I met my husband, Ricardo, my Sophomore year of college. I had just gone through a breakup about 5 months before I started getting to know him, and to be honest, I still had a long ways to go before I was really over the other guy. But Ricardo happened anyway 🙂 We met at BYU at a Valentine’s day party for our ward (church) which his roommate dragged him to–it was speed dating. I was training for a half-marathon at the time and hadn’t had time to eat after running like 10 miles, so I met him at the end of the party by the cookie stand where I was shoving my face with chocolatey goodness to fill the hole that was my stomach. I was taking Spanish at the time and, upon seeing him, immediately recognized him as “Dan’s Mexican friend” who occasionally stopped by to hang out with my roommate (who Dan I think liked). Yeah, not a racist thought at all…whoops. But that’s how it went down. I started asking him questions about Mexico, which I was interested in since I was taking Spanish at the time. To be honest, I was disappointed with his answers to all my questions, since the Mexico, and the Mexican people, he was describing was nothing like I had learned in class. But it was very interesting, so we kept talking until the party ended. He offered to walk me home, which blew me away, since that isn’t commonplace in society since like 1940. It was very sweet. When we got back to our apartment complex I realized I had “lost my keys” (he claims I didn’t, but I really did), so I asked if I could hang out at his place. He obliged and I then proceeded to talk to my sister on the phone for an hour while he sat on his couch…I’m not sure really how he still wanted to hang out with me after that, since I realize now, that was rude.
But anyway, we were friends first and then started dating. He cared about me so much. And he loved me like I never thought a man would. He was respectful and had so much self-control. He was smart, happy, funny, handsome, and more than anything, dedicated to me beyond anything I could have wished for. I knew, with near certainty, that if I married Ricardo, he would always love me and never cheat on me. And that meant a lot. We had a lot of fun together and enjoyed the simple things in life in a similar sort of way. And so I was falling fast.
Ricardo had joined the LDS (Mormon) church a couple years before I met him, and, for the most part, was enjoying his membership. I had always imagined that I would marry a life-long member of the church, like I was, but I really had nothing against marrying a convert so long as their dedication to the church ran as deep as mine did. Well, my husband is not kind of man to fluctuate on anything, he sticks to whatever he sets his mind to. And the same went for the church. I had concerns about his dedication to the church, and expressed those concerns to him, and he reassured me that he had made the decision to join and he would never go back on that. I was very impressed by his dedication despite such a short time as a member and that put my mind at ease. Throughout our dating and engagement, my biggest concerns about him revolved around the church. I worried about the life he had lived before Mormonism and whether or not I could be okay with the things he had done previous to joining the church (normal things for a non-mormon, but things Mormons don’t typically do). I was very reassured by his sincere repentance for his past mistakes. I was also impressed by the fact that he had given up alcohol for good before he decided to join the church due to some health problems he had. He told me alcohol was no longer really even a temptation to him, despite his former love for alcoholic beverages. On one hand, I was concerned that he had lived a different life than I had, but on the other hand, I admired so much his ability to change significantly in such a short period of time. I worried that he hadn’t served an LDS mission. He told me that he had struggled with that decision, since a bishop of his had put a lot of pressure on him to go, but he felt he had received an answer to his concern when he received his Patriarchal Blessing (a Blessing/prayer given to LDS members) which told him he would not serve a mission as a young man. That answer was good enough for me. I worried whether he had a testimony (conviction of the truthfulness) of Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and the LDS church. I expressed this concern to my roommate and prayed about it for several days. After a few days, we were walking home from church, and Ricardo looked at me and said, “I don’t know why, but I feel I should bear my testimony to you”, and he proceeded to tell me that he believed the very things I had been concerned about. After a few weeks of this (which seemed much much longer), my concerns were eased. He sincerely wanted to be the man I wanted him to be, and I felt certain that with time, he would be 🙂 After all, he had been a member only a short time. After only one month of dating, he knelt on one knee in front of me and asked if I would be his eternal companion–words I could not have been happier to hear 🙂
The day Ricardo came back from the Temple after receiving his Endowments (promises made to God in the Temple), he was absolutely glowing with this light and happiness. Whatever doubts and concerns I had about his “worthiness” or “commitment” to the gospel, and whether it should be enough for me to marry him, were gone. He was a magnificent priesthood (authority and power believed to be God-given) holder and I could see that so clearly at that moment. Three months later, only five months after meeting, we were married in the Mount Timpanogos Temple. It was a beautiful day, not totally free of stress and anxiety about getting married, but beautiful. I remember kneeling across from him as we made sacred promises to each other and God and thinking, “I can’t believe this is really happening” and being so so happy. I was thrilled to being marrying my best friend and thrilled to be marrying him in the temple. Life was good, so so good.