How We Met
Zach and I met in 8th grade at Brink Junior High. At the time, Zach was a baby faced, goofy teenage boy that filmed silly Youtube videos, and I was an awkward, shy “rocker” teenage girl (RIP to my purple boots, raccoon eyes, and band t-shirts). Zach and I had two classes together that year, but my best friend was in love with Zach, Zach was in love with someone else, and I was in love with the thought of being in love. One fateful day during football season, I got in an argument with a girl in our class about college football. The argument was about whether the University of Oklahoma or Oklahoma State University was the better team and who had the better fans. At the time, I was an OSU fan. I began arguing with the girl about how OSU was better. Quickly, Zach stepped in on my side and the conversation ended in laughter. (The funny thing is, the other girl later ended up being one of my sorority sisters at OU… oops sorry Kennedy). We doubt she remembers this, but we sure do! Somehow, him interjecting with his goofy self stuck with me. Zach claims he thought I was cute at the time, but I highly doubt that. The Fateful Facebook Message Fast forward a year and one boyfriend and multiple girlfriends later, we were now second semester freshmen at Westmoore High School.
We had seen each other around school, but didn’t talk much due to the other relationships. As my first breakup occurred, I posted all the details on Facebook (so much teenage angst). Zach, being the sweetheart he is, innocently messaged me on Facebook that night asking how I was. Well, that message turned into an all night conversation, and I eventually got up the nerve to ask Zach for his number. At this point, we only thought of each other as “acquaintances” and the messages were in no way meant to lead to more. Zach was hung up on another girl, and I had my first heart break. After we exchanged numbers, Zach texted me our first goodnight text (a tradition that has been maintained until this day). The next day, the texting resumed and gradually became flirtier. Later that same week, for the first time all freshman year, Zach and I ran into each other in the hallway, so naturally, I ran away from him. From then until the end of the semester, I avoided Zach at all costs, but maintained flirting with him via text. The first time I had an inkling that Zach might like me was when he went to baseball banquet with another girl, and texted me that he wished it was me instead. The texting continued into the summer with me busy dancing and Zach playing summer league baseball. The First Date Finally, we decided to hang out with each other. We planned for my parents to drive them (lol we were 15 years old, okay) to the Warren Theater to watch “The A-team”. As we walked up to the popcorn stand, as friends, the cashier claimed, “Y’all are such a cute couple!”.
My face turned bright red and Zach, for the first time in his life, was silent. The “friend meet up” went well, and Zach was a gentleman. The next day, Zach left for football camp. One night, he finally had the courage to tell me, “I like you”. Of course, I over analyzed this message, and convinced myself that he meant as a friend. So instead of telling him my feelings, I replied, “Well I hope so ;)”… The first date was obviously great… The First “Yes” That summer, the conversations continued and the feelings began. Eventually, Zach dropped the other girl, and finally, three months after the “I like you text”, Zach asked me to be his girlfriend on August 8, 2010. The place? His parent’s back porch. Of course, I said yes! At this point, we knew 8/8/10 would be a special date, but we didn’t realize how special it would stay. Friday Night Lights & Faith A week later, I turned 16, got my dream car, and had my dream boyfriend, a football player!!! I began to love life and realized I needed to hold on to this special guy. Zach just liked having a cute girlfriend he could bring M&Ms and who liked watching him play football. I went to most of his games and we both watched college football together on Saturdays.
Eventually, the topic of faith came up. I invited Zach to come to church with me after he confessed he believed in the Lord but didn’t truly know what that meant. We spent every Sunday together at church and then at my house doing homework. Sundays were our favorite days together, and we grew in our relationship with each other because we were growing in our relationship with Jesus. Shortly after I shared my testimony with Zach and he attended church on a weekly basis, Zach committed his life to Christ. I realized I really had hit the jackpot. Zach was thankful that I helped lead him to eternity with Jesus Christ. There is no doubt this bond is what has kept Zach and I together through all these years. The next few years were a dream. Zach and I were inseparable. We fell in love with each other, and never thought otherwise. I only missed one football game during Junior and Senior year, and skipped all but one of his baseball games… Zach and I truly had the ideal high school relationship that is only seen in movies. A nerdy girl fell in love with the football captain, and life was perfect.
In fact, senior year, I was nominated for homecoming queen. Yet another dream had been fulfilled because of Zach! My mom, grandma, and great aunt, had all walked the Moore stadium field as homecoming attendants. I had only hoped to be able to follow in their footsteps, and Zach made that possible! Graduation and College Prior to graduation in 2013, our senior class voted on class awards. Zach and I were honored to be voted as the couple that was “Most likely to get married”. We believed we had set a great example of what true love meant to our fellow classmates. As senior year came to a close, I decided to attend the University of Oklahoma and Zach committed to playing football at Oklahoma Baptist University. The two schools were only an hour away, so we had optimism that our relationship would continue. College was quite a shell-shock to our previously 24/7 relationship. Zach had a grueling football practice schedule, and I was absorbed with all the requirements of being a sorority girl and student.
We decided to take a break to associate to our new lives. The break did not last long. A few weeks later, Zach and I were back together and had a more mature understanding and love for each other. This is when we truly fell in love with each other. We appreciated each others’ quirks, passions, and schedules like never before. We realized we had everything we had ever prayed for right in our hands, and at this time, we realized we couldn’t live without each other. The rest is history. Zach and I lived our own lives at our own schools, but always made each other a priority. We lived for football games every Saturday, and sorority date parties on Fridays so we could have an excuse to see each other. There is so much more to say about our relationship developing through college, but there’s not as much drama through those years. All that matters is we love each other. Zach proposed on July 21, 2017, answering yet another dream of mine, and will soon make me a football coach’s wife, my final dream. We cannot wait to start our lives together, have babies (in like 10 years), and continue growing in our relationship with the Lord.
how they asked
July 21, 2017 Zach and I have spent our relationship on the football field. When we began dating our sophomore year of high school, Zach was already playing on varsity at our large high school, and I had been a football fan since the day I was born. When we started dating, I knew I had it all. It had been my dream to have a boyfriend who was a football player! Through high school and college, I rarely missed a game. I was always one of the first people in the stadium and one of the last to leave. Our lives have revolved around football season since the day we began dating, and will continue to revolve around it. Zach is currently a coach at his college, and plans to continue coaching for a long time. I even joke around that I love football more than I love him! Needless to say, football rules our lives and we like it that way. Since Zach and I had been dating so long (over 7 years now), and I just graduated college, I figured he would propose sometime this summer. I told him that I needed around a year to plan my dream wedding! Though I knew it would be at some point this summer, I was oblivious to the date and the way he planned on doing it. The day after our proposal, I was going to be leaving for a family vacation to Destin, Florida.
My little sister graduated from high school around the same time I graduated from college, so my parents wanted to take us to the beach along with my aunts and uncle and grandparents to celebrate. The week leading up to the vacation, my parents told us we had some pre-vacation gifts to add to our graduation gift. This was not unusual to me because my parents like to give surprises and celebrate every milestone. Obliviously, I asked my sister what she thought it was and she acted just as curious. The first night, my parents gave us snorkel sets. I was so excited because we love to adventure and owning our own snorkel gear would allow us to explore wherever we were. That same day, my sorority little had asked me to go with her to get my nails done. This was a requirement for me for the proposal because I wanted my hands to look pretty for my Instagram post. The nail date did not raise any suspicions, though, because my little and I had gotten our nails done together before and I hadn’t seen her in a while. I left that day as oblivious as I had been all week.
The next day, my dad said he wanted my sister and I to get our nails done for the beach. Since I had already gotten my nails done with my little, his plan changed and told us to get pedicures. Again, this was not unusual for me because my mom, sister, and I would typically get manicures and pedicures before we left on any of our vacations. Finally, on Friday the 21st, my mom warned us early in the day that we would be going to a super nice dinner so we needed to dress up. I began to get curious at this point because we don’t usually go to fancy meals. My family and I would rather save the money and take an adventure than spend a ton on food. I ignored my suspicion, however, because not long after that I looked on my best friend Emily’s snapchat and saw that she was still in Austin reading a book during her lunch break (she later told me she had been planning this post for weeks because she knew that it would throw me off; she actually posted it on the plane and made sure to include the geotag, what a smart gal). I knew there was no way Zach would propose without Emily there, so I just got ready and calmed my racing heart.
As the time for dinner approached, my parents told my sister and I that we would be blindfolded so it would be a surprise as to where we were going. Surprisingly, I was not suspicious of this. Again, my parents have always been big on surprises and take every chance they can to build up the surprise. I figured this blindfolding was just another surprise trick. We drove around for a few minutes and I tried to map out in my head the direction we were going. On the ride, my stomach started flipping because I began to grow suspicious as we never got on the highway to head to the city. There are no nice restaurants anywhere near our house, and I knew that, so I started realizing we were not headed to dinner. Finally, the long drive ended (even though we were only in the car for ten minutes) and my mom got me out of the car, still blindfolded. As I stepped out in the windy, hot Oklahoma weather, I heard a familiar sound: a series of flags hitting the flagpoles. My stomach dropped as I realized I knew that sound was of the flags outside my high school football stadium. I quickly realized what this meant. I was finally allowed to remove my blindfold, and as I did, I saw the most handsome man standing in front of the stadium in a brand new suit with the biggest smile I had ever seen.
I exclaimed, “I knew it!” and immediately began to bawl. As he hugged me, he asked if he could pray over us and our future, which made me cry even more. My dream man was standing in front of me, and the day I had been waiting for the past seven years was finally here. After we finished praying, he walked me into our stadium. As we were walking, I started having flashbacks of all the memories, wins, and losses we had on that field, and I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect setting. I glanced at the man that was walking me past our concession stand and down the stairs to the field, and the image of the baby faced boy that I started dating so long ago flashed on his now manly, bearded face. I had spent nearly half of my life with him already, and I realized I would get to spend the rest of it with him as well. My tears continued to flow. After so many memories played through my head I snapped back to reality because I knew I wanted to live in the present moment. I noticed people standing on the field and I began crying even harder as their faces started to come into focus. We finally reached the field and walked to the 50 yard line. He told me, “Let’s go back to when we were walking down this mark 5 years ago during homecoming”.
I looked up, and seven of our best friends were lined up with important pictures of us through our seven years together. We stopped at each friend, and as we reached each one, Zach described why the picture they were holding was important to us and what it meant for our future. He said the sweetest things and we walked along memory lane of our relationship. We began at the first picture together when we were only 15 years old, then through high school and our junior and senior proms, to our college years together and finally to a picture from his last football game where I wore his last name on my shirt. I had no idea in that picture that I would be taking that last name so soon. Finally, we got to the end of our line of friends and our parents and siblings were standing with a picture of a silhouette of a bride and a groom, signifying our future.
At this moment, he got down on one knee, pulled out the ring, and asked me the question I had been dreaming of since I was born. “Paxton Ashley Martin, will you marry me?”. In front of our friends and family, in our favorite place in the world, all I could see was him and the ring (which he designed and selected the diamond himself). I clapped like a giddy five year old and exclaimed, “Yes! Yes, yes, yes, yes!”.
After a short time hugging our friends and parents, he told me he had another surprise for me. We jumped in his truck and I saw my “Feyoncé” Beyoncé shirt and I screamed with joy.
The surprises continued, however, and he drove me to the most beautiful dinner party with all of our extended family and more friends. The night was perfect, and I wish I could relive it a million times over. I cannot wait to become “Mrs. Clark” and live the rest of my life with the man who has made me laugh since 2010.
Picture credit to our friends, Erin Kraemer and Mandi Hahn. Though they are not professional photographers, they captured our day perfectly!