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The year was 2005.

OK THIS IS THE BEST LOVE STORY EVER WRITTEN BY A HUMAN:

The year was 2005.

I was sitting in the cafeteria at Concordia University Chicago, sharing a meal with my good friend, the Rev. Matt Borrasso. Accompanying us was his childhood friend, another Matt (aka “G,” for convenience’s sake — there was like 4,678,432 Matts in the class of 2008). At the time he was a student at the University of Illinois, but visiting CUC because he was dead-set on transferring for the pre-sem program. Fun fact, for awhile there I thought his real name was “Ji,” because half-Asian. Which in retrospect was yikes on a million bikes.

I don’t even remember what these two dudes were talking about while we lunched, but I remember looking at G and thinking, “Wow who is this pompous assbag right here?” I later learned that the feeling was mutual (though he had a different descriptor for me in mind). Needless to say, we were NOT fans of each other.

Of course, after The Lunch Period from Hell™️, Borrasso said, ever so matter-of-factly, “You guys are gonna get married.” At the time I was like PSH OK WHATEVER MY DUDE. I didn’t give it a second thought.

Several months later, I began my sophomore year at CUC. Borrasso and G were roommates. The one thing I remember about G moving in was him carrying in and installing their mini fridge while G’s dad (who was helping them move in) made a jab about how fat Borrasso was.

That fall, a group of us went to go see “40 Year Old Virgin” the cinematic masterpiece starring Steve Carrell and Paul Rudd. G sat next to me.

“This is gonna be me when I’m 40,” he said to me before the movie started,

“Yeah? Me too,” I chuckled. I then proceeded to spill blue ICEE all over my white shirt. It was so great and not embarrassing at all.

There was a live band karaoke event on campus that same night in the gym. We stopped by after the movie, and I sang my standard go-to, “Fat-Bottomed Girls” by Queen. If you’ve never seen me perform this jam, that slaps to this very day, I’m sorry. But put it on your bucket list and I certainly can arrange something.

Then Borrasso and G got on the stage and performed “Fortunate Son,” by Creedence Clearwater Revival. G, who is severely, SEVERELY tone-deaf — and will probably never do such a brazen act again — was more or less just screaming the words.

But for some reason, in that moment, I was overcome with the fiery passion of ten thousand suns. In that moment, he was the most beautiful thing I had ever laid eyes on. That night I vowed, “I’m gonna marry the frick out of this dude.” I was SMITTEN, GUYS.

We started dating soon after that — September 11, not ominous at all but ok. Pretty sure we declared our love for each other a month later.

He graciously came to Collinsville that Thanksgiving to meet my family, even though the first thing my dad said when I called them to inform them of my special guest was some racist-ass remark like dO wE nEeD tO sTuFf ThE tUrKeY wItH cHiCkEn ChOw MeIn lol?

Our first year together was great. We started finishing each other’s sentences and saying the same things at the same times. We were VIBIN.

Our junior and senior years were not so great. I was diagnosed with depression and type 2 bipolar disorder in 2007. I struggled with suicidal ideation, orthorexia/binge eating disorder and an addiction to exercise. I broke up with him a couple times. I thought I needed space, but my life was significantly worse without him in it. The worst was the time we were “off again,” but still trying to be friends. During a lunch period, we did the thing where we said the exact same thing at the exact same time. I left that cafeteria in TEARS, PEOPLE.

On February 15, 2008, we were “on again,” and we went on the most magical date of all time. That night, he proposed to me. I said yes.

The next morning, I had a manic episode, on the phone with my mom, convinced that I did the wrong thing. But I hung in there.

(And let me just say…through all of my BS and heartbreak and emotional baggage and initial disgust when his mom tried to introduce me to Vietnamese food, he has been loyal TO THE END. I honestly do not even deserve the WORST parts of him, let alone his loyalty, fidelity and dedication.)

Our plan was to get married the summer before his vicarage year, but when seminary didn’t pan out after his first year (2009), we lived in my parents’ basement for FIVE YEARS.

We still got married on June 4, 2010, as originally scheduled. It was maybe the weirdest wedding I’ve ever been to but it was generally ok.

Those five years at Chesapeake Manor were fraught with even more illness, even more brokenness, even more dysfunction. Screaming, crying, snotty ugliness. And yet, God saw us through.

We finally set out on our own in 2013 in our own place. How we friggin survived those first three years of marriage, I’ll never know.

Years 4 and 5 were kind of tumultuous. We fought. A LOT. And yet, God saw us through.

Fast forward to now: our marriage is literally my favorite thing. Matt is the love of my whole dang life. I am so proud of the man he has become, and the woman he has shaped me to be. I wish we could be married for at least three million more years.

I’m not the best at this whole wife thing. I’m DEFINITELY gonna be a pretty awful pastor’s wife. But, he is great. And, if there’s one thing I have learned in the last 10+ years, it’s that God’s faithfulness prevails. Even when things don’t go according to plan. He gave Matt and me one another, which is probably in the top ten list of His best ideas, if not the top three.

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