I had a conversation with someone once who was very disturbed by the fact that there was incest recorded in the Bible. I had to ask them, “You realise that not everything in the Bible is a good example?” Due to their lack of understanding of scripture, this person had somehow twisted this around in their own mind as being promoted as ok.
Not everything in the Bible is put forward as a good example. I’ve actually had to explain this to people.
NOT EVERYTHING IN THE BIBLE IS PUT FORWARD AS A GOOD EXAMPLE.
Anyway, with that in mind, I am putting a disclaimer on this post: This is not a how-to or should-do post, matter of fact, it’s full of impulsive decisions that may be better avoided, but at the same time, I’m sure happy things turned out the way they did.
This is the story of how I met my wife.
In 1992 I lived in an open squad bay with about 80 other Marines. We each had a bed, a wall locker, and a generous 2 square feet of space to call our very own. Imagine what that was like on a Friday night after a long week.
About 50% of us smoked, and the other 50% used smokeless tobacco, or “dip”. Some, like myself, used both. When we woke each morning, the squad bay would be filled with a dense cloud of smoke as we lit our first cigarette of the day. There was also an endless competition between blaring rap and metal music each morning.
The mid-week evenings in the barracks were relatively quiet, with not a lot going on. I remember one Wednesday evening, in particular, I was lying on my rack (the Marine Corps term for bed), and a fellow Marine came to me and said, “I’m going into the city tonight. Would you like to come?”
This particular Marine was big into the San Francisco club scene then. It was about an hour’s drive into the city, and it was already 9.00 pm. We had to get up at 5.00 am the next morning and go for a run, do the obstacle course, go to the gym, train, and do normal Marine stuff. Even at 22, clubbing on a weeknight was a bad decision and a guarantee for a long day of misery the next day.
So, of course, I said, “Sure, I’ll go”.
My friend probably asked me because I had a car, and he knew I was willing to drive. We drove into the city to “Club X”. I should disclose that it wasn’t my first time at this particular club. I and a few other Marines ended up at the “X” once or twice a month. It was far enough from the base that it wasn’t packed with other military guys and was frequented by many attractive young women.
The inside of the club had an industrial feel to it. It had a large dance floor, a stage, balconies and cages on the wall that could be raised and lowered. One or two people would be allowed in the cages and raised up to where they could dance for a while.
Then the cages would be lowered, and people switched out like a carnival ride. The lights were flashing, the music was deafening and Techno was all the rage.
I worked as a bouncer for a club at one point, and midweek was usually slow, so the club would run specials to bring people in and increase business. Wednesday night at the X was $1 drinks and no cover charge for the ladies.
This was a successful combination as the club was busy for a weeknight. A few other fellow Marines also attended the club that night. As I mentioned, it was dollar night, and I went about $20 deep by the night's end. My wife told me that she remembers me dancing on the stage, I may or not have been wearing a shirt at the time. I don’t remember dancing on the stage, but I certainly did have a big enough ego to do something like that. I don’t suppose it matters at this point, but I would like to note that she noticed me.
I remember very clearly the first time I noticed her. I remember exactly what she was wearing, a white crop top and pleated high-waisted shorts (very cool then). She was beautiful, like really beautiful. It might sound corny, but it was like something from a movie.
We were across the dance floor, and our eyes met. We moved towards each other and just started dancing together. I don’t know how to describe my feelings then, but I knew she was special. We danced together for a couple of songs, I am almost certain one of those songs was “What is Love” by Haddaway.
Remember, it was new and very cool at the time. After we had danced for a bit, I remember she shouted into my ear, “Hi, I’m Chrissy!”. I shouted back, “I’m Chris”. We enjoyed the novelty of sharing the same name.
We eventually moved from the dance floor into the bar part of the club. She had some friends with her, and I had mine, which was not very helpful, but we had the chance to talk a little. My lovely Christine was a pretty good kid but also liked to party. She and her friends also enjoyed frequenting clubs and were not unfamiliar with illegal substances.
I was asking for her phone # when one of my fellow Marines, a giant of a man, tackled me from behind. Once that was sorted out, I gave him the “I’ve got something going on here. Beat it” look. He understood and left. So I again asked for her #. After the usual fumbling around looking for a pen that was part of the dating ritual at the time, she wrote her # on a cocktail napkin and handed it to me with a smile.
We returned to the barracks around 3.00 or 4.00 in the morning. After a short nap, I woke to the usual cigarette smoke and blaring rap and metal music. I don’t remember that day, but it was undoubtedly filled with the misery of doing Marine stuff after a big night.
I shared my home with approximately 200 other Marines. We had one pay phone in the entire barracks. There was also a single landline at the duty desk by the front door of the barracks.
After we were cut loose for the day, I called Christine on the pay phone, and we set a date to meet. I don’t think we planned anything specific we would get together and just hang out.
Anyway, several days passed, and the day came and she stood me up. She just straight-up ghosted me. I was mildly annoyed but didn’t put too much thought into it. I moved on and forgot about it. I later found out that she stood me up due to the consumption of an illegal substance. She was also a pretty stereotypical blonde. I’m unsure if that made it better or worse; again, I didn't overthink it.
I look back now, thinking of all of the people in the Bay Area of California and the odds of going out on a weeknight and just happening to meet this beautiful lady. The odds would be slim to none. But calculating the odds, the next part of this story is even less likely.
I believe it was a Saturday afternoon, and I was asleep on my rack. The duty officer woke me, saying, “Miller, you’ve got a phone call. Some girl wants to talk to you.” I went downstairs, and it was Christine on the phone. That doesn't sound like a big deal, but the odds of her calling a Marine Barracks after standing me up, the duty officer answering the Barracks phone, not hanging up on some random civilian, walking upstairs to find me, waking me up, and me walking downstairs and taking the call are probably smaller than bumping into a specific person amongst the millions of people in the Bay Area.
Anyway, she apologised for standing me up, sort of. She invited me to come and have dinner in the restaurant where she worked that evening. I agreed. I don’t know why, but I could not remember what she looked like. I arranged to go with a friend. I decided we would sit outside the window until she walked by and then decide whether to go in.
I remember sitting outside in my friend's car, looking through the restaurant's front window. When she eventually walked by, my friend said, “You should go in”. I agreed.
It was a nice Italian restaurant, and Christine was waiting tables. She was the only waitress in the entire dining room. We had a nice dinner. We would chat briefly when she came by to check on us. I think she even paid for our dinner out of her tips.
I asked her out a second time, and she didn’t stand me up this time. We went to Bud’s Burgers in Vallejo, California. I’ve always viewed this as our first “official” date. I still believe Bud’s has the best burgers I’ve ever had.
The McDonald's next door was rumoured to have bulletproof glass. It was a classy part of town. We went to a park near the water and enjoyed our burgers. Christine said she was amazed by how fast I ate.
Growing up in a house with 3 brothers and being a Marine, if you wasted time, you missed out. That was the beginning of what has turned out to be a 31-year relationship so far.
THAT WAS THE BEGINNING OF WHAT HAS TURNED OUT TO BE A 31-YEAR RELATIONSHIP SO FAR.
We eloped 8 months later and were married at “The Chapel of The Bells” in Reno, Nevada. Our entire wedding cost about $40. That price included a car to and from our hotel, flowers and a photo. And no, we didn’t opt for Elvis to marry us.
We had many long conversations while dating. I remember one conversation in particular where Christine brought up the topic of God. I answered her, "There is no God, I’m an atheist". She said, “No, you’re not”. I guess she was right.
So that’s the story of how I met my wife. What are the odds? Impulsive decisions or divine interventions, I believe it’s both/and. Looking back now, even in our ignorance and my so-called atheism, I believe the Lord was working in all of those things.
I believe the Lord can and does work in good, bad, and ignorant decisions. I am grateful He did. It’s humbling to recognise how much we don’t know about how things often work out.