I think John and I have a great love story and it was recently suggested that I share it to inspire others to trust in God’s perfect timing and His perfect plan.
I was just starting my third year of college. I had finally surrendered my relationship status to God after coming off some unhealthy relationships. I swore off dating and decided to focus on school. That was August 24, 1987. On September 1st, I was hanging out at the mall with my cousin and her two beautiful little girls. My cousin had gone into a store and I was watching over the girls, when I group of guys from school walked by. I knew one of the guys pretty well. We had been friends for the first two years of school. But there was a “new guy” I didn’t recognize… it was John. We both took an immediate interest in each other. I didn’t really know how much until later that evening when my friend called and said, John wants to spend more time with you. When can we get together. I was focused on school… remember?
I was preparing for an exam for the next day. I said, let me get through that, then you guys can come over tomorrow night after school. John and his friend came over the next night. Turns out my college roommate for two years had known John while we were all in school, but she thought he was too much on the wild side for me. That night John and I talked for hours and hours. He invited me to lunch the following day. He took me to a Chinese restaurant. I didn’t like Chinese, and had no idea what to order. That was the start of John opening new experiences of the world to me. He ordered a shrimp cashew dish for me, still my favorite to this day. After lunch, he brought me back to my place. I have no idea why, it was the craziest idea – but I was headed to the lakes to spend the Labor Day weekend with my family and I decided to invite him along.
He spent the weekend at my grandparents’ lake cabin with our family. We had a fabulous time. My family instantly fell in love with him. John was outside goofing off with my brother, who never really got along with any of my previous boyfriends – not like this anyway… I was inside washing dishes and my grandmother came up to me and said, “Dani, we all really like John, but please don’t move in together until you get married.” What!?! Grandma! I just met the guy! I shared that story with John while we were sitting in front of a bonfire and a beautifully still lake and a gorgeous moon. I thought he’d think I was crazy. He laughed and said, that’s funny…
John popped the question on September 9th. Yes, just 8 days after meeting. Of course I said yes, but we originally planned a long engagement. I was going to finish school. God had different plans, as usual :). John received an amazing job opportunity two states away. The weekend commutes from North Dakota to Wisconsin were a bit much, so we decided to move up the wedding date. We took the first available weekend. We were married on January 22, 1988 – just four months after meeting. My mom must’ve been crazy letting me do it. She laughs to this day and says, “Really, Dani – do you think I could have stopped you?” I think the real question is “Could anyone stop what God had planned?” Of course not!