Super Bowl Sunday: A Love Story

Do you remember the day that you and I became “us”? It was Super Bowl Sunday, 2007. You were in Indiana watching the Super Bowl at your best friend’s house, a tradition I wasn’t yet a part of. I was in Chicago with my parents who had spontaneously flown up after I’d called to tell them I wanted to date you.

I remember hanging up with my mom and thinking, “How can I possibly explain to this nice 19-year-old guy that my parents are flying all the way to Chicago because he wants to date me?” It was intense. I didn’t know how to tell you they were coming. I was certain it would freak you out and scare you away forever.

But you didn’t miss a beat. While I stammered apologies all over the place for how dramatic this was becoming, you smiled and said it was fine, that you weren’t changing your mind. (Though I do remember you asking, “They know I didn’t propose or anything, right? I just want to date you”).

I think I knew you’d be my one and only right then – because of the way you took some serious crazy in stride.

Super Bowl Sunday holds special significance for a lot of people – there are traditions, parties, special foods, and friends that come together for this event. For some it’s about the game itself and for others it’s about the social ritual – the shared experience, the sense of togetherness. As far as the football goes, I could take it or leave it. (Ok, to be honest, I could just leave it). But Super Bowl Sunday is heavy with memories for me.

On February 3, 2007 I said goodbye to my parents and as they drove away I called you in Indiana to say, “So…do you still want to date me? Because you totally can.” You told me later that when you hung up the phone and told our friends we were officially dating the whole room cheered.

We spent the next three Super Bowls in Indiana, surrounded by college friends who packed the Henderson’s living room to the max so that we had to have the game projected onto a sheet hung up across one wall so we could all see it.

The first year we were married we spent the Super Bowl at a party at a pastor we hardly knew’s house in Naperville with strangers who would become our friends.

We spent two Super Bowls in North Carolina – the one in Raleigh when we’d had a huge fight just before the game, and the one in Charlotte where we crashed a party for friends of our friends.

These past two years we’ve been in Korea and the Super Bowl hasn’t been a Sunday night event shared with friends, but something you had to stream on your computer Monday morning around your class schedule–something I was only aware of because of the date and the memory of that Super Bowl Sunday that changed the course of my life.

Eight Super Bowls later and you are still my favorite. You are still my one and only. Never once have I wished for a life apart from you. Never once have I wanted out.

People say that marriage is hard work. That love is a choice we make even when we don’t feel like it. I agree with those ideas. Marriage does take effort and commitment. Love is more than a feeling. But, Baby, you make loving you SO EASY.

Sometimes I look at you and wonder how? How did we grow a love so big and beautiful between two broken, imperfect people? And how did I get someone like you to love me in the first place? And the answer seems clear – we didn’t. I didn’t. We are living a miracle. Every good and precious bit of our marriage is a grace.

You and me, we’re nothing special. We’re just a Southern girl and a Plain-Toast Midwest boy. But somehow, we ended up with a miracle. On Super Bowl Sundays I like to remember those two 19-year-olds, giddy with infatuation, with no idea that this thing between them would grow into a love big enough to rattle the stars.

Image credits: Wedding picture by Taylor Rae Photography, “Twenty-Four” anniversary picture by Grain & Compass.


  1. Every Super Bowl makes me think of the Hendersons and all the memories! Didn’t realize it was y’all’s dating anniversary too. By the way, Lillers, I’ve bought probably 6 books recently on your recommendation. Loving them all so far! Keep up the good work. You really are an amazing writer, and I’m so proud to call you my friend 🙂


    1. I’m glad you’re enjoying my book recs! I’ll try to keep passing on the good stuff. 🙂 Thanks for your sweet words. I think about you often. Miss your face and hope you’re doing well.


  2. Lily, I forgot that there was a group the year above us at Wheaton who went to the Henderson’s! Nelson and I pretty much started dating at the same Superbowl party at their house, four years later. 🙂 What a great story!


  3. Oh how I love this. I still remember when Jonathan came back into the family room to tell us you were dating – we did cheer. And loudly. And I remember him saying something like “Guys! I said we’re DATING! I didn’t say we’re engaged!”


  4. Oh sweet Lily. I could read your words for hours. God has truly blessed you with a talent. And what a wonderful love story!!!!


  5. “Sometimes I look at you and wonder how? How did we grow a love so big and beautiful between two broken, imperfect people?” Beautifully put, Lily. I can so relate; this is exactly how I feel when I think about my husband and me.

    And congratulations on your anniversary of becoming a couple! Seven years, that’s fantastic! My husband Ian and I officially started dating December 28th, 2010. We still celebrate even though we now have a wedding anniversary. =)


    1. That’s sweet. 🙂 And thank you. It’s eight years actually. And this summer will be our 5th wedding anniversary. Hurray! We don’t really “celebrate” our dating anniversary other than mentioning it to each other, but I don’t think we’ll ever forget about it. Since we dated for 3 1/2 years before we got married it’s a better marker of how long we’ve been together.


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