a love story us

A Love Story, Part One: We met in an alley

June 12, 2014

That bit about the alley is a true story, you know. Actually, it’s not just any story… it’s a story I share with Christian. It’s our story. Well, parts of it anyway. These are the parts I’ve decided to share with you all 🙂

I love when people ask me, “So how did you meet your husband?” because the first part of that answer is, “We met in an alley” which is quickly followed by, “he walked down the outside steps of his apartment building wearing track pants and Adidas flip flops… and he just started doing The Running Man. And my heart just pretty much fell right then and there.” I knew there was something really cool about this guy… something different. It felt special and fun and light…. and I wanted to know him. And I wanted him to know me. Like, really know me.

Except this could not have been worse timing. My heart told me, “Nope. Don’t do it, you’ll only get hurt, or worse- you’ll hurt him.” I’d just come out of… well, quite honestly I’d just come out of hell. The short version? I was in NO MOOD to date. Anybody. And my brain told me I’d already lost at love. It told me to not even waste my time. But my soul pushed on, silently… just pushed me his way.

Fast forward a few months of only texting every so often, combined with emails and gchats, but on one random Wednesday I found myself sitting on my balcony and heard the familiar gchat “ping.” I’d just gotten home from work, had poured myself a glass of wine, and was enjoying the beautiful Chicago skyline and I prayed that it was him on the other end of that ping. It was, and it said, “Do you like margaritas? Because there’s a really good Mexican restaurant in my neighborhood. Would you like to join me? :)” ….. I was straight up giddyDo I like margaritas??? Are you kidding?! I poured my glass of wine down the sink, threw on some cute clothes, and hopped onto the train to head his way. And I rode the 30 minute train ride thinking one thing: Speak louder, soul. Don’t give up.

More time went by and we continued our occasional “check-ins” and “so tell me about your day” conversations. It felt safe, and at just the pace my unsure heart was in need of. Eventually the time came when he asked me out on our first official date, a night out to see Playing for Change. I remember calling my mom as I was rushing home from work to change clothes and get ready and I kept asking her, “I mean, this is okay for me to do, right? Like, it’s just a date. This doesn’t sound crazy, right??” And it was like I could hear her smile on the other end as she said, “Have such a great time, Em, and call me tomorrow to tell me all about it.” You see, months before, my mom had asked me, “If you could write a list of things you want in your soul mate – like a list of who this person would be, what would be on that list?” I had defensively reminded her that I was not going to be writing any sort of list because I was not going to be on a search for some sort of “soul mate.” (That phrase alone was enough to make me hurl.) Five minutes had gone by of complete silence and then I straight up told her what would be on that list and boy was I picky, everything from height, to age, to relationship background to career. (Clearly this was more about me challenging God like ‘Oh yeah? Well things didn’t work out last time and I’m being told to make a list so let’s just see if you can find this supposed “perfect match.’ …Fortunately God was able to handle my sassiness.) Each thing on this mental/verbal list I was giving her was followed up with a reason as to why I felt this way, and before I knew it, I’d just completed my first ever “love list” with my mom not saying a word, just smiling. (And you know the smile… it’s the ones our moms give when they know they’ve been right the whole time.) So fast forward back to me accepting this official date – my mom knew this guy was basically my list. (No, really. He was the exact height I’d spouted off months prior. He was 10 years older than me- just as I’d said I wanted. Etc. Etc. Etc.) I could have checked off literally everything I’d “written down.” And it scared the bejeezus out of me. (God was totally up there dusting off his hands, most likely saying, “Done” with a look like, don’t you challenge me again.) (And I haven’t.)

The show, our date, was nothing short of amazing, and when the time came for him to drive me home, we somehow ended up sitting in his car talking, in the parking garage… until 4am. He finally drove me home, and I said goodbye and he caught his flight out of O’hare… a trip that would keep him away for a little more than a month.

At the time, Christian was a professional, touring musician. He was the keyboard player for Night Ranger, and it just so happened that their tour was beginning the day after our first date. Had this happened at any other time in my life, I probably would have thought, “Well great. We just started dating and now he leaves.” But again, this was the perfect pace… the right amount of space I needed. During his month away, we really did not talk to each other every day. We talked (either Skype or on the phone or via email) about once a week. I occasionally every day, secretly stalked his pictures on Facebook. (I mean, c’mon.) Christian later confessed that he was photo stalking me too. So, touché.


I did a lot of thinking in that time, a lot of things were realized. My heart softened and it was like it had finally caught up with my soul. So when Christian got back from tour more than a month later, I was all in. And so was he 🙂

Our early days of dating sure were fun ones, especially since he was still traveling with NR, and I often got to go with or at least attend his shows. We spent a lot of time together, most of the time just being goofy or watching Christopher Guest movies.

We made a silly Christmas video.

We celebrated NYE together at a smoky casino in Minnesota… ha. It was perfect 🙂

(Bathroom selfies happen sometimes, especially when you’re on the road.)

We welcomed summer and celebrated the 4th of July together, also with the band.


We ended the summer with a little trip to Disney World, also with the band 😉

We celebrated another Christmas together.

We rang in another New Years together, this time in San Diego (and not with the band)

And we spent a lot of time at this record store, and at this little corner diner in his neighborhood all of the times in-between. And I never looked back or made another list again 😉

So that was that. Or, at least the beginning to our story.

Check back next week for Part Two: Engaged.
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  • This is seriously adorable!

  • Awe, I love this. You two are adorable and this story is so great. I love that you can say you met him in an alley, thats the kind of story I want. Maybe not an alley, but something to give people a good chuckle.

  • Love this so much! Such a sweet story! And I love all of your goofy face pictures together. That's how my hubby and I are. =) We are complete goofballs, every day all day. haha!

  • You two are so cute, I love your story! Can't wait to hear part two 🙂

  • I love love stories and I was laughing a little at how often the band was involved…hehe 😉

  • Awwww I love this! I have too, done "the list" to challenge either myself or God (I'm still not sure). Needless to say, God stepped right up and said here, now quit challenging me! LOL!

  • First, HOLY CRAP, I LOVE NIGHT RANGER! Second, This made me a little teary. What a sweet, sweet post Em!

  • I had no idea your husband played with Night Ranger. That is SO cool! (And I totally have Sister Christian in my head now. LOL) I love your love story and the pictures are awesome. Thank you for sharing! Have a great Thursday!

  • I love this 🙂 Isn't it amazing what is just around the corner, after what seems like a total thrashing of our hearts? I wrote a bit about that today, what led me to meeting M. (The Running Man part cracked me up SO much!!)

  • So freaking sweet! That's about as random of a meeting as mine and Philip's.

  • The way you wrote this is SO beautiful. I can't wait for the next part!

  • Cat

    This post had me giddy from the sweetness. I can really sense the love and happiness. I also adore love stories!! I love hearing personally love stores and how people met, etc. Thank you so much for linking up and sharing. Y'all are adorable!!!

  • So so sweet! But I want to know more about the alley – who spoke to who first? Sounds like a scene from a Rachel McAdams movie!

  • How sweet, love how you "met in an alley" hahaha adorable!

  • I love when people sure their stories. It's like he was hand picked for you and you got your happy ever after. What could be better??

  • I teared up a little bit. That's such a beautiful story! I'm always so happy when people find love.

  • <3 <3 love you guys!! and i totally feel you on the list thing…maybe i should just suck it up and make one 😉

  • so when you spent new years in SD, were you thinking of getting married then? or was that after you visited?? love this post!

  • beautiful

  • Aw, I can't wait to read your engagement story! God brought my Daniel along right when I wasn't even looking for him and was getting over a long, hard guy situation. But it was exactly when we needed to find each other, just like with you two! You guys are so perfect for each other! 🙂

  • adorable!! I love that his trip away touring lined up perfectly with the time your heart needed before jumping all in. I can't wait to read part w!

  • I can't wait to read the rest of the the story! GIRL I LOVE THIS!!

    • By the way – I am glad you guys worked out, because, quite frankly, y'all are too cute not to work out.

  • Oh gosh, I love this! I am such a sap for hearing about people's love stories, so this is just too cute. I seriously can't wait for part 2!

  • So sweet and adorable! Can't wait for the next part…

  • Love, Love, Love!!! Now, I need to write my own list and pass it along to God. 🙂

  • you totally should, Tami! 🙂

  • You and I have a similar story about the relationship from "hell" before meeting our mates for life! And, I first saw my husband in the parking lot of our apartment complex too. Stalked him at the pool ……

  • Oh, Michelle – I'm so glad you got through yours too and were matched with your "one"! So funny about the parking lot – who knew there was so much power in blacktop! 😉 ha!

  • chall1018

    Oh Em, I just love your story. God knew what he was doing when he put you in that alley. 😉

  • Thank you, Crystal! I think so too!! 🙂

  • I just…I love this so darn much! <3

  • Such a wonderfully sweet beginning for you both! Timing truly is everything (lived through my own hellish version before meeting my husband, too, & now we’ve been together for 18 years & married for almost 15 with a fabulous 7-year-old daughter)! Your hubby is one of the most genuinely kind people I have ever known & that is stemming from all the way back in the day when we were in school together when kids/teens are not always at their kindest…but he always was. So very happy for you both that you found each other when the timing was perfect so you could share your lives together! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Oh Kelly, I’m so glad we got through our valleys! And I love hearing that about Christian 🙂 He really does have such a kind heart – just one of the many things I love about him! Thank you for this sweet note!!