I got married last week!

Ashton-Sarah-24-small

I met Sarah almost five years ago on trek.[1] We stayed in touch afterwards, and look where we ended up! Below are some stories from our courtship.

First time seeing each other

It was the first day of trek. I found my family and sat down at the most extreme end of the bench. I got to know my trek brothers a little bit, but mostly kept to myself. I think I remember making eye contact with Sarah for the first time: she was sitting in the row in front of me. I introduced myself. I was actually fighting a cold—my throat was very sore and my voice was lower than usual. Beyond the pain in my throat, however, I was feeling alright.

At some point Sarah must have moved to the other side of the pew where our family was. Some lady from the stake got up to the pulpit and gave us some advice and encouragement about getting to know our families. She suggested that we stay in contact with our trek siblings after everything was done.

"You never know," she said. "Some people have even gotten married!"

"Ha," I thought. "I would be the last person that would happen to. I don't think that's even a possibility for me. Is there anyone in my family that's old enough to date?"

I looked down the row and Sarah and I made eye contact. She waved.

"She's pretty cute," I admitted. "Maybe I could ask her out on a date."

Little did I know.

Trek

I had managed to grow a wispy beard the summer between my junior and senior years. I'm not proud of it now, but I was pretty satisfied with it then. I never did anything with my hair. It was straight and long. On trek, it got greasy and looked… well… unusual after wearing a hat in the sun for several hours.

This is how I met my wife. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Having done swim team, I was the most athletic person in our entire family. Needless to say, we were lacking somewhat in physical strength. I spent most of my time at the front of the handcart pulling. The girls pushed from behind, and the other boys switched between pulling at the T-bar with me and pulling on a rope we had tied to the hand cart from the front.

One time I took a break from the front of the hand cart and moved to the back to push. Sarah was there, and we got talking. I asked her about school—I learned that she had taken AP music theory and AP calculus the previous school year, as had I. I was intrigued: I had prided myself on the fact that I studied a variety of subjects. And now here was a girl who had studied the exact same things that I did. I resolved at that point to get this girl's contact information and get to know her better after trek was through.

That was the best decision I made that trip.

First date

There is nothing like a phone call to ask someone out on a date. I had carefully planned a double date with my cousin Alex. We were going to go to the dinosaur museum at Thanksgiving Point and then JCW's for dessert afterwards. All that I had left to do was call and ask Sarah.

I looked up the Cowley's number in the stake directory. I dialed. The phone rang for what seemed like an eternity. It was probably just my nerves. Finally, Sarah answered.

I identified myself and made sure I was speaking with Sarah. I was. I wanted to ask Sarah if she had seen Despicable Me 2—there is a part where Gru wants to ask Lucy out on a date, but he's really nervous, and ends up burning the telephone with a flamethrower. I tried to tell her about this, but I slaughtered the explanation. I ended up confusing her, and I was embarrassed at the terribly bungled attempt at telling a joke.

She said yes, though! The date went super smoothly. We said we'd be home by 9pm. However, at JCW's, we got talking and asked for an hour extension… twice! We got home by 11pm. Easily my best date up until that point.

First "date" post-mission

I got home from my mission conference weekend. I enjoyed the time watching conference with my family.

Monday at 5pm I got on Facebook and sent Sarah a message. I was really eager to see her again, and I was searching desperately for a way to meet her in some way that was not an out-right date. Brooke had institute Tuesday morning, so I invited Sarah to come with me and her to that.

Tuesday morning I got out of the car, walked up the steps, and paused in front of the door. I was nervous—excited and overjoyed—but nervous to see her again after two long years. I knocked.

An agonizing two seconds later, she opened the door, and I got to see those beautiful blue eyes again. I wasn't sure how to greet her—I just kind of gestured towards the car and away we went. We didn't hug or anything, but we did sit next to each other in the back seat of the car.

The next day I asked her if she would like to meet to tell each other more about our missions. I didn't think much of it—I thought it was something like a member appointment. I picked her up from her house that evening and we went to get frozen yogurt. As it became time to pay, I realized that I had basically asked her out on a date—my first one-on-one date, at that. Having realized this, I then paid for the treat.

Conclusion

There are many more stories. I don't know if I'll get around to telling them all. I hope you enjoyed the ones I did manage to tell!


  1. Trek is a reenactment of the Mormon Pioneer handcart migration across North America. We spent three or four days pulling and pushing handcarts about 30 miles in southern Utah. We dressed like pioneers; fortunately we had much better shoes and equiptment than they did! ↩︎