***Warning- this story contains sappy, cheesy elements mixed with loads of the dramatic. You were warned.
Christi and I have a rather unique story of how we connected. We both attended Union University. She was one grade ahead of me but I knew who she was. Who didn’t know Christi Byrd! She was friends with everyone. She was the Baptist Student Union President and she was Homecoming Queen at Union. Not only did she love Jesus, she was gorgeous. She was godly and beautiful, a perfect mix.
Christi and I were acquaintances at best. I taught a Greek lab (that’s Greek not Geek), where students practiced their Greek vocabulary words. She was in the Greek lab I taught. We also had a few classes together but never really spoke besides a quick hello. I had my own friends and dated a few girls throughout the college years but was always frustrated with the dating scene. It felt so foolish to me. I always felt like a child playing grown up. I mean I had no real clue about love and commitment and neither did they.
With the influence of my youth pastor and my own frustrations, my junior year of college I pushed dating aside. Now I am not saying girls all across campus wept in grief that I was no longer available. I mean I could get a date. The ratio was 4 girls to 1 at Union so every guy had a chance! I just didn’t want to go the dating approach anymore to find the one. I was ready for something more supernatural.
I remember clearly praying to the Lord that I was sick of the effort of dating to find the one. I was 20 years old and I was ready to be single as long as the Lord willed it. I was determined that if I were going to get married, He would need to intervene. Did I want to get married? Absolutely! I just became convinced through my own trial and error that I would probably make the wrong draft pick out of all the potential prospects. I was the Cleveland Browns of dating!
So for a little over a year I stuck to my commitment. I focused on the Lord and enjoyed the mess out of my junior year. Sure My friends worried that I was going to become a monk with my no dating plan and though she has never admitted it, I think my mom worried I had quit liking girls if you know what I mean. Come on mom! That definitely was not the case. I just couldn’t do the games anymore.
In March of 1996 I applied to work as a support staff for the summer for Centrifuge camp. I applied to be the Resident Assistant at the dorms on Union’s campus. It was an extremely competitive job to get and when the list of the thirty or so students who were chosen was published I was on it. I was pumped! I came back to my dorm room and ran into Robert Grisham. Robert and I had been friends since high school and had roomed together a couple of times. I showed him the list and he stopped on a name and said, “Christi Byrd.” I knew who she was as I mentioned above and asked what he was meaning. In a very matter of fact way Robert proceeded to tell me that he thought her and I would get together and I would marry her. It’s like my roommate told me I would be going out to buy a lottery ticket and would win the jackpot. Yeah right! I am pretty sure I told him he had lost his mind.
Summer came and our first day of work we were split up in pairs to do towel laundry. Guess who I got paired up with: Christi Byrd. Now as romantic as doing towel laundry can be, nothing really magical happened that day but we did get to talk. I didn’t think much of it besides what my crazy roommate had told me a month back! As the days went on Christi and I found ourselves in the same spaces more and more. I came up with a brilliant idea for us to study Greek together to get ready for the coming semester. When I told Nathan Joyce, my other roommate, about it he had a field day with the info. He would ask me constantly, “how is studying Christi, I mean Greek, going??”
I enjoyed our time studying together to say the least. The summer was about half way over and by this time my mind was racing. I had Christi on the brain 24/7. We were barely friends and I had no idea what she thought about me. I would have been content to just keep my growing attraction quiet until the night we played Speed.
Speed is a card game you play where you try and get as many cards as you can by having the higher number when you both flipped a card. It goes really fast and you have to pay careful attention. A lot of us were playing in the commons area (we couldn’t go to each other’s rooms because we weren’t allowed to have girls in the room) and Christi and I found ourselves matched up to play. We played and I don’t remember who won but what I do remember was the jolt of lightning that happened when our hands touched while picking up the cards. I know what you are thinking right now. “Dax that’s called static and it happens all the time!” No this was so much different. That hurts! This was like a jolt of lightning that hit us both and it felt magical. I could tell she felt it too. It was a powerful energy that hit me as I touched her soft, inviting hand. It confirmed everything for me in that moment. I knew she was the one or at least I knew I wanted her to be the one. Now how to convince her to say the same about me!
I went home that night in a daze. I had met the girl of my dreams and touching her was like holding on to electricity. I decided that night that I would ask her out. I would break my dating fast because this one could be the one! A few days later I finally saw an opportunity but what I did was nothing like I had planned.
It was a Friday night and our shifts for work at the camp were over. Christi was a lifeguard and she was walking back from the pool and I had just finished playing ping pong with some of the Fuge campers. I saw an opportunity to walk with her and decided this was the moment I would ask her out. We talked all the way back to the common area and sat down and continued to talk. I was getting up the nerve and I finally decided to reveal my feelings.
I saw a moment in the conversation and I took it. Here is how I planned it:
“Christi, it has been fun getting to know you this summer and if you wanted to we should go grab lunch sometime.”
What I actually said:
“Christi, you are going to be my wife. I love you.”
What in the world did I do! It just came out. I knew I had hoped it but I didn’t mean to say it out loud yet! Nothing i could do now. It was out there. Christi just stared at me. She didn’t say anything! I was convinced that I had completely scared her away! When she finally spoke she said: “I absolutely believe the same thing. You will be my husband. I am in love with you too.” It was a joyous moment. I didn’t do a dance but my heart lept and my dreams were being realized in that moment. We had never been out and already proposed our desire to marry each other. No games in this for sure!
Two weeks later we went to Nathan’s wedding. It was at that wedding we began to talk seriously about wedding plans. All this before our first date. When we got back we left to go home for a few weeks before fall semester started. We talked on the phone some but we didn’t see each other being three hours away from each other.
When school started back I couldn’t wait to see Christi. The second week of school Christi spoke for a BSU worship night and I was to do the closing prayer. When I went up there I asked her to come back up. I dropped to a knee, pulled out a ring, and proposed to the girl of my dreams in front of those 300 people. The question I got all that night was: “I didn’t even know you two were dating!” We weren’t! We didn’t go on our first date until after we were engaged! Five months later I married Christi and we have now been married 21 years and counting. She is still the girl of my dreams and God gave her to me! I asked him to provide and He knocked it out of the park! Thank you Lord for bringing us together.