Kate Laack: modern love
Ours is a modern love story, made possible by technology and timing. I had dabbled in online dating briefly around the time of my sister’s wedding, eventually giving up my online profile for an in-person relationship that fizzled after a few months. Facing the prospect of returning to the online “marketplace” that is Match.com, I was determined to make the process as efficient and effective as possible. So, like all strong, independent, introverted women…I read a book on beating the online dating algorithm. I returned to the website on a mission, sending out a set number of formulaic messages on a schedule designed to increase my likelihood of responses and, ultimately, success.
Meanwhile, Josh was in Minnesota and ready to give up on online dating. He happened to sign into his account to cancel his membership just a few days after I had sent him a message, and he was impressed with my correct use of punctuation (a true rarity on many online dating platforms). He returned my message asking if we could move our conversation onto regular email as he was about to leave the site, and we did.
Because I was in La Crosse and he was in Rochester, planning a first date more complicated. While we waited, our conversation, and subsequent budding relationship, stayed over email for the next six weeks. We wrote every day, thousands of words at a time. Josh always ended his email with three questions for me to answer. By the time we sat down for coffee (in the middle of a January snow storm), we had exchanged over 90,000 written words – words we later had bound into a book for our first wedding anniversary.
Katie Yager: growing pains
Travis and I met on Bus 57 in Bigelow, MN. I was in 4th grade, and Travis was in 6th grade. I was on my way to a slumber party and was wearing my brand new ShopKo Willow Bay jeans for the special occasion. I got on to the bus and sat in my seat by my friend. It was a very loud and busy bus, but being the rule follower I was, I sat quietly in my seat for the 40 min ride. When my friend’s house appeared, I waited for the bus to come to a complete stop and stood up. There was some resistance when I tried to stand. When I stood, there were strands of lime green Apple Bubbalicious Bubblegum hanging off my rear end. I turned to see a blonde boy laughing uncontrollably in the back of the bus. I told him, “You are not a nice boy!”
I walked off the bus with my head held high and my dignity intact. I spent that night in my pajama pants while my friend’s mom worked on my jeans to get the gum out. Fast forward to high school, and that same boy walked into a basketball game that I was cheerleading at! I recognized him immediately…same blonde hair and bright blue eyes. I walked up and said, “Do you remember me?” He did not. I jogged his memory, and he said, “Oh, I am so sorry! I DO remember you. You told me I wasn’t a nice boy.”
Since he apologized, we started hanging out together with mutual friends through high school, and then started dating in college, got engaged, and then got married! God had a pretty incredible plan with that bus ride! Travis and I have been married almost 18 years. We have three pretty incredible kids and own Chocolaterie Stam – a Chocolate & Gelato Shop in downtown Rochester.
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 ESV
Laura Kycek: the wonder years
It all started over backyard baseball and trading baseball cards. Mike’s older brother and my older brother were in the same grade and played together, so before play dates were called that, we were all just young kids having fun enjoying life together. That being said, I don’t know many couple who have known their spouse since they were 6 & 7 years old. Growing up in a small town and small school, Mike and I ran in the same group of friends and activities. It wasn’t hard to take notice of the tall lanky trumpet player, tenor singing, Knowledge Bowl and Key Club president.
We attended the same youth group with our friends, and New Year’s Eve, 1997, when he wouldn’t let go of my hand after the prayer circle, my interest was piqued. We started officially dating a couple months later and were inseparable. Junior prom, movie dates, school activities – key moments in high school romances. Sadly, we broke up midway through his senior year, and he headed off to college. I was heartbroken.
We kept in contact every now and then through email or AOL messenger (we are old school). Several failed relationships for both of us. Graduating college. Starting careers. Moving to different cities. Somehow we both ended up back in the Rochester area.
In September 2008, I tracked him down on Facebook and we started messaging. We arranged to meet at Caribou on 2nd Street to catch up. We chatted for hours and hugged before parting ways in the parking lot. I went with the intention of visiting an old friend and not getting my hopes up. I was going to be satisfied with friendship. He left thinking, “I’m going to marry that girl.” By October we were dating, by November he purchased a ring, and in December he proposed. We were married on June 19, 2009, at the church I grew up in and where my parents were married. I even wore the same veil my mom wore.
Here we are 14 years and two boys later. Ours is still my favorite love story.
Stephanie Conkright: blind date
I was living in Istanbul, Turkey, working with a local church. An enthusiastic, newly-engaged friend came to visit me and, believing every single woman should be as happy as she, decided I needed a husband. In the Turkish city where she lived she knew of an eligible American Air Force captain. He was preparing to return to America to train for missionary service in Turkey. What could be more perfect than to meet someone who shared a common vision!
But how to bring these two together? Perhaps arranging a small gathering where they could casually meet. After much skillful persuasion on her part, we agreed to her plan.
As the day drew near, she unexpectedly announced she could no longer host this event. It was suddenly left up to Garth to arrange something. Did I mention that we lived in cities that were a 14-hour bus trip apart? Now some of you may be calling me desperate for a husband by this point. In my defense, I had already planned to travel to that region and thought it a good use of my time and resources to swing by and check him out.
Garth arranged for us to meet at a restaurant under the condition that we each bring a friend. This was intended to help ease the obvious awkwardness. I brought a friend who was happy to accept a free meal. She assured me that if this “date” was not successful she knew of alternatives. To my utter humiliation she began to list off all the single guys she knew within a 50-mile radius. She suggested we could try visiting them too! I assured her I was not on a countrywide search for a husband. I did have some self-respect.
It was an “interesting” evening. Upon our arrival Garth and his friend were already seated across the table from each other. Consequently, I ended up sitting next to Garth where I had a great view of his forearms but not much else. Meanwhile our friends cheerily dominated the conversation. During a brief pause, I told a story about a recent experience. I had been invited to spend the night in a very poor village. In the middle of the night I was awakened by my host shrieking and poking a long knitting needle under my bed. The Turkish word she was shouting could mean either rat, or mouse. I told myself it was only a mouse and fell back to sleep. For some reason this story greatly intrigued Garth. He definitely wanted to get to know this woman better. That began a long-distance courtship. We were married “twice” four and eight months later. But that’s another story.