this is part two in a series – part one is here
When I was 15, I met the Hobbs family when they came over to our house for lunch one day. The way my family generally did friends, my mom would make friends with another mom, and the kids would be our friends, whoever was nearest in age to each of us, usually.
I became friends with the middle child and only girl (I was at the time also an only girl), Hannah, and wanted to become friends with the oldest boy, about a year younger than me, named Luke (spoiler: I married him).
He seemed quiet and distant and intelligent. He seemed like a Darcy type and I, like most homeschool girls, thought Pride and Prejudice was quite possibly the greatest love story ever written.
He also seemed lonely, so over the months that followed, I took every opportunity to befriend him. I didn’t really have a crush on him at this point, although I did consider him a prospect for marriage, because I considered pretty much every intelligent Christian guy near my age as a prospect.
At this point, I think my parents were intending I marry one of the Hobbs boys – Luke has a brother 2 years his junior – at least my dad certainly talked about it a bit. It didn’t seem to matter to Dad which one. Also Miss Susie, Luke’s mom, seemed to like me a lot and Luke’s youngest brother, who was two at the time, loved me. So there was the potential for a perfect match (after all, in courtship, you basically date the family).
At some point I did start crushing on Luke but I didn’t really talk about it (guarding my heart, remember?) and I can’t really remember when, because I was pushing those feelings away so hard.
At some point in 2005, I got the idea to start a Christian magazine for teens — none I had seen were radical enough for me. Brio by Focus on the Family was way too liberal.
Luke wrote a family newsletter and I was impressed, so I enlisted him as my co-editor. We were very devout fundamentalist Christians, extremely entrenched in purity culture, and hesitant but sincere evangelists, both being shy and extremely introverted.
I soon learned, after beginning the magazine, that Luke’s parents had fallen in love while working on a Christian magazine. I was a little worried after this, that maybe the magazine would lead to something romantic if we weren’t careful (and maybe I was secretly excited about it) but my devotion to emotional purity was steady.
We started the magazine when I was 17 and Luke was 16.
Before our first issue was written, there was a night our families got together and our parents went out for dinner. Our brothers played while Hannah and I cooked dinner and watched the littlest kids. The patriarchy was strong with all of us.
I found out years later that when the parents had gone out, they were actually having a secret meeting to determine if all parents were okay with Luke and I getting married eventually.
Apparently they were. I guess if it wasn’t okay, they would have pulled us apart — let me reiterate that we knew NOTHING about this meeting that basically determined our future. Also we were teenagers.
As it was, we continued being pushed together (not that I’m complaining, we liked being together). Knowing my parents, this meeting was probably all their idea. Dad is big on meetings.
I believe that, from this point on in my dad’s mind, I was basically Luke’s property that he was holding on to for awhile. Many future conversations made it clear that Dad felt it was his duty to present Luke with a emotionally and sexually pure wife.