Nineteen years ago today, I put on my new outfit and let my friend Elizabeth curl my hair. My brother had offered to iron the back of my plaid vest and accidentally left an iron mark on the apparently fragile fabric, but it was okay. My matching plaid skirt fit perfectly, and the dance would be dark anyway.

At the agreed upon time – too early and not late enough, judging by the butterflies in my stomach – our doorbell rang. My mom insisted on documenting the occasion with a picture. We stood awkwardly in my parents’ living room, me scowling at the embarrassing camera and wondering why we’d spent agonizing hours shopping for a dress when he showed up wearing jeans.

We drove to a restaurant – one of my least favorites, though I didn’t say so at the time, and talked through dinner. Well, he talked and I listened, leaving him with the misguided impression that I was a quiet girl. Then we got back in the car and drove to our high school gym, where we stood (again, awkwardly) at the edge listening to the sweet sounds of 90s pop.

I don’t remember much of what we talked about that night, though I do remember the two songs we slow danced to. And I don’t actually remember why I liked him so much, though I remember letting him kiss me in my driveway right before curfew. I remember that he was cute (still is) and obviously loved his family very much (still does).

And much as I hate to admit it, since so many of our current-day arguments stem over his or my driving, but I remember being impressed with his ability to drive one-handed and hold my hand with his other one.

What can I say? I was 15 and was pretty much impressed with anyone who could drive.

It’s hard to believe I went on my first date with my husband nearly two decades ago. It’s even harder to believe how many fairy tale expectations I started our relationship with – and held tightly for many years into our marriage.

Today I’m talking about something about marriage that surprised me in a big way at Let Why Lead. Join me over there?

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