How We Met
Malia and I grew up one town apart from each other in Massachusetts. Our two towns shared youth sports programs, and eventually a high school. We were aware of one another before high school as she was a cheerleader and I played football growing up, but I don’t believe we exchanged words until Freshman year. I certainly thought she was beautiful from the start, while Malia claims she had a crush on me for a little bit until “I said something mean when she tried to flirt once” so she quickly moved on. We were in different social circles so we didn’t really start getting to know one another until our Junior year of high school. Our school did an annual Lip Syncing competition and since our Junior year happened to occur in the year 2009, Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” was the biggest song on the planet. A few buddies and I decided that we would take on the famous choreographed dance from the music video and enter the lip syncing competition. Knowing we were way out of our depth, we approached Malia about the possibility of her teaching us the dance. She was known for her dancing prowess, as she founded/captained the Hip Hop team at our school. We were a lost cause, but she acquiesced all the same.
For several weeks we would all meet after class to practice the dance, hearing the words “if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it” over and over again. I knew then that I liked it, but I never would have guessed that I would be putting on a ring on it 5 years (almost to the day!) later. Side note, we dominated the competition.
Still, Junior year came and went and Malia and I remained only as friends. Then in our senior year we just so happened to be placed in the same drama class. It was here that our relationship really began. One day our drama teacher assigned us to a short, two person play that we were to practice together for a few weeks and then perform for the school. I definitely did not mind the forced time together as it relieved a lot of the pressure of asking her out, and I certainly did not complain about the kissing scene that was a part of our short play! Needless to say we got to know each other during this time and began dating early on in our senior year of high school.
We graduated together in 2010. Since then, like any worthwhile relationship we’ve experienced our fair share of good times, bad times, trials and growth. I think that when people find out you married your high school sweet heart, they often think that you just got lucky and met your soul mate when you were young. Yes, we know that we are lucky, extremely lucky. However, to marry your high school sweet heart takes a lot of commitment, perseverance and grace. We had to become adults together, navigating the rough waters of teenage years, college, long distance relationships, break ups, make ups etc. etc. etc.
The truth is we are lucky, because we found the one thing that enabled our love for one another to endure through all these years; Jesus. No doubt many just rolled their eyes, but the simple truth is without finding and growing in our faith together, there’s no way we would have ever made it to our wedding day. We began attending our church together in late 2010, it was there we met the people who would become our closest friends and family for the rest of our lives. It was this grace-filled, loving community that kept us accountable to one another and to The Lord as we grew into adulthood. Over the next years years we grew in our faith, maturity and love. Eventually, Malia and I decided to commit our relationship to marriage and I began plotting my proposal…
how they asked
From the moment we met, Malia and I bonded over one thing more than anything else; our love of dogs. My puggle pup Rudy was 2 years old when Malia and I started dating and Malia quickly became his mommy. From the moment I decided to marry Malia, I knew I wanted to incorporate a new puppy for her somehow. My original idea was to bring her to the shelter she used to work at on her birthday in March to pick out a new pup. When they brought him/her out, the ring would be on his/her collar. But as fate would have it, I was browsing the internet one day in early February and discovered a little black puggle pup for sale in a nearby town.
I went to see her right away, she was the cutest little puppy girl and she was the last of her litter. I was in love immediately and knew that she was the dog for Malia and me. I brought her home the next day with no idea of how I was actually going to propose. After all, I thought I had a whole month to plan but you can’t really hide a puppy for a month, especially the world’s cutest one. I ended up pulling together the plan in just two days.
On Sunday February 9th I brought Malia to her Dad’s house for lunch after church. Very standard stuff. Little did she know however that my brother Devin and our two best friends and photographers Anna and David would be showing up any minute with their cameras and a letter. The letter explained to her that I had gotten her a gift but that she had to go on a scavenger hunt first. Our first stop was our high school where we met and began dating, then to our favorite restaurant and date place, then to our church where our relationship grew strong and matured, and then finally to my house, where the new puppy awaited. Each letter that she found was wrapped in a ribbon with a dog tag tied to it. Each dog tag was engraved with a significant date in our relationship; our first date, our anniversary, the day we committed ourselves to marriage etc.
Finally when she walked into the house she came upon the puppy who was wearing a tag engraved with the words “Will You Marry Me?”
I got down on one knee, pulled out the ring, she screamed “YES” and 6 months later we were standing at the alter committing our lives to one another until death does us part. It’s been nearly two years that we have been married and I can honestly say committing my life to Malia is the second best decision I have ever made. We would both agree that committing our lives to Christ will forever be our first best decision. Like I said, were it not for the grace of God we would have never been married at all.
P.S. we named the puppy Lady. Lady & Rudy are loving siblings and our pride and joy!