How We Met: Tanner and I met when I was a senior in high school and him a freshman in college at High Street church. Neither of us remembers the exact day or even the season that we met, but we know that we both had a mutual respect for each other from day one. This respect carried our friendship over the next four years and prevented us from ever considering each other as relationship material during this time.
Tanner was always a step ahead of me in leadership with the college ministry at church so I always saw him as someone to look up to, honor, and model my own leadership after. We completed many projects and spent a few nights baking together for the other leaders and I always had a blast with him. Tanner and I regularly had amazing conversation during these times and we felt so at ease around each other… yet still no thought of a relationship.
To me, Tanner was always out of my league. He was a grade above me, my direct leader, and way too kind, sweet, and mature. I have never met a guy quite like Tanner; so full of wisdom, joy, and integrity. Tanner knew what to say when I was confused, upset, and doubting myself as a leader. The more I got to know him, the goofier he got and I started to see glimpses of the smile that makes me weak today… but still no thought of a relationship.
Tanner is the man I never knew I was allowed to pray for. Fast forward to January 26, 2014, and we had our first conversation during a pickup basketball game and we both thought, “well, maybe.” The problem was that I just got out of a long relationship and was in no position to date—Tanner waited. Like a true gentleman, he gave me the time both I and other people needed to heal. He made his intentions that he had every desire to pursue a relationship with me very clear, but he waited.
This waiting period was one of the most difficult of my life. I knew what I wanted, but I also knew what I needed. As time went on, we slowly began hanging out and testing the waters. Though it was out of order, we had our first kiss on May 19, and let me tell you what, fireworks are real people. He left me breathless and I began to get really nervous that this was going to turn into more than I ever imagined it could.
Our first “official” date was on May 26 to the St. Louis Cardinals and I continued to struggle with how people would perceive our relationship, but Tanner was a rock with so much confidence. He continued his patience and never pushed. It took me no time to know that this guy is for real and that this would be my last boyfriend. Tanner on the other hand took more time—as he is a much more logical thinker than I am—so it was my turn to be patient.
Patience has been a theme of our relationship, but I do not think this was a coincidence. God has had his hand in every aspect of our relationship, and I know this because Tanner is an incredible leader and man of God. Our love for each other and for God has only continued to grow throughout our relationship, and it is for this very reason that I know Tanner is the man I want to spend my life beside.
how they asked: Tanner wanted so badly for the proposal to be a surprise, but when a girl is waiting on a guy like him, I’m basically wishing it will happen every single day. Both our brothers got married this summer and I knew he wouldn’t want to take away from either of these days, which put the proposal somewhere in the middle of June.
We also had many of our weekends booked, which again narrowed down the list of potential dates. Tanner knew I would be guessing though so he tried to throw me off—he actually did a pretty good job. One of my best friends was in from out of town on this particular day of June 12 so she scheduled breakfast with me before she headed back home. Apparently Tanner set this up so that he would assure I was awake and wouldn’t schedule anything else.
When she came to get me for breakfast, I was all ready to go and super hungry for some good food. To my surprise, however, I was intercepted by Tanner before getting in the car to go. Though I knew instantly what was about to happen, my hunger got the best of me and I was slightly disappointed that I wasn’t going to get food with one of my best friends (don’t worry, I got over it quickly). He told me to put on some athletic clothing and I could guess we were going hiking simply because it is one of our favorite things to do together.
One of our first “unofficial” dates was hiking and one of our most meaningful dates was hiking in Arkansas at the very place he would propose to me later in the day. Now Tanner is not one I would consider to have “nerves of steel.” He still gets nervous just coming to get me for a date sometimes. Last time he surprised me, I thought his heart was going to jump out of his chest, but today was different. When he surprised me at the car, he was calm and collected.
Even in the two hour drive to the Centerpoint trailhead, he acted like it was just another day. Conversation was normal, singing in the car was normal, and his hands weren’t shaking like they normally would when he was planning something big. The day was perfect for a hike. It sprinkled only slightly for a few minutes, but this was more a chance to cool off than an annoyance. When we got to our favorite place on the trail—Big Bluff—we sat and enjoyed the amazing views of the Buffalo River and the rolling hills of the Ozarks.
I thought for sure this is where he would propose. We lingered for a long time, sat and ate our Lunchables per hiking tradition, and had great conversation amidst some of God’s most incredible handiwork. As time went on, I realized that this may not be what he has planned for a proposal. “Maybe later today…maybe he has more planned…maybe this was a scheme to throw me off…he’s too calm right now anyway.” I got up and told him that we should probably head back, and as I walked away he grabbed my hand and pulled me in real close. It was then that I noticed his shaking hands, pounding heart, and nervous smile.
From here, my memory gets a little fuzzy from the excitement. After his incredibly sweet speech (that I actually remember most of), he got down on one knee and asked me the question that I had been praying to hear for months. He tied it all together with a double band, rose gold engagement ring that I still stare at constantly. This thing really shined out on the beautiful trail!
After we finally caught our breath, took some pictures, and he answered all the questions I’ve been dying to know (how they asked my dad, when he bought the ring, etc.), we headed back to the car to call and text all the people we loved the most. What I wasn’t expecting was to get a call from my new employer that I had received the job that I interviewed for the week prior. What a Friday—employed and engaged!
That night he took me to my favorite restaurant and I gave him a personalized book with reasons that I loved him and was thankful he asked me to be his wife (like I said, I had been really hoping for this). We finished the night with a surprise party that he planned with our closest friends and family. Apart from the actual engagement, this was my favorite part of the day and I’m so thankful he took the time to get everyone together.
I was so immersed in love from beginning to end of this day that I continually found myself crying with so much joy. Tanner is going to be my husband and best friend until the day I meet Jesus and this is a greater blessing than I knew existed. He makes me laugh deeper, love stronger, and dream bigger. He gives me courage to pursue my dreams and the comfort of knowing his arms are my home. He challenges me not to grow closer to himself, but to be more and more like Christ in every aspect of my life. To say life with Tanner is great is a total understatement, and I am thrilled that he has chosen me to be his wife.