Anna and I just celebrated 5 years of marriage by going back to the place where we first met, Sevens Restaurant & Steakhouse in Clear Lake, IA. We enjoy going back at least once a year to eat, shop, take in the atmosphere, and reminisce about our first date. Here is our story.
How We Met
Back in 2011, a couple of months from turning 30, I was still single. Up to this point, I had been on a few dates throughout the years, but nothing that really clicked and lasted past a few dates. Some of the dates were blind dates, and the only thing that my blind dates and I had in common where that we were both single.
I had tried online dating (Match.com and CatholicMatch.com) as well, but there wasn’t much interest on either side except for a few messages back and forth from a few women who lived 8+ hours away. Out of the clear blue one cold February day, I received a message on my Catholic Match account. It was from a woman named Anna from Minnesota. She was a member of CatholicMatch.com and saw my profile. She mentioned that she was originally from Des Moines, Iowa, and went to college in St. Paul, Minnesota, and had lived there since.
While her message was a welcome surprise, I wasn’t really excited about messaging another woman living hours away, BUT after reading her message, looking at her profile, and knowing that she was an Iowa native, I decided to message her back.
I didn’t think that our conversation would go far, but to my surprise, Anna replied, and we messaged each other for a few weeks and then started Skyping. This was about as serious of an online relationship as I had ever had.
Meeting In Person
After Skyping for a few weeks, we decided to meet up in person. We decided to meet in Clear Lake, Iowa. It is roughly a halfway point from Cedar Falls, Iowa, and St. Paul, Minnesota. It’s a beautiful little town surrounded by a lake.
Although the lake is beautiful, Clear Lake might best be known for a terrible plane accident. On February 3, 1959, an airplane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper crashed soon after takeoff, killing everyone aboard. They had just performed the at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake and were on their way to their next show in Moorhead, Minnesota.
After Anna told her parents that she was meeting this guy from Iowa, her father, who is a lawyer, made sure I wasn’t a creep and looked to see if I had ever been arrested before or wanted for anything. Having a daughter of my own now, I don’t blame him. Anna told me this later on in our relationship.
Anna and I met on Palm Sunday in 2011. Normally, we would have picked a Saturday, but we both had prior comments, and Anna was leaving for South Africa to visit her sister.
After having a great lunch, we both wanted to continue the date and get to know each other. We walked by the lakefront, downtown, and around the neighborhoods on that cold day for the next 3 to 4 hours.
A couple of weeks later, Anna brought me some homemade fudge and marshmallow brownies for my 30th birthday before flying out to South Africa. The rest, as they say, is history.
Engagement and Wedding
I knew Anna was special. Over the next year and a half, we dated. We felt like truckers because one of us was always on the road each weekend.
On November, 16, 2012, while decorating my Christmas tree in Cedar Falls, I gave her a Christmas ornament to hang on the tree. I told her that it had my initials on the inside and when she went to open it, she saw the ring. I asked Anna to marry me, she said “Absolutely” and was completely caught off guard.
We got married on June 15, 2013, at St. Augustin Catholic Church in Des Moines. The wedding was beautiful, and the reception was a blast. The one thing people still rave about is the balloon hats. Anna’s mom knows a woman who created balloon animals and thought that it would be nice to have her at the reception for the kids.
Once the dance began, Anna and I started to see adults walking around with these outrageous balloon hats. There was a line up to the balloon artist all night long.
5 Years and Two Kids Later
Even though Anna and I thought we would be married for at least a year before having kids, we were blessed with a honeymoon baby. Our son, Jude, was born almost 9 months to the day after we got married. There were a lot of changes that Anna and I encountered during our first year of marriage. Anna left her job and a great group of friends to move to Cedar Falls where she knew no one.
In January of 2017, we welcomed our daughter, Adelaide, into the world. The biggest change for me was all the pink and lace that has now entered our house. I grew up with two brothers, so everything girly is new to me. She definitely has me wrapped around her finger. It is a complete joy to see my kids play with each other and get along so well (most of the time).
Over the last 5 years, our lives have continued to change and grow. I have written about how it all goes by so quickly, and I am trying to enjoy the present moment. It is exciting to think about what the next 5 years will bring, and I look forward to the adventure.
What’s the best marriage advice you’ve ever heard? It’d be great to hear about your experiences in the comments below.