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Eight Years Ago, I Said “I Do”

the story of how magan met her husband

Dustyn + Me.

I was a junior in high school when I met my future husband. I went to an itty bitty school in a town of 350 people (yep, you read that right). We didn’t have a football team because there was certainly no way we could fill the stands, have enough players on the field, and have cheerleaders to cheer on the team without recruiting people from nearby towns. Football is a big deal in Texas, especially high school football. If you’ve seen Friday Night Lights  you’re familiar with this.

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.

To fill the gaping football hole, I went with my best friend, Leslie, to her boyfriend’s games. This particular year, 2001, they were in the state playoffs. We had a basketball game the same night as their semi-finals game. We dribbled and took shots, knowing we had other places to be. In fact, I can’t remember if we even won that game or who we played. The details are vague – except I can remember what I was wearing that day. A blue turtleneck sweater and jeans. Nothing fancy, but the blue made my eyes pop.

We quickly packed into Leslie’s mom’s suburban and booked it to Houston for the game. Leslie had a couple of seats saved by her boyfriend’s brother, Dustyn. We scooted into our seats just in time to see the end of warm-ups and the game begin.

Here’s where I have to tell you a slight side-story.

A few games prior to this semi-finals game, I met a guy named John. He was sarcastic and I was feisty back. But not in that flirty-cute kind of way. In the my-guard-is-up kind of way. Though I talked to him quite a bit, there just weren’t romantical feelings there. I knew the night of the semi-finals game that his intention was to ask me out on an official date. Intuition told me it would happen when everyone cleared away at halftime for bathroom breaks and snacks. (Just to make things completely clear, I should mention that John was Dustyn’s best friend. Womp womp womp.)

It turns out, his seat ended up being right behind mine. Awkward.

I hadn’t turned down many boys in my day. I was only 16 and let’s be honest, I didn’t have suitors knocking down my door left and right. I was just a normal girl who studied and played sports. My plan of attack for getting through the evening: avoidance. I spent the whole first half talking to Dustyn and Leslie. We laughed and talked so much that I missed a good part of the game. Dustyn joked that he was going to hip bump me off over the railing I sat beside. (In hindsight, this seems so silly and juvenile, especially since he was 20. However, his friends say the hip bump was his tell for when he liked a girl. Flirting at its finest, folks.)

Halftime came ’round and Leslie scampered off to talk to friends sitting in another section for a bit. She whispered, “Good luck” to me as she walked away. John did indeed try to talk to me during halftime, but I think we both knew that the spark just wasn’t there. Dustyn didn’t leave the stands so I continued my conversation with him. I was stunned when Leslie returned and halftime was over. Time had passed by so quickly. The conversation had flowed so effortlessly.

Leslie leaned over and asked, “How did it go?” I told her it didn’t and that things weren’t going to move forward with John. “But,” I said, “I think Dustyn is really interesting.”

Photo of us courtesy of Shannon Cunningham Photography

Leslie has this way of getting really excited and clapping her hands together incredibly fast. She had this mischievous look on her face, and I could tell she was anxious to talk to Dustyn to see what he thought of me. I just knew there was no way. I mean, I was 16. What would a 20 year old guy find interesting about me? Sure I was smart and had matured much more quickly than a lot (ha, not that there were a lot) of other kids in my class, but still – ME?

Unfortunately, the Buffalos lost their game that night. The refereeing was terrible and things didn’t seem fair. While I should have walked away with a broken heart, I clung onto each second I could spend with Dustyn and Leslie in those stands. I don’t remember the final score. I can’t recall the final play. I do remember getting in trouble after the game because I didn’t meet my parents where I said I would. (They had driven up separately to the game.) I was grounded for two weeks – couldn’t make any plans and had no phone privileges.

My fantasies of Dustyn calling were dashed. How in the world would I ever get in touch with him now?

This is where the best friend comes into play. She knew that every Friday night my parents went to my aunt and uncle’s house. As I got older, I opted to stay home or go out with friends. This particular Friday night turned out to be a stay-at-home night. How could they restrict me from using the phone if they weren’t home? The phone rang. I answered. It was Leslie calling to “chat” from Dustyn’s parents house. This had never happened. I should have suspected something was up, but things never clicked for me until somehow, miraculously, I was on the phone with him.


I had to have an awkward conversation with my parents after that, ya know, about the whole “he’s four years older than me” thing. I was so nervous. Again, another hurdle to cross.

Insert another side story: Months before I met Dustyn, I had talked to a guy who was 19. My parents absolutely refused to let me date him. There was no way. They didn’t trust him. Said he was way too mature for me. Thought his intentions were bad. How in the heck was I going to convince them that Dustyn — even older — was a good guy? They hadn’t met him.

I remember being in my mom’s bathroom, helping sort laundry, when I decided to approach the subject of a date with Dustyn. It went so much easier than I could have hoped. I asked. She gave her permission. (I think she was also thrilled it was a double date with Leslie and Dustyn’s brother, Derryk). Here’s the twisted part. Dustyn’s uncle introduced my parents. Despite my assumptions she wasn’t familiar with who he was, I was dead wrong. She knew the family, knew they were good people.

magan and her husband dustyn

The day of Dustyn’s undergraduate graduation from UT, two months before our wedding. Oh, how we’ve changed!

I’ll keep the rest short because I could ramble on and on about this boy and how much I adore him. Our first date included going to my favorite Mexican food place, Casa Ole, a trip to the mall where I scurried around looking for a Christmas gift to buy Dustyn because I didn’t know he bought me one, and to a showing of the first Lord of the Rings movie. To this day, we still argue about when we first held hands. I didn’t remember a single thing about the movie other than how much I liked him. (Re-watching it later felt like seeing it for the very first time.)

The day after our first date, I saw him again. He told me he loved me. You guys, I know I dislike insta-love in books, but I have to constantly remind myself that I am a living example of this. Though it took me a few months to say it back to him, I knew I had fierce feelings for him. I was Dustyn’s first for everything: first girl he held hands with, kissed, told that he loved. God willing, I’ll be the only.

Today, July 31st, we celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary. We finished our college degrees together, bought our first house, moved to California for my job, moved back to Texas where he supported me starting my own business, lived in an apartment for a couple of years, and then bought our second house. We’ve currently have two amazing dogs, Jules and Camy. This man, he’s a good one. He makes me laugh when I least expect it, he’s our diligent dishwasher when I make dinner, and can turn my most moody days into the happiest. I’m so looking forward to spending the rest of my life with him.

To celebrate our anniversary, I want to share a few books that really stand out to me — couples that made me reminisce falling in love with Dustyn, young love that if were real, I hope would last.

anna and the french kiss, love and other perishable items, catching jordan

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Here’s to insta-love, hip bumping, and believing in young love.

March 3, 2013 - 1:33 pm

Magan - April! Thanks, lady! So sorry about the tears. Haha! 🙂

March 2, 2013 - 5:33 pm

April Books & Wine - How did I not read this yet?

Anyways. I teared up. YOU ARE WELCOME.

You two are sooooo adorable. I just can’t. SO ADORABLE.

August 6, 2012 - 10:15 am

Tara - That is one of the best falling-in-love stories I have ever read! You guys are just too cute and I can’t wish you enough love and happiness for many, many more years to come 🙂

August 3, 2012 - 11:52 am

Dianne - What a beautiful, sweet story. Of course I knew it would be, knowing the two of you! So happy you shared it. And so happy your life brought you into mine!

August 2, 2012 - 2:18 pm

Sash from Sash and Em - !!! I love you (and this post).

The thing I love the most is that last year I heard Stephanie Perkins talk about her husband, Jarrod. They got married when they were 18 and she told everyone in the audience (mostly teens) to not listen to their parents when they (the parents) say that “those types” of relationships can’t be the forever kind. So, SUCH a great choice in choosing ANNA.


August 2, 2012 - 2:15 am

Jasmine Rose - You’re story is so cute :]
Reminds me a bit of my first “meeting” (if you will)with my now husband. It was after a track meet which we got home pretty late from. I was a sophomore and he was a senior. I was also friends with this other senior guy (who possibly had a crush on me, but actually had a girlfriend. But that’s another story.) Anywho.
Other Senior Guy invited me up the the town’s (only) restaurant to have a milkshake because it was his job to clean up after it was closed. I went up liked I’d done a couple other times before. No big deal.
EXCEPT. He managed to pull it out of me that I like Husband. Then he typed into his phone “Jazz likes you.” got it all ready to send and sat the phone right in front of me while he went about cleaning. He made sure it was my choice, but he kept giving me this look like he was just daring me to do it.
Mind you, I was never the outgoing type of girl who’d go up to a guy and say I liked him or ask him out. So even this little text was a HUGE thing for.
After staring at the phone for a good ten minutes I finally sent the text. Other Senior Guy took his phone back after that and texted with Husband for a few minutes before it was decided that he’d be coming up. (My town was really small and he lived about three blocks away, by the way.) Let me tell you, though, those five minutes it took him to get there were practically unbearable!
When Husband got there he sat a seat away from me and we just sat there all awkwardly until Other Senior Guy decided to lock up and leave us be.
And then we sat there awkwardly some more.
Finally we both admitted we liked one another and made some awkward attempts at conversation.
By this time, it’s about 45 minutes after curfew and my mom calls me freaking out. I told her where I was and Husband drove me (the two blocks) to my house and proceeded to go inside and explain the situation to my own.
He was scared to death, but he came in because I asked him and was rather gallant about it all ;]
In the end I got grounded and we spent the rest of the weekend texting.
Long story short, we’ve been together 3 years and got married this past December <3

(Also, terribly sorry for the super long comment!)

August 1, 2012 - 7:29 pm

Anne - This is so sweet. Sometimes you just know immediately when you’ve found a good thing! Happy (belated) anniversary to you both.

August 1, 2012 - 3:40 pm

Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books - I hope you know that reading your story, you and D, made me tear up. It’s seriously such a beautiful thing when two people meet and find that connection and end up knowing that they want to spend the rest of their lives together. As I’ve told you, I consider you and D an inspiration in terms of relationships – and I’m so happy for you both. Happy 8 Years! <3

August 1, 2012 - 11:44 am

Melissa - What a sweet story!!! Happy anniversary!!

August 1, 2012 - 12:05 am

Melissa @ Writer Grrl Reads - Wow, Magan, this is just BEAUTIFUL! Absolutely brought tears to my eyes — it’s so wonderful to see examples of love as true as yours and Dustyn’s! Wishing you many, many, many more years of happiness together!

July 31, 2012 - 5:41 pm

VeganYANerds - Magan! I am teary after reading that, thanks so much for sharing your story with us 🙂 And now I totally understand your love for Good Oil <3

Happy, happy 8th anniversary, I'm sure you two had a wonderful time away xox

July 31, 2012 - 5:35 pm

Asheley (@BookwormAsheley) - WOW, what a great story!! Congratulations!! Here’s to many more!
Also, because I’m a nerd, I love how you incorporated the books. <3

Hubs and I are celebrating ours tomorrow. Swoony time of the year, no? 🙂

July 31, 2012 - 2:34 pm

Daisy - Oh honey, that is a wonderful lovestory!! I’m so happy for you that you found an amazing guy you’re still gushing about 8 years into the marriage! Happy anniversary and may there be many more!
Love the pictures! You two look so cute together 🙂

July 31, 2012 - 2:26 pm

Sharon @ Fictionally Inclined - For the record, you should totally put a tissue warning at the top of this post for those of us who are prone to crying. SHEESH. *blinks back tears*

But really. I loved reading your story! I had no idea how you two first met or really anything other than that you got married at a young age. It was so beautiful and romantic, and even moreso that you were his first everything. And it was real.

Happy anniversary (again), and here’s to many more years of the same wonderfulness of the first 8!

July 31, 2012 - 11:18 am

Megan Swicegood - Ah! Happy Anniversary! What a fun/happy story. I love this.

July 31, 2012 - 9:04 am

Hemborgwife - Such a great story! I also am a product of insta love, moving in with my now husband after only knowing him for a month and a half and living in different countries for that time!

July 31, 2012 - 8:56 am

Ginger @ GReads! - Yup, I’m in tears. I had never heard the story on how y’all met & it’s so dang beautiful. I almost felt like I was reading a love story in a YA novel! THIS is the good stuff though. The REAL stuff. I am so honored to be your friend Magan & I look forward to watching the two of you grown old together 🙂 Happy 8 years & here’s to many, many more!!!

P.S. I think my absolute favorite is how you are his first… and just think, you’ll continue to be his first for so many more memories!

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