It’s February again! Like last year, I’ll be posting excerpts from my book, Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship.
Andrew: At 25 years of age I was already a lonely bachelor. After a number of failed relationships in high school, college, and after college; after a number of journeys, adventures, and failed business and employment ventures; I found myself back in Michigan, looking for a job, and feeling…well…like a failure. And a bachelor.
Regina: The Steubenville Youth Conference had been a source of conversion for me when I was a teen, and even as a youth group leader, it was a lot of fun. But by Sunday, I was hot and exhausted, not to mention a little rumpled from sleeping on the ground and having lost my luggage. During one of the sessions, I saw Mike (future brother-in-law) come into the tent followed by a guy wearing a white dress shirt and jeans of the palest faded blue. His longish dark hair was hanging over his eyes. I rolled my own eyes. Clearly, the guy didn’t know how to dress. I was introduced to Andrew Schmiedicke and we shook hands, but given how loud the music was, we didn’t have a chance for conversation. We agreed to meet at Bob Evans for brunch.
Andrew: When I spoke with Regina, she was dressed in a blue denim jumper with a white t-shirt, and her hair was a little messy. Regina was very easy to talk to, but I didn’t feel the slightest hint of a romantic interest. I suspected she might be one of those girls who didn’t care about her appearance very much.
But we had a great conversation about simple living, and the proper use of technology. In fact, we talked pretty much non-stop the entire time, while Mike and Alicia sat listening with smiles on their faces. It was clear Regina and I had a lot in common, especially being writers, but I really didn’t feel attracted to her.
Regina: After the weekend in Steubenville, I could admit that I found Andrew Schmiedicke very intellectually interesting. I began to be curious about him, but I wouldn’t say I was attracted to him. In the weeks after our meeting, my thoughts became consumed with the plans for my sister Alicia’s wedding, which was taking place in January. This was our large family’s first wedding, and Alicia and I had already spun out all sorts of plans to make it unique, romantic, and fun. Since I was always involved in party planning for our family, (and I was the maid of honor) I had a lot to do.
Alicia wanted to do things for Mike too, and that meant we had to involve the best man in the wedding who just happened to be… you guessed it, Andrew Schmiedicke. This gave me an excuse to call Andrew fairly frequently. We would chat on the phone while I bounced ideas off of him, and explained the sort of things our brothers wanted to do for Mike for the wedding: we wanted the groomsmen to throw him a “bachelor bath” party which was the male version of a shower: it involved the men of the wedding party praying and honoring the groom-to-be—after soaking him to the skin in a watergun attack. Andrew was keen to help out and take the lead, so plans were made.
So I was thinking about Andrew, but not romantically. I was glad he was happy to be a partner in the goings-on of our large, enthusiastic family. I was thinking of him that summer, when our family and a dozen other families made our typical joint vacation down to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. Those ritual family vacations were almost a retreat, with daily prayer times together, skits, dinners, and beach games. Many of the girls I had gone on vacation with for the past ten years were dating and almost engaged. I was still (sigh) single.
My usual strategy was to hang out with the young married couples. I had always had friends of all ages, and I had no problem chatting with moms, holding babies, and playing with kids. One night when I was sitting on the couch in the beach house of one of my friends, I was watching a young dad play with his toddler son, and I thought to myself, You know, that’s what makes Andrew Schmiedicke different from these other guys I’ve dated. I bet he’s the type of guy who would be a good dad.
Those words had scarcely finished running through my head when one of the moms, Jane, looked at me keenly. “Regina, who are you thinking about right now?”
I blushed instantly. “Uh…” I faltered. “Just some guy I met this summer.”
Looking intently at me, she said, “He’s the one for you.”
Andrew: My attempts to get to know some of the other Catholic girls on campus went nowhere. What was particularly frustrating was that I was attending a Catholic university where there were so many vibrant and wonderful girls. Couldn’t one of them be the one I was looking for? And yet, it seemed that the elusive “she” was nowhere to be found.
Still, I was getting periodic phone calls from Regina regarding plans and events leading up to Mike and Alicia’s wedding in January. I found that Regina, the oldest of ten, had a lot in common with me as the oldest of eleven children. We discovered that we both came from large and rather devout Catholic families. Our occasional conversations were pleasant, but didn’t seem to go beyond that.
The week before Thanksgiving, I expressed my frustration to Father Giles. He told me to ask Jesus to bring the young woman into my life who was to be my wife. So I did. “Lord, if you want me to marry, bring the woman into my life!”
Regina Doman and Andrew Schmiedicke’s entire courtship story is included in my book: Come My Beloved: Inspiring Stories of Catholic Courtship which is available on Amazon in paperback or on Kindle. For more information and to see a book trailer, check out Come My Beloved’s website.
Text copyright 2011 Full Quiver Publishing and Andrew Schmiedicke
Photo copyright Andrew Schmiedicke