It started at a church dance in August 1994. She was wearing a bright yellow top and a teasing smile. She took me by surprise, how confidently she walked right up and said “Do you remember me?”
I replied “Yeah, you’re Steph Smith’s sister, Sam”
She smiled again.
“Do you want to dance?” she asked
We fell in love over the next few months. It was the easiest thing I’ve ever done.
I spent hours lying next to her just looking into her eyes. I learned the texture of her skin, the taper of her slender fingers and the scent of her neck. I fell in love with the shape of her hair as she’d walk away from me. I fell in love with the rich texture of her voice over the phone and the way she’d one hop into my arms when we’d get back together after a few days apart.
Her personality was fun, silly, deep and witty. She never stopped surprising me. The first time we kissed she leaned back and asked “So, do you like me?”
We couldn’t be separated. She used to sit on my lap when we’d drive on the freeway and kiss my neck. We were dangerous on the road.
I knew we’d be married. It was a fact. But I didn’t want to be married. I wanted to be a studly single guy. My plan was to grow a beard and work in the mountains as a photographing “smokejumper”. I told Sam and she laughed. She knew it was a silly plan.
In March 1995, we were parked in the parking lot of the fine arts building of Utah State University.
“So, do you want to marry me?” she teased
“Why?” I replied
“Just wondering”, she said, smiling.
“Are you trying to get a proposal out of me?” I said.
“Don’t you want to?” She replied.
“Will you marry me?” I asked as I took her hand.
“YES!” She jumped at me.
We were married in the Boise Idaho Temple on June 10th, 1995. I was young, only 22. I didn’t recognize the depth and importance and far-reaching commitment I had made to Samantha. I knew I wanted to be with her and she wanted to be with me so we got married. We had a simple reception in her parent’s backyard. I wore black pants and a white double breasted tux jacket. I was anxious to get the whole thing over. We didn’t believe in sex before marriage so the consummating activity was eminent.
I would give $50,000 to go back to that day and be there again. Sam was so delicate, so sweet and innocent. I had in my arms a freshly blossomed flower. She was 19. I don’t think I savored the sounds, feelings or the gravity of June 10th, 1995. If I could see my bride in her dress and touch her hand again on that day, it would be severely humbling to me. It makes me shiver to think of it.
What an amazing thing it is to be married to Samantha. No single decision has been more important than my marriage to Sam. She is deeply intertwined and engaged in every part of my life. I was lead to her. She was lead to me. God had a plan for us and it began with our meeting and union. Our marriage works. We have a great marriage. It works because we’re both committed to the same things:
- Raising quality children so we can have the joy of our family
- Loving each other unconditionally
- Living the gospel of Jesus Christ
- Having fun while living as lavishly as possible (we both like nice things)