My husband and I met in the fall semester of our freshman year at Princeton during the first meeting of our small-group lab of Civil Engineering 102. CIV102 was the “gut” science class that many all-out humanities types used to fill our science field requirement. If you’d told me I had just entered the same room as my husband for the first time, I would’ve been THRILLED… this particular class had more than its fair share of handsome, good men.
Later that day, he stumbled into our residential college library to find me barefooted, feet propped up on the desk, hitting the books hard (week one of freshman year, nose to the grindstone and all…). I had come from the deep South. We study barefooted. He walked up and introduced himself. That was the beginning of the end of my life as a single woman.
His sense of humor won me over right away—not sense of humor as in cracking jokes like a standup comedian, but sense of humor as in his outlook on the world and on others. His adventurous spirit; his ability to take light things lightly and treat grave things seriously; and a very charming twinkle in his eye. He also had an unmistakable deep interior life, and a rare, genuine respect for women as women in the whole sense—our spirituality, physicality, emotional life, capacities for good. From the day I met him, he was a real man, who by his leadership and strength showed me how to become a better woman. That was quite attractive.
My warmest and most vivid memories from the early days of Princeton are of side-splitting laughter in groups with him; of clowning around with clean and mischievous fun; of heated Catholic-Protestant debates with him in the stairwells of our residential college; and of pursuit and breakups and mini-heartbreaks as we tried to discern where we were heading.
By the second semester of our junior year, we were dating more seriously and exclusively. We were engaged soon after graduation and married the next summer.
Our Lord was overwhelmingly generous to me in choosing him for me. I’m out of my league—his character, integrity, and fidelity are what I aspire to. Thanks be to God. From Day One, my association with him kept me on a path toward good. Who knows what kind of a stray cat I might otherwise have been. I was a kid when I met him, and we have grown up together, entered adulthood, parenthood, real life side by side. Our marriage is indissoluble, until death do us part, and we have three beautiful incarnations of our love, with names, to prove it.
Thank you, God.