Thursday, February 1, 2018

A Love Story



On an overcast day in March 2017, I sat down across from Brooks in a coffee shop for our first date. He alternately stared at the ground and then at his hands while he nervously poured out his heart to me. To my surprise, I was remarkably calm.

I had never planned to date Brooks. He and I had known each other for almost a year before that first coffee shop date. During that time our acquaintance had consisted of seeing each other at church, sometimes saying hi to each other, and mostly avoiding one another. Brooks avoided me because he had a crush on me but was really confused about my relationship status for the longest time. I avoided Brooks because I was in a long distance relationship. And then when that relationship ended, I was making plans to go back to school fulltime and didn’t really want to think about relationships for a while. You know how it goes.

With all of this avoiding one another, how on earth did we start dating? Let me tell you, it was not without a lot of encouragement from our friends and family. My dad was the ultimate wingman. I can still remember the day when he walked up to me after church and said, “Dani, have you met Brooks?” I read the ulterior motives between the lines, feigned indifference, and resumed my aloof avoidance of Brooks.

In spite of our best efforts, Brooks and I ended up going on a date together in January of last year (a whole year ago!). It was a complete accident. Our group of friends were supposed to go see a movie together in the city. Everyone bailed at the last minute. I could not think of a legitimate reason to bail. Neither could Brooks. So we ended up driving to the city together to go to a movie. It was painfully awkward. I talked almost the entire time there and back. Brooks drove way too fast and was pulled over for speeding on the way home. The officer let him off with a warning. 

“I guess you’re my lucky charm,” Brooks said to me before speeding all the rest of the way home. To this day it is a point of disputed ambiguity whether this accidental date was our first real date or not.

Let me be completely honest. When Brooks first asked me out, I was not sure if I wanted to say yes. Not because I had any qualms with Brooks. I really liked him. But I had plans. I was going back to school. I was moving. I was turning over a new leaf. I also knew that if I said yes to Brooks, it would be serious. Like marriage serious. And I didn't know if I was ready for that. Because I had never felt ready for it before. 

But when I sat down across from Brooks in the coffee shop on that crisp March day, I was overwhelmed with peace. All the anxiety leading up to that moment completely dissipated. Brooks shared his heart with me. And it was then that I knew that this man could and would love me better than anyone else I have ever known.

Our relationship in the months following was an unconventional whirlwind. Things moved quickly. Clearly. I never expected them to, but they did. 

Dating Brooks was fantastic. We had a lot of fun together. We went to museums, went to movies, hung out in coffee shops, took our dogs on walks, and explored the great outdoors together. However, we quickly realized that the things we loved doing the most together were simple things like going to the grocery store together, reading together, going to church together, and making dinner together. We loved being a team doing the little things together. Basically, it did not take us long to realize we wanted to get married. This became more and more apparent when I moved to go back to school. Fifty miles is not a long distance but it is distance enough and it was hard for both of us to be further apart.

A lot changed after I moved. The pastor of my church congregation left. The church congregation dissolved. Brooks decided the best thing for him was to move closer to me where we could be part of the same church. That was when we knew we just needed to get married. So we did. We planned a destination wedding in a month’s span of time and got married. It’s crazy to think we managed all of that in a month. The housing. The packing. The moving. But we did. And if I could do it over again, well, I wouldn’t. Because it was perfect. 

We knew our decision would raise a lot of eyebrows. When I called my best friend and told her we were getting married—this was the week after we were officially engaged—she said, “Dani, are you pregnant?” Half joking. Half serious. Obviously I was not pregnant. Brooks and I had simply encountered what marketing experts like to call a “strategic window”. The opportunity was there. We took it.

Brooks and I had always known our wedding would be a small private affair. Neither of us wanted to plan a big wedding. Neither of us wanted a six-month to yearlong (or longer!) engagement. Not that these are bad things by any means. They were simply not what we wanted to do. We wanted to be married. What really sealed the deal for us was the support of our families. Our parents were on board and wholeheartedly supportive from the moment we told them what we had in mind for our wedding. They were more generous and loving than we could have ever wanted or deserved. 

So here we are. Approximately a year later after our accidental movie date. Mr. and Mrs. Carlson.

Photo: Leslie Nichole Photography

Related Blogposts: 
The Lies We Believe About Love
When Your Best Friend Gets Married
What He Must Be 

17 comments :

  1. What a wonderful love story! It seems that God often puts people together who don't see it coming, then find out they can't live without each other. :D I'm so glad you have found the one whom your soul loves!

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    1. Thank you Paige! That is exactly how things worked out. Neither of us really saw it coming but by God's providence the timing was perfect. :)

      Dani xoxo

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  2. Aww the sweetest story ever! I wondered why your blog was so quiet! Wishing you all the best for your future together! :)

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    1. Thank you Roxanne!! I wish I could be more active on my blog - and hopefully I will be in the future - but I have definitely been busy. It's good to hear from you! :)

      Dani xoxo

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  3. THE FEELS! Congrats sweet Dani! I am so happy for you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  4. That is the sweetest story, thank you for sharing! So haply for you two.

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  5. I love this; I like how you mention your window of opportunity. You really got to the heart of what is important, being married, not having a wedding.

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    1. Thank you, Livia! We kept asking ourselves - why are we waiting when we're ready to be married? And the only reason we were putting it off was to have that big wedding, which neither of us were too keen on. :P It's good to see you here!

      Dani xoxo

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  6. Oh, how wonderful for the two of you. This truly is a most wonderful story. The beautiful photo says it all!

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    1. Thank you Kim!!! We had a small private destination wedding, but we fortunately found a fantastic photographer in the area. She did a splendid job capturing the day!

      Dani xoxo

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  7. Congrats Danielle! I am so happy for you!

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  8. Oh...what a beautiful love story, Dani! I'm so happy for you...praise the Lord for bringing you both together! So lovely to visit with you today...much love!

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    1. Thank you so much Kelly-Anne! It is always lovely to hear from you.

      Dani xoxo

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