“My name is Dejean, but you can call me DJ.” It was an introduction that would change my life forever. I was 17 at the time, he was 18, and it was our freshman year of college. We started the year off, like most freshman—excited about this new phase of life called “The College Years” where one has the optimum balance of maximum freedom with minimal responsibilities. With all the excitement in the air, we were eager (more like he was eager, and I was a mix of both nervous and anxious) to meet as many people as we could, which is how we both ended up at a Labor Day BBQ event at the beach that September. For most of that afternoon, I quietly sat on a picnic bench while every once in a while someone would come up to me, introduce themselves, then go back to whatever they were doing—tossing the football around, cooking on the grill, etc.
It goes without saying, I didn’t really remember many of the people I met during the event, and that number would have almost included my now-husband. However, he did something no one else did that day. At the end of the BBQ, when everyone was packing up to go home, he was the only one who came up to me, gave me a hug, and said “Bye. It was nice meeting you. Hopefully I’ll see you around school sometime.” It was a small gesture, but it meant so much to someone who often feels invisible.
Well, I did eventually see him around school some time later, and we became good friends, with a special interest in each other. We texted and called each other almost every day, we went for walks in the evenings when we could, and we ate lunch together whenever we were in the cafeteria around the same time. Needless to say, I thought things were leading up to the point where he would eventually ask me to be his girlfriend. Then, the weekend before Valentine’s Day, he told me he thought it best that our relationship not continue on its current trajectory. Oh, and let’s not forget the cliché line: “…but we can still be friends.” When I asked for an explanation, he didn’t give one, so I wrote him off as just another guy, spent the rest of the school year avoiding him, and tried to move on with my life. That summer, I focused on my pre-med Physics class, working out, playing the guitar, and improving my relationship with God. It’s funny how productive one is in the post-heartbreak season!
When the school year started again, I had had time to recover and felt comfortable enough to be just his friend. And that was what I did. We had lots of mutual friends, so we hung out in groups, casually chatted whenever we saw each other, and texted here and there. But somehow, some way, we eventually fell into our old routine of calling each other every day, going for walks, and eating lunch or dinner together. Eventually, he asked me to be his girlfriend…well kind of. He more or less said something to the effect of “Would you like to take the next step with me?” to which I responded, “Yes, I’d like to,” thinking he was just speaking in abstract terms about the general course of our relationship. The next day, when all of his friends kept giving me hugs and saying “congrats,” I figured something was up. So I texted his roommate, “Do DJ and I go out?” I was obviously thrilled with the response.
The next three years, as we completed college, were filled with countless memories like watching the stars at night during the warm summer months or being so desperate during the winter months to spend time with each other that we once walked around outside during a Midwest snow storm just to talk. With each passing day, I fell more in love with this amazing man who from Day 1 wanted to be a loving husband and father, opened car doors and gave up his seat not just for me, but for any woman nearby, and most importantly, desired to walk closely with Christ. He took me out of my shell, and even now continues to challenge me to be the best version of myself that I can be. These are just a few of the many reasons why I love this amazing man. Wondering why he decided to end things abruptly our freshman year? Well, that’s actually one more reason. He felt the need to do so because there were many friends and acquaintances egging us on to become an item. He wasn’t comfortable with that, and he wanted to be sure his feelings were genuine and not the result of the opinions of others. So, after praying about it, he thought that taking a break would be best, since that would allow time for the noise to settle and for us to arrive at our own conclusions if things were meant to be. He’s intentional, courageous, and wise.
Want to read the rest of the story, including how he proposed? Check it out next week!
One of my most memorable experiences with my hubby was traveling for the first time with our little one. Read about it here.
How did you and your significant other meet? I’d love to hear about it below!