As part of a week-long series alongside Valentine’s Day, we’re featuring stories about UF couples, past and present, called “Findlay Faithfuls.” Did you meet the love of your life on campus? We want to hear about it! Share your story via Facebook or Twitter using #IHeartUFindlay #FindlayFaithfuls.
When Nate ’04 and Joy (Moore) Anderson ’04 first met outside of a classroom at UF, it didn’t seem like they were a perfect match. It was 2002, and Joy was a transfer student who’d just enrolled for the spring semester. They’d gotten to their first class early, and something made Nate, who was notoriously quiet and shy, strike up a conversation with Joy as they waited in the hall. “I was very reserved and it wasn’t like me to do so,” Nate confessed. “But a cute girl was waiting by the door, so I started and kept the conversation going and picked a seat right next to her when the professor came to let us into the class.”
On that day, rather uncharacteristically, Nate carried the conversation. However, as the semester rolled along and the class continued to meet, Nate’s shyness began to present itself a bit more frequently. Joy’s personality was quite different in that she’d “talk to just about anyone and everyone,” she said. “I would constantly ask him questions and he would just give me one word answers.” Joy was persistent with Nate, refusing to let his shyness get in the way of what they both knew deep down was a connection. She got him to share that he was involved with Thursday Night Live, which, at the time, was a campus ministry organization, and, while he didn’t specifically invite her, she gave him her phone number so he could conveniently remind her.
The two began to regularly attend other extra-curricular activities in addition to TNL, and eventually, Nate asked Joy out to dinner and to go ice skating. The date went well, and they discovered that they had a lot of similar interests. Before they knew it, they were spending more and more time together and love was upon them.
Just over a year later, during their junior year, they went on a spring break trip to Florida with four other friends. Just like it started in the hall of Egner, however, it was just the two of them when Nate asked Joy to marry him on the beach at sunset. They set the wedding for shortly after they would both graduate in 2004, and when that day came, their wedding was just as perfect as they’d imagined it would be. They figured their lives would continue down that path, imagining the children they’d both wanted coming easily for them, one after the other, and life carrying on for them, blissfully in love.
It would turn out, though, as it often does, that life would take an unpredictable turn for the couple, one of trials, heartache and many prayers. “One thing we didn’t know was that we would embark on the journey of infertility,” Joy said. “We wanted so badly to have children but it wasn’t happening.” After a miscarriage and losing almost all hope, Joy began praying for a change of attitude, and they sought fertility treatment. They endured round after round of treatment, eventually ending up at a specialty clinic. After the third round of a more involved and intensive treatment, they found success, and almost three years later, the two finally became pregnant with their first son, Griffin, in 2009.
And, then came another.
When Griffin was six months old, they found out they were expecting again, and their second son, Maxwell was born in 2010.
Amazingly, when Maxwell was six months old, the couple found out yet again that they were expecting. Their third son, Nolan, was born in 2011. And after having three boys in two and a half years and experiencing three children in diapers all at once, they still weren’t done extending their now not-so-little family. Just as they thought their hearts couldn’t get any more full, they had their fourth son, Brennan, in March of 2015. “And I wouldn’t change a thing,” Nate said. “We now have four boys ages eight and under and they keep us very busy.”
So from heartache came abundance, and the two are now experiencing what Joy calls “beautiful crazy chaos.” So how do they do it? “Learn what makes your significant other feel special and then do it,” Nate suggested. “And give your best to your spouse,” Joy added. “Not what’s leftover.”
And, it should be added, be careful what you wish, hope and pray for, because you just might get it.