My husband and I recently celebrated 10 years of love. Whaa?! I’ve been loving this guy for a third of my life?? Of the 10 years, five were dating, one was engaged and four have been married. So, in honor of 10 years of love, I wanted to share how our love story began. I’ve never written about it on Modwife.co – or anywhere – so it will be fun to get it “on paper.”
I first my husband in the spring of 2008 (second semester of my freshman year) in a frat house at UT Chattanooga. He was visiting our mutual friends, Clay and Brad, that weekend. Clay, Brad and Jake grew up in Lexington, Tenn., and I attended high school in Lexington. I didn’t really get to know Clay or Brad until starting college, as they were a few years older than me. Jake was older than me too, and I’d never met or heard of him before meeting him at the frat house that night.
My first impression of Jake was that he was obnoxious. He even had the nerve to pick me up and run down the hallway with me over his shoulder. I was simply not interested. The next morning, my girlfriend and I went to get breakfast in the university’s food court. We were laughing about how forward and obnoxious that Jake guy was from last night. And sure enough, he and Clay were in the food court, too.
I can’t specifically pinpoint the next time I saw Jake. I moved back to Lexington for the summer, and Clay and I worked a summer job together at a local lake. Because I’d been hanging out with Clay in Chattanooga, we also hung out that summer in Lexington. So, by default, I started seeing more of Jake, too. (Turns out, he lived about 10 minutes away from my parents house in Lexington.) I’d bring some girlfriends, and we’d all go out on the lake together after work. I warmed up to Jake. He was a cool, sweet guy. I knew he was one of the good ones. One the rare ones. But, I wasn’t interested. It never crossed my mind.
I had some friends over to my house one summer night. One of my girlfriends told me that Jake had piqued her interest, and she wanted me to feel things out for her. So, what’s a good girlfriend do? I felt things out!
Jake was sitting on the steps of my back deck, so I sat down beside him and asked, “Do you like anyone at this party?” (I know, I could have been better prepared.)
He responded with something like, “Only if it’s you.”
I thought nothing of his comment. I half heard it. The night ended with me giving him my girlfriend’s number, telling him he should text her.
We all continued to hang out as normal after that night, but nothing sparked between Jake and my girlfriend. A few week’s later, Clay’s girlfriend was visiting town, and she shocked me with some news.
While I was cleaning that dingey, public lake bathroom, she tells me, “Lauren, I think Jake likes you.”
Huh?! I liked Jake a lot – as a good friend. I thought he was so handsome, so fun and so real. He wasn’t like other guys. But, us had never crossed my mind. I never gave two thoughts to liking him.
I tell my mom a lot, so I’d been keeping her updated on the new friends I was meeting, our shenanigans, etc. She knew about Jake, but only because I talked about him. She’d never met him. I told her that he apparently liked me. She said, “Lauren, of course he does!”
The first time my mom saw Jake, she said, “Lauren, he looks like a party boy.” (Ha! In that cautious, mom tone.) It was sort of true, but also so far from the truth. He knew how to have a good time, but he was the most honest, genuine guy I’d ever met. He had long hair, and when she saw him, he was wearing a sleeveless tee and a visor. But once she met him, she thought he was wonderful.
So, Jake and I started hanging out alone, outside of the group. Mainly, he’d come to my house after we’d all been hanging out. My parents had surprised me that year by moving my bedroom to the apartment of our detached garage. So, we’d sit up there and chat and watch Disney movies. (I didn’t have a DVD player, only a VHS player. And, I only had Anastasia. You can imagine how many times we watched that.) Nothing happened between us. We would just chat ‘til we fell asleep. We’d wake at 3am or 4am, and I’d quickly usher him out.
Jake first tried to kiss me while on the boat one night. As he came in for the kiss, I slowly turned my head. (Hey, a girl’s gotta play hard to get. But this was the first time I’d ever wanted to play coy.) He later tried again, and I think again. I denied him every time.
It was July 3rd and we were all going to a friend’s lakehouse that night for festivities. I went to my girlfriend’s house to tan on her roof. (The same girlfriend I tried to setup with Jake.) We drank rum and Cokes, and I nervously told her Jake and I had been spending time together and that I liked him. She couldn’t be more excited for me! She said he and I were a perfect match and our personalities aligned so well. So, I had her blessing.
It had been a few days since Jake last tried to kiss me, so I knew I was going to have to be the one to kiss him, since I turned him down one too many times.
It was at the lakehouse that night that I decided to make my move. I forget if he was standing by the pool table first or if I was. Either way, I laid one on him sitting on the pool table. We decided to make our relationship official that night. And by the time we got back to my house around midnight, I’d already broken up with him. I hadn’t had a boyfriend in years, and I suppose committed relationships freaked me out.
The next day, Independence Day, we worked things out and decided to be official again. There were fireworks on the lake night, and they weren’t just in the sky. I still remember the way I felt that night – pure bliss. Surrounded by friends, water and explosions in the sky, we only saw each other. We missed the entire fireworks show for kissing.
I got weird off and on after that, and that dear, sweet girlfriend of mine actually gave Jake pep talks to keep pursuing me. She told him to not give up on me. What are good girlfriends for?!
Jake had planned to transfer to UT Chattanooga for the fall 2008 semester right before I met him. So, when summer jobs ended and days got shorter, we all went back to school. But this time, I had my guy with me. We both lived with roommates, in the same apartment complex, a hill and a few buildings apart. I had no idea that right before fall break, I’d tell him I loved him and he’d tell me, too.
At some point, we talked about the night at the party when I asked if he liked anyone, and he responded with, “Only if it’s you.” He said he meant it. And to this day, I giggle and swoon about that when we talk about it.
People say there’s that one summer that stands out in their minds. The summer of 2008 was it for me. (For him too, if you ask.) Fun times. Humid evenings. Hotter nights. And falling in love with the man I’d eventually marry.
But we didn’t sail off into the sunset after that summer. We had ups and downs. We went through all the phases. But, this story is long enough for now, so I’ll save those stories for another time.