It was in the fall of 1987 that I began to suspect that she might be “the one.” It made me nervous, and excited, all at the same time. I had only had a few girlfriends in my life, and none of them were like this one. Karen, or Kay as I called her, was amazing. She loved new adventures. She had a mischievous playful side. She dressed well. Most importantly, she loved the Lord Jesus and wanted to serve Him in a big way in her life.
Suspecting that she might be the one I went home with her on Thanksgiving Break. I met her parents. Her mother was the typical Southern lady. Her father was hilarious. It was a family that loved each other and enjoyed laughter. I thought to myself, “I could fit in here.”
I was working part time at a church at the time, and did not have a lot of money. But Sears was having a sale on rings, so I bought one. It was not much, but it meant a lot to me. I made arrangements for us to go to the same place where we had our very first date. I went early and told the manager that we needed to sit in the same booth as our first date. Initially, he said he could not save us a certain booth. When I explained why I needed that particular booth, and what I planned to do there, his romantic side took over and he readily agreed.
Later that night we sat in that booth and talked about stuff. We did a lot of that back in those days, just talking about stuff, sharing our hopes, dreams and hearts with each other. At some point in the conversation I pointed out that this was the same place we had our first date. She missed the cue. Later I mentioned that it was the same booth we had sat in and that I had ordered that same meal from our very first date. I think she began to suspect. We agreed that we had many happy memories that started in that very booth. Then I told her that I wanted to spend a lifetime making memories with her and pulled out that pitiful ring from Sears and asked her to marry me. I am so happy she said yes. And then the manager and employees burst out of the kitchen, where they had been spying on us, cheering and congratulating us.
The next few months were a whirlwind, as I graduated from college, as we planned a wedding, as the church moved me from a part-time to a full-time position. But finally, the DAY came. August 13, 1988. I was trying not to act nervous, which just made me more awkward than ever. The men walked in first and then one by one all those other ladies and ring bearers made their way down the aisle. Honestly, I did not care much about any of them, in my mind they were just distractions. I wanted to see her!
And suddenly, there she was. Arrayed in an amazing dress, with that lovely smile on her face and that twinkle in her eye, she floated down the aisle and honestly, the rest of the ceremony is a bit of a blur. It seemed otherworldly as we made our vows to each other. What I remember most is the overwhelming sense of love that we had for each other on our wedding day.
Now, 25 years have passed. She is still a bit mischievous. Her family still loves to laugh when we are all together. We are still making memories as we serve the Lord together planting churches in New England. I do not know what my life would have been like had I not married Karen Ann Jonas 25 years ago, but I know it would not have had as much joy, fun, peace, love, happiness and fulfillment as she brings to me. Happy Anniversary sweetheart, you are still the only one for me. And I look forward to another 25 years of making adventures together.