“As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.””
– Ephesians 5:31 NLT
Any ‘Friends’ fans here? ‘The One With the Prom Video’ is one of my favorites, because as Ross is airing his frustrations about taking messages for Rachel’s suitors, Phoebe unassumingly tells Ross that Rachel is his lobster and not to worry. She continues with how lobsters fall in love and mate for life. Well, I met my “lobster” in 2006.
I was still in college but living in my own apartment and trying to get away from the party life that I was living. The only way I met guys in our college town was by going to bars and clubs and I didn’t want to do that anymore. There had to be another way to meet guys, to meet THE guy…but I just didn’t know how or where. I felt God’s prompting and leading. It was new and different, and I was hesitant, but thankfully I listened. I signed up for Match.com…of all places! I wanted to meet a decent guy, not a party guy.
Those who listen to instruction will prosper; those who trust the LORD will be joyful.
– Proverbs 16:20 NLT
Signing up for Match.com was scary and exciting all at the same time…but I am smiling because it led me to my husband. My Stephen. My lobster. God was working and there is NO DOUBT that His hand was in this.
Apparently we both signed up for Match.com within a week or two of each other. I think it was around the start of the year when we both signed up. This was back in 2006. I found his profile and sent him a “wink”. I still deny that I initiated our relationship…but Stephen pulled an old email that showed a notification where I, in fact, winked at him first.
So after the initial wink, we chatted for a bit and we set up our first date for Valentine’s Day of 2006. However, I unfortunately had to cancel. Stephen still won’t let me hear the end of that! But let me clear the air…I was babysitting pretty regularly for a family and that was how I made ends meet in college. I babysat ALL THE TIME and I loved it! Well, this family that I was a nanny for asked me to babysit and I could not turn it down. It was money and I needed it! And it was GOOD money! They always overpaid me and were the sweetest ever and the kids were awesome! So I called Stephen to let him know that I couldn’t go out for Valentines Day and he was ok with it (but apparently not for how much he still hassles me about it! Haha!).
So we moved our first date to the following Saturday and we met up at Johnny Carino’s, an Italian restaurant in Denton. I was super nervous to meet him and I felt so awkward. We met inside the breezeway of the restaurant and got seated. I was automatically enamored with Stephen. He was so cute and so sweet and had a very quiet personality, which I liked. I excused myself to the restroom at one point and called my sweet friend, Shauna, and told her how much I liked him. I think I even told her that he was THE ONE! Y’all, I was smitten! I was smiling from ear to ear and could not hide how much I liked him.
Well, there is no way to say this than to just say it, but I had a date after this date. Yup. Back to back dates. I mean, I was on Match.com and trying to find THE ONE so I had to make the most of my time!
I remember wanting to cancel that other date so badly but there was just no way I could and I didn’t want to be rude and stand the guy up. My date with Stephen was ending and the other date with the other guy was taking place in an hour. So I graciously thanked Stephen for a wonderful dinner and evening and was overjoyed. I was practically skipping to my car. I really liked this guy. But now I had to go meet this other guy, whom I knew in my heart of hearts was not the one even before I met him. But onward I went on to the other date…at a bar for drinks. I should have known better. His profile picture was cute and we chatted a bit and he was nice, so I went along with his idea to meet at a bar for drinks. Old habits die hard.
As soon as we sat down, he opened his mouth and the rudest, crudest comments came flying out. I was disgusted and over it before I even had my first drink. I continued to sit there, trying not to be rude, and sipped my drink thinking about Stephen. I joke that this date just made Stephen that much more desirable!
Well, after that date ended, I went home and all I could think about was Stephen. We made plans for a second date, and then a third, and so on. After a few months, we were exclusive. About a year into our dating, we moved in together, to some dismay from loved ones. Now as a parent, I get it. At the time, I didn’t understand, but I was also not a Christian. To us, living together was not that big of a deal. We didn’t care, just thought of it logically. We felt like we had valid reasons for moving in together. My student teaching was about to go full-time and I would be just miles from his house working with middle school students, so living together made sense. We were already always together and there was no point in spending money on an apartment if I wasn’t going to be there…so we moved in together. I paid Stephen rent and helped out with some other stuff here and there, so I wasn’t just freeloading off of him.
Thankfully it worked out for us.
I graduated from college, got a great job teaching reading and writing, and in 2008, Stephen proposed!
He was out of town for two weeks for a work trip in China and missed my birthday, so when he got home he took me out to celebrate. I remember getting ready and thinking Stephen was acting odd because he was taking pictures of me while I was curling my hair. After I was ready, he took me to the living room to give me my gift. As I unwrapped it, I noticed it was a clipboard. Honestly, at first I was kind of disappointed. I mean, a clipboard…for my birthday?! But then I flipped it around and on the back, written across the bottom were the words “Mrs. Greci.” After I saw that, it was such a blur! I remember Stephen getting down on one knew and telling me such sweet words, and I just wanted to scream out “YES!” the whole time! He finally got to the part where he asked me to marry him and of course I said yes! 🙂
After he proposed, we went to Rick’s Chophouse in downtown McKinney, which, by the way, has THE BEST steaks in the area! We had the ‘Porterhouse for Two’, followed by a dessert gifted to us by the restaurant with “Congratulations” written on the plate in chocolate syrup. Then, to top off the night, as we were leaving there was a horse-drawn carriage outside the restaurant, which is not unusual because they do tours around the area. I LOVE horses and always wanted to take a horse-drawn carriage ride before. Stephen sensed my excitement and we went for a ride around the square. We rode around McKinney, bundled up, in love, and excited for the future. Two newly engaged, eager, young adults ready to tackle anything!
And today, my sweet husband turns another year older. As we both get closer to entering a new decade, I am so thankful to have him by my side during all of it. He is the best friend and husband that I could ever have asked for.
2020 is definitely a year that we will never forget, but I also never want to forget our love story. So as I wish my husband a very happy 39th birthday, I am also reminded how each day is so special and worthwhile. I am so lucky to have you, Stephen. You are my lobster!