Mariah and Joshua

Image 1 of Mariah and Joshua

How We Met

Joshua and I originally met on a mission to Haiti where we both thought nothing more of the week we spent together. I thought he was a short, funny kid and he thought I seemed nice. Fast forward six years later… I was moving back to Michigan after graduating from nursing school in Chicago and he was in his senior year in my home town at Hope College. I had decided love was a lost cause and figured I’d get married when I was thirty. Thankfully, my best friend (shout of out to Dani!) made me promise I had say, “yes” when anyone asked me out on a date! After all, I’d been out of the dating scene for a while due to a relationship that ended much earlier and figured I had no idea how to talk to guys, so why not get a free meal?! After some scheming from my sister, Jessica, and brother-in-law, Kendall, Josh finally asked me to go out on a date June 2016. I was pretty upset I’d promised to the “yes” to dating rule and almost cancelled our first date because I truly had no intentions of starting anything.

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We were babies! I remember leaving that first date thinking that Josh was so sweet, but since I was set on not dating he would make a great friend! Oh boy was I wrong! One date later and I still was completely shut off to really dating! A few weeks later, I joined Jessica on her church’s middle school retreat to babysit my sweet nephew, Oliver. Josh so happened to be on the same retreat as a counselor and it didn’t take long for me to realize what a stud he was! Everyone kept making comments about us two and by the end of the weekend I was intrigued and figured I better get my act together and stop ignoring him!

Image 3 of Mariah and Joshua

A week later it was my birthday and I decided to bike to a place along the lake called the fire-dock. I was sitting on the bench enjoying the lake and my morning when Josh surprised me with my favorite mint chocolate chip ice cream! After that, I knew I was definitely smitten. The fire-dock is where I feel in love with Josh since we spent countless hours there! That fall I moved back to Illinois to begin my nursing career downtown Chicago and he moved to Grand Rapids to starting his new job. Our weekends became adventures of driving back and forth to visit. I knew it was real when we met up half way between our homes in a sketchy little pizza joint and Josh told me he wanted to go “one for one”. Aka I was the first and only girl he ever wanted to date and marry! A week lately he sweetly told me he loved me and the rest is history (:

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how they asked

Since I was living in Chicago, Joshua had mentioned that every time I came home to Michigan it was a possible weekend of getting engaged! (Hello to having my nails done every week for months!) The day before he actually proposed we had gone cross country skiing and I was convinced it was going to be the big moment! Halfway through our skiing adventure, I realized it wasn’t going to happen and completely wrote of this weekend being “the one”. Besides, some of my older siblings were out of town and his siblings were away at university, so I knew it wouldn’t happen without them since family is so important to both of us! The next day, Sunday, February 5, 2017, I figured it was a normal day. My fingernails started to chip, and after church I put on gross leggings, a comfy big sweatshirt, and pulled back my perfectly curled hair! We had decided to spend lunch at my parents with the siblings that were around and head over to his parents house, who lived 5 minutes away, to enjoy the afternoon. Me, being completely clueless dragged my feet leaving my parents house. Unbeknownst to me, Josh told my siblings to pretend they were leaving to try and get me out the door! So, after kissing them all goodbye we headed out to what would be the best moment of our lives! As we drove I conveniently brought about our spot along the fire-dock and mentioned we should go sit on our bench since we hadn’t been back there since last summer.

Image 5 of Mariah and Joshua

Lucky for Josh, that was exactly where he had planned on proposing and silly me had helped him out big time since he hadn’t figured out how to casually go to our spot without me becoming suspicious! As we pulled up there was a big red truck and a sweet old man with a cane standing by our bench. I figured it was gonna be to cold (it was 18 degrees!) and we were already late to his parents, so I mentioned we should just leave. For some odd reason he wanted to wait out the old man to leave! The man eventually left and we ventured out and sat on our bench. Josh became pretty quiet, and me still being oblivious thought he must be freezing and waiting for me to say, “let’s go”, so I grabbed his hand o leave. As we stood up he told me, “wait”, I said, “I’m freezing”, and then I’ll never forget the way he looked at me. His eyes were full of tears and the most sincere gaze as he grabbed both of my hands. He told me I was the woman for him and that when he talked to my dad he had promised him the four things my dad had been praying for my husband.

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It finally dawned on me what was happening and I lost it. When he got on one knee I’m pretty sure I yelled, “no way!!” in sheer disbelief and joy! I’ll never forget the moment he said, “Mariah Christine, will you marry me?”. I finally uttered the words “of course” and lots of hugging and celebration dances progressed. His friends Erica & Joey popped out with pictures, flowers, and mint chocolate chip ice cream.

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He casually led my beaming self to his car and within a few minutes we were driving up his driveway to both of our families cheering. Lots of tears were shed, his dad prayed over us, my dad welcomed him to the family as a son, my niece and nephews had “she said yes” shirts and we all spent time overjoyed as we retold the story. We’re getting married this summer in a lovely garden backyard that is nestled a few minutes between both of our houses! Being able to look at the love of my life and know he’s mine forever is truly the greatest gift of all time. p.s. He picked out the most beautiful ring I have ever seen!

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