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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Will You Be My Valentine?

There's been a lot going on for us personally. I will post with a personal update at some point this weekend--perhaps on Sunday. But I wanted to post on a few things first. This Sunday is the day known as St. Valentine's Day. With my cousin Hailey getting married this weekend and all the festivities associated with that, thoughts of my own special Valentine are ever-present. Growing up, I knew the woman I would marry needed to be a special person uniquely suited to deal with all my situation would entail. As I concluded my missionary service, thoughts of that special someone pressed on my mind. I could not have known then just how special and unique the woman the Lord was preparing for me would be. When I first met Amy Nuttall, I felt an impression she would be my wife one day. If I had been astute and more prepared, I would have gone after her that day in the temple. But the Lord had a different timetable in mind. Amy would need the next year to finish school (majoring in art) and take care of her mother, who had MS. So she needed that extra time with her family.

Her mother passed away in January 2010, and in the meantime our fast friendship was developing into love. I was reluctant to approach her, deathly afraid she'd say no. I know now I didn't need to worry about that. I only wish I had known that then. By the time the temple closed for cleaning in May of that year, Amy had grown tired of waiting for me. Though I didn't know about this until later, it turns out that both of us were fervently praying that a way would be open for us to get together.

She had done some detective work and had discovered my address. For several days, she wrestled over the contents of a letter she wanted to send to me. Finally settling on just the right thing to say, she sent the letter.

I can never forget the tender tone of that letter. In it, she expressed her admiration for me and her desire to get to know me better. She put it so tenderly: "I realize your life may be complicated, so if you ever wanted to go do something together, I would be happy to drive." She included her e-mail address. I resolved right away to take her up on her offer. I dashed off a reply befitting the invitation. That night, I informed my parents of the letter and my intention to act on it, and they expressed their support.

By the time the temple reopened, I had still not heard back from Amy. I saw her the next Friday at our usual shift, and she looked like she wanted to say something, but she didn't. Finally at the end of the night, I found her outside the room where we had waited for the last session of the day. She asked me if I had received her letter. I told her I had and that I had replied to it. She said she hadn't heard anything from me and was worried I wasn't interested. My exact reply: "I think it's definitely worth looking into."

I resent the e-mail that night, and over the next week, we exchanged several e-mails. We set up our first dates, agreeing that we were interested in more than just o ne initial date. By the end of our first week of dating, we both knew we were done looking for or considering anyone else as a potential marriage partner. We went on 14 dates in the first three weeks of our relationship.

By July 4th, we had decided we would proceed to marriage if the Lord sanctioned it. We fasted that day and both determined it was the right thing to do to become engaged. I proposed to her on the grounds of the Mount Timpanogos Temple. I told her the only tragedy in this life and in eternity that I couldn't bear to face would be if she were not there to share it with me. I knew she would accept, but I was still thrown by her prompt "Yes." We both recall my response to her acceptance. "Really?"

Our courtship lasted five months. If we'd had the opportunity to do so, we would have preferred to be married in October, most likely on the 7th, which is Amy's mother's birthday. But when we finally settled on a date, we set it for December 18th, which is the same day her parents got married. It's a date I will never be able to forget, because our wedding day marked my 6th anniversary as a Melchizedek Priesthood holder. One by one, the pieces fell into place for us to be married on December 18th. We found our first dwelling place a mere 4 days prior to the wedding.

We adopted as the theme scripture for our marriage Moroni 7:33. "And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me, ye will have power to whatsoever thing is expedient in me." The memory of my feeling that Amy would be my future wife was only restored after our marriage, which was probably just as well for me.

Last Dcember marked our 5th anniversary as a married couple. For this commemorative year, Amy found rings with wood, which is the traditional 5th anniversary gift. For almost six years now, she has been my best friend, my closest confidante, my staunchest supporter (even when I made a wrong decision, which I still do all too frequently), and my compassionate caregiver. I will admit, I have not been even half the spouse to Amy that she has been to me. If I can ever be worthy of her, I will count myself the luckiest man alive.

And so, this Valentine's Day and every day, I rejoice in my eternal union to a woman who without hesitation gave her answer to a question I had penned in a poem written in High School, Thanks to her, I never have to ask this question again. Last year on Valentine's Day, I shared this poem, but not our story. So now I have shared that story. Here's the poem, along with my eternal thanks to the woman who is the answer to the question in the poem. I love you, sweetheart, now and forever!

“Will You Be My Valentine?”

I cast my eyes to the sky above,
It's so long since I've dared to love.
Will I be rejected again?
I need another special friend,

One with whom to share my dreams.
I had one once, or so it seemed.
But she abandoned me for another,
And they're now wrapped up in each other.

To see them now, it makes me sick.
I wish that I were half as slick,
As the one who took my girl away.
But now, alas, she will not stay.

So as to make her feel disgrace,
I've found another pretty face.
One whom I feel I can trust,
Or will it be another bust?

I do not know, I cannot guess,
If she at last will ease my stress.
And yet, unsure, these thoughts are mine,
“Will you please be my valentine?”