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We met in 2009, when I was a new senior in high school, and he’d freshly graduated and joined the ministry internship program and bible college at the church and school I’d attended for years. One night our eyes locked at Youth Group, where I was a student leader, and he was a brand new intern and adult leader. He was quiet, reserved and didn’t seem very outgoing. I was fun, very outgoing, and loved making new friends with everyone.

In that year, I was finishing up my last year of high school, and had already been accepted into the same internship and bible college program. The rules of the internship were you didn’t date in your first year, so that you could stay focused on your studies and your personal growth. DJ and I had found ourselves hanging around one another in group settings often… afternoons at the river, grabbing food and playing drop-in soccer.

Toward the end of his first year, he wanted to pursue a deeper friendship with me, but because I was going into my own first year, we never did. I went through my internship year that was filled with highs and lows, all the while still crushing hard on the quiet boy who I’d essentially watched turn into a handsome, confident man within the two years I’d known him.

We didn’t start dating immediately, in fact I was actually told by a “close friend” that she and him were into one another and were going to make it official soon… I was heartbroken and ended up dating his roommate. I KNOW, I KNOW.

I let insecurities get the best of me, for sure. Because get this, six months later after breaking things off with the other guy and not long after DJ began to pursue me. He never dated anyone else… He made it clear his intention was always to pursue me respectfully after my first year was over, and he thought it was hilarious I believed the “friend” who said they’d been flirting and were going to get together, had! We didn’t wait very long before dating officially and falling in love… we had the most fun together!

Spontaneous trips to see the sunrise in SF behind the Golden Gate Bridge, 12am indoor soccer drop-in tournaments, Star Wars movie marathons, road tripping to Seattle, attempting to slack-line and being terrible at it, camping with family and friends, lots of frisbee, and babysitting others’ kids together, lots of trips to the beach and gosh we just had the best, most special times together.

We dated for three years before tying the knot ourselves. He proposed to me in February, and we got married that May, in the redwood forest, surrounded by our closest friends and family.

Now we have three beautiful children, and have only learned how to love better, stronger, and healthier in our 6 years of marriage, 9 years together.

I love us. #djandmary

I share more about our wedding here.

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