How I Met My Husband

In celebration of our 2-year anniversary on December 17th, I want to share the story of how my husband and I met. Everyone loves a good romance, right? This is a condensed shell version of our story, but to include all the more juicy details would just make this post far too long. I’ll save those for my next anniversary. [grin]

Photo credit: Drew Woolery

How We Met

It started with me informing God I was perfectly happy being single.

Around the same time, Daylen (my husband-to-be) was telling God the same thing. “Only You, God. No more relationships.”

I like to imagine God laughing at us and then scooching us ‘coincidentally’ onto the same football field.

Yes, my husband and I met on a football field, though we call it the “ultimate frisbee field” since that is why we were there. I currently attended my first semester of graduate school in Missouri where I knew no one. Ultimate frisbee filled my time with potential friends. Daylen, meanwhile, just returned from living in Florida. He played frisbee to reunite with his friends.

I caught his eye during the game, but it wasn’t until we played again a week later that he thought, “I’d like to get to know this girl.” As the thought crossed his mind, he stopped abruptly in the middle of the field, in the middle of the game–at the 40-yard mark, to be exact–and said out loud, “No. Only You, God.”

I’ll just say from the start, I spent this entire relationship much slower on the uptake. Those two frisbee nights were monumental for Daylen whereas I just remember a nice guy playing frisbee in jeans with a pulled leg muscle.

We ‘coincidentally’ happened to both be involved with the Christian Campus House (CCH), attending Wednesday night Bible studies. We ‘coincidentally’ ran into each other fairly often. And we both ‘coincidentally’ ended up invited to an exclusive small 6-person overnighter game-night just before Christmas break.

Allow me to step back for a moment and share a clip from a few months earlier (I know, I know, flashbacks are a big no-no in writing, but I’m doing it anyway.) [grin]

The Guy Who Didn’t Like My Writing . . . And the Guy Who Did.

I wasn’t much of a dater, but I got asked a lot — usually by weird or needy guys. Just before I met Daylen, a different gentleman wanted to date. I was waiting for a good way to say, “No, thank you.”

One evening, the topic of writing came up. I was still quite sensitive about my writing at this time, but I took a daring step of courage and let this guy read the synopsis of the fantasy novel I’d spent years writing.

He got half way through it and laughed. A loud ‘is-this-a-joke?’ laugh. He turned to me and said, “Really?” gesturing to my synopsis, almost as if waiting for me to point and shout, “April Fools! I’m not a silly fantasy writer!”

That’s about when I told God I was happy being single. I told that same thing to this gentleman pretty quickly, too.

Now, back to Daylen and the game night (sounds like a middle-grade adventure book title: Daylen and the Game Night.) We all lounged around — the girls off making tea, another friend checking his phone. You get the picture — there was a gaming lull.

Daylen turned to me and said, “So, I noticed you have a blog.” Before I could figure out how in the world he even found my little hidden blog, he continued and said, “You’re a really good writer.” He went on to discuss posts he really liked and how he was amazed I could make a post about a haircut interesting.

Instant approval. The man likes my writing!

The next day, he gave me a ride to the airport so I could fly home to Wyoming for Christmas. At this point, God had given him a very clear, “Go ahead,” regarding me after much intense prayer and patience.

On my end…I just needed a ride to the airport.

During the 90 minute drive, we simply talked. About anything and everything. Nothing too deep, just adventures and family, likes and dislikes. But this was the first time in a very long time I felt…safe alone with a guy who wasn’t a family member or old friend.

The drive blew me away.

Over Christmas break, I journaled like a school girl about whether or not I would “consider allowing myself to consider attraction to him.” (classic over-thinking)

Daylen spent the break praying, reading, and studying how to pursue me in a Godly manner. My date of return — January 9th — was game day. (What a man!)

Game Day

I returned and it started. Slowly. Game nights, sledding, painting parties. Public and group hang-outs, mostly. Then, as if to push us along, God orchestrated completely chance meetings practically every day–just us two. You know when you’re attracted to someone and you just hope you’ll see them on accident (and us girls often try to orchestrate those “accidents”)? Well, God made all those accidents happen. It was like living in a movie.

Daylen would leave me tiny notes clipped to my door, he’d drive an hour and a half to bring me my favorite bubble tea from Kansas City, we’d rock climb together, and–unbeknownst to me–he informed a few of his friends that, “She doesn’t know it yet, but I’m going to marry her,” only a month after my return!

One day, I just started thinking in terms of “us.” Our relationship progressed so naturally, sometimes we’d accidentally let plans slip like, “Someday we should go camping by such-and-such river,” which we both knew wouldn’t happen unless we got married. Slowly, I knew we were meant to marry each other. I’d never been so sure of anything in my life–and I used to be the girl who laughed at people who said, “I just knew.”

Ten months after we met on the frisbee field, Daylen proposed to me on the 40-yard line. “This is where I chose to say ‘yes’ to God and ‘no’ to you. In the same way as then,” he got on one knee, “I want to pledge my life to saying ‘yes’ to you and only you, after God. Nadine Shea, will you marry me?”

I said a very romantic, flustered, “Yeah.”

We were married four months later.

(And that is another fairytale in itself)


Photo credit: Drew Woolery


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About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. I won’t go through the whole story, but soon after meeting Stef, I did tell one of my friends, “I’m not getting stuck in the friend zone on this one. Either we’re going to date, or I’m going to make it awkward.”

    Six months later, we were engaged.

  2. And I recall sitting in a coffee shop in Wydaho with you over that Christmas break sharing about the guy who drove you to the airport and was interested in your writing, AND could hold a good conversation! =) An inkling of what was to come.

    And, YES, your wedding was like a fairy-tale, but REAL and TRUE! Blessings and favor for many years and stories to come!!

  3. <3 Love that love story! (sniff) Gorgeous photos too. Here's our story:

    I was in that same place of reluctance you were both in. Isn't it great that God's plan is so much better than ours?!

    • Nadine Brandes

      Lauren, your story is so sweet and beautiful! Yes, it truly is a glorious blessing that God’s plans are better than ours! You said it, sister!

  4. Beautiful, thank you for sharing.

  5. I remember when you told me “I’d never been so sure of anything in my life” about Daylen. I knew then that this was for keeps!! Thank you to both of you for listening to God’s voice. You two are an inspiration!! I love you two more than words can express.

    • Nadine Brandes

      We love you, too. Very very much. Thank you for being an example of how to listen to God’s voice. 🙂

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