me was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. Before I even had the chance to try and slide in a quick joke or a witty line, I was interrupted by the type of strange encounter that could only happen freshman year of college. A girl just a few seats down, loudly began to tell a table full of strangers that she sleeps with a large knife because she’s afraid of her roommate. Immediately I looked across the table at Amanda and made the kind of eye contact that speaks a full conversation without saying a word. This look of disbelief and confusion we shared, created a bond that always gave us a joke to share when we saw each other. Over the next few months, we would see each other somewhat often around campus and with mutual friends. The next semester we took a night class together and during this class we sat side by side. We, like middle schoolers, wrote notes back and forth to each other. These notes were when I knew that Amanda would forever be special to me. Fast forward through that summer into fall, we moved into the same apartment building. Our roommates were all friends so we spent a lot of time together as a big group of friends. During this time our friendship grew to new levels. After finally getting up the nerve, I asked her on our first date. The date was an all-day ordeal at the US Open golf tournament. I was not only nervous while waiting to see if she would say yes, but I was nervous that since it was such a long event, she would decide she was no longer interested in me by the end of the day. She said yes to the date, and we had a perfect day together.
Since that day 3 years ago our relationship has been filled with the excitement of spring break trips, summer vacations, graduations, and countless events. We have been blessed with two loving families that have accepted both of us into their lives. Our families love spending time together and mostly now just travel as one huge family! We are so lucky to have a great group of friends that have supported us and always made sure that each day is filled with fun and excitement. Mostly the past 3 years has been filled with a love that I could have never imagined, and a story that fits together so perfectly that only God could have written.
how they asked
Over the 3 years of knowing Amanda and ultimately falling in love with her, I learned what things are most important to her. Family is first to Amanda and I have always admired how she never misses birthdays, family dinners, or holidays. Next, she loves pictures. Not just digital pictures, but actual printed and framed pictures. Lastly, when it is someone’s birthday, anniversary, holiday, or special day of any kind; she always goes out of her way to make people feel special, so I wanted to make it an event that she’d never forget. I wanted to incorporate these things into the proposal, because I wanted her to know how special she is to me. On top of all of these items on the check list, it was extremely important to me that the proposal be a complete SURPRISE.
As I started to ponder how I would propose I knew it would be difficult to check every box on my wish list for her. Luckily, I have two great families (mine and hers) that helped me play it out. On the other side of things, my family’s life long best friends own a jewelry store; so I knew the ring issue would be taken care of. Hardcore planning went into effect in January with repeated secret trips to the jewelry store. With the surprise of the engagement, coupled with a 30-minute drive to and from the store and the fact that we lived at the same college; I had to get very creative with my answers to exactly where I had been for hours. Unannounced to Amanda, a few months earlier I lured her parents to the jewelry store to get a head start on the ring hunt. I had her mom choose what ring she thought Amanda would like. It was almost unbelievable to me as I watched her select the same ring for Amanda that I already had on hold, so I knew I had made the right choice.
Next is where the families came into play. I knew she would want her entire family there. This meant grandparents as well. Sounds easy, except we are in North Carolina and her grandmother is in Ohio. Amanda’s parents had to secretly set up a flight for her to fly in the day before. Amanda calls her grandmother every day, so yet another creative story was needed to confirm why grandma wasn’t answering her phone. I wanted to propose at the beach, because it’s a place that very special to both of us. So not only did we have to fly in grandma, we must get both of our families to the beach without Amanda suspecting anything unusual.
To incorporate the pictures, I decided to print and frame numerous pictures of us throughout the life of our relationship. The pictures were lined up on the boardwalk leading down to the ocean telling our story and ushering in a new chapter of our lives.
As we started our walk down the boardwalk, the setting couldn’t have been more perfect and she had absolutely no idea what was going on. As we got nearer to the framed pictures, she started to ask me what was going on. She was confused and shocked. As we turned the final corner and had full view of the ocean, our families were on the sand waiting. She grabbed my hand and I led her down to the sand. As I got down on my knee on the sand under full sunshine, with our families watching and the love of my life in front of me, I knew this was the happiest day of my life and the beginning of our happily ever after.
The bible was my grandfather’s who passed away in 2012. This bible was given to him by the US Army while he fought in the Korean War. Me and him were very close and I carry his name “Joseph” as my middle name (Bennett Joseph Johnson). I read two passages from his bible. Jeremiah 29:11 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.
One of the first gifts I gave Amanda was a gold necklace, and I had Jer 29:11 engraved on the back. The verse talks about hope and a future and to me, she was my hope and future that God had promised me. We since that gift always reminded each other of this verse countless times via cards and other gifts. The other verse to me fully embodies what Christian love is. God lays it all out there very clearly what kind of partner you should marry and what types of characteristics that each of you should hold for each other. I believe that me and Amanda both have these qualities and feel the same way about each other.