Do you believe in love at first sight? I am not sure I do, but I do love hearing stories about people who connected quickly. My fellow Anaiah Press author, Dena Netherton is my guest today, telling the story of how her marriage started and why it's her favorite love story.
I’d been living the glamourous, but not necessarily God-honoring life of a singer/actress/pianist in San Francisco. At one low point in my life, I asked God to help me live for Him and to bring God-worshiping people into my life.
The next month found me on a plane travelling east to study for my Master’s degree in music at the University of Michigan. On the first evening at my new place‑a graduate student co-op—a guy named Mark gave me a tour and introduced me to his friends. But the tour ended abruptly when he introduced me to this tall, lean, good-looking jazz percussionist named Bruce. It wasn’t instant attraction, but Bruce had the kindest way about him, and that drew me. I was so lonely and ready to make a change in my life.
Bruce asked me about my life in California, but before I could answer, an inaudible but authoritative voice inside my head said, “This is the man. No need to look further.”
Believe me, when you’ve gotten to know the Lord, you learn how He talks, and no one but God talks like God.
As I was pondering what I’d just heard inside my head, Bruce stood up and announced, “What you need is a hot cup of Earl Grey tea. He made me a pot of tea and listened while I told him about my difficult day and how confusing the huge university campus had been for me.
After we’d sipped and conversed for a while, he screwed up his mouth and narrowed his eyes as if trying to figure out how he could help me. “I think what you need next is a long walk in the snow with me.”
Now, I was thinking, I don’t even know this guy. For all I know he could be a serial killer.
But, given that everyone in the kitchenette talked to Bruce as if he was the co-op chaplain, I figured I’d take a chance.
We threw on warm clothing and boots and met in front of the co-op. Winding through a path that led through snow-laden evergreens, we passed the music building we’d soon be attending. We found a wide flat section of snow-covered ground and laughed and whooped while we made snow angels. Bruce asked me about my philosophy of life and I shyly hemmed and hawed, finally telling him I was a struggling Christian.
He shook my hand. “I’m so glad you told me that,” he said. “‘Cause following Christ is what I’m all about.”
I went back to my lonely room that night feeling encouraged that I had met a Christian man who had offered to pray with me regularly and take me to church each week. As I lay in the darkness on my bunk bed thanking God for Bruce, suddenly a flash, like a camera, left a kind of vision. It was Bruce and I, dressed as a bride and groom, standing in front of a church altar.
We were engaged three weeks later. When we announced our engagement to our friends, they all gave us skeptical sideways looks. But we both absolutely knew God had put us together. And Bruce shared that the first night we’d met he had had a dream of us getting married.
I went home that summer after my first semester to make money for my remaining year at Michigan. Bruce went to Illinois to play shows for Great America. During those almost 4 months apart, my sweet fiancé sent me a love letter every day. I’ve kept every one of them, tied in ribboned bundles, stored away safely. Someday, I’d like my granddaughters to read them and see what true love was like eons before they were born.
Bruce graduated that fall and went back to Illinois where his parents lived, and worked in preparation to be a husband in the spring. It was hard to be separated for another long period, but I was extremely busy teaching, practicing all the music for my graduate recital, rehearsing for the lead role in an opera, and planning our wedding.
After I finished my last semester and graduated, we were married in late May, a year and a half after we first met. We had a beautiful church wedding surrounded by loving friends.
We were poor graduate students, but God, in His loving care, helped us put together a beautiful and simple wedding ceremony. One of my friends was an excellent baker and she excitedly told me she would love to bake a three-tiered cake for us. Another friend had taken cake-decorating classes and would be happy to decorate it. An organist friend donated her skills for the service, and another dear friend with a beautiful voice volunteered to sing. I bought forty dollars-worth of yellow daisies, baby’s breath, and greenery, and another friend expertly arranged our bouquets and floral decorations. Another friend offered to do the photography.
I was overwhelmed by God’s providence and the generosity of our friends.
But I was going to be even more overwhelmed when our university friends handed us an envelope. Inside were funds for a complete honeymoon. They’d arranged for us to stay at the Renaissance Hotel in Detroit, then several more days at a nice hotel in Ann Arbor. We swam, bowled, took long romantic walks, and planned our coming year.
The next week, we packed up my meager belongings in the smallest trailer available and headed to Illinois where a house just vacated by some of Bruce’s hometown friends awaited us. Funny how that worked out. And inside that little house was a piano: an ancient upright, too big and heavy for its previous owner to bother to move. And I was the beneficiary. Isn’t God wonderful?
I love to hear my friends’ stories of how they met their husbands and decided to get married. But I wouldn’t trade my story with anyone else’s. It’s my favorite love story!
Dena Netherton is the author of numerous articles and short stories, and four published novels, including the Anaiah Press romance: Dilemma in the Rockies. This year she finished two more novels, a romance and a thriller. Dena is president of Northwest Christian Writers Association, and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. She and Bruce live in the beautiful state of Washington where they can enjoy viewing the mountains and the sea simultaneously . . . if it’s not raining.
Sophisticated Denver-ite, Fallon Hart, is thrilled for the chance to prove herself as the director for the annual Melodrama, Miss May’s Dilemma, in the little Colorado Rocky Mountain town of Pine Ridge. But when Fallon arrives, she finds her new apartment in flames and her dreams for a fantastic directorial debut up in smoke. After handsome firefighter, Lucas O’Farrell, rescues Fallon, the attraction is hard to deny in this lighthearted romance. But her career ambitions, and his goal of finding the “perfect” small-town gal for a wife create a dilemma, especially when they’re cast as sweethearts in the Melodrama.
High Country Dilemma is available on Amazon on Dena’s author page:
This is a place for me to share thoughts and ideas not just related to writing. Thoughts about what's going on in my life, about an idea I got that I thought shareworthy, or just a funny anecdote.