Lindsey Blau felt ready to get married at age 19. Her dream job was to be a wife and mom. She knows people think it’s a cultural thing because she’s Mormon, but she’s not so sure.
“Within myself, that’s always what I wanted,” she says.
As the years ticked by with no husband in sight, she grew despondent. Throughout her 20s, one friend after another got married and then started having children. Lindsey had trouble getting asked on second dates.
“I was so focused on this end goal of getting married that it would scare men away,” she says. “I looked like this desperate person.”
She was living in Utah and went to every party and singles gathering she could find, but she only came away more depressed. “Being single for such a long time was a really terrible experience for me.”
In 2011, on the eve of turning 30, she decided it was time to stop focusing so much on marriage and put her energy elsewhere. That fall, she moved to Washington to pursue a job in education policy. What she ended up finding instead was seven months of unemployment. That, at least, took her mind off her dating woes.
In 2012, she was hired as a project manager for a government contractor. Although it wasn’t in her desired field, she ended up loving the work. Fully employed, she started hoping to find love again. But her forays into online dating and singles events seemed as fruitless as ever.
When Adam Pence offered to help her clean up after a church lunch in April, she was just happy for the male company. She handed the Indiana native a broom, chatted with him about the best sushi places in town and mentally wrote him off, knowing he was what she called a “summer boy” — one of several Mormon men who came to Washington to work in door-to-door businesses before leaving in the fall.
Still, she was impressed by Adam’s sarcasm and willingness to pitch in, so she gave her number when he asked for it.
The next week, he picked her up and drove to a sushi restaurant in Vienna. They covered the normal questions about career and family, but then the conversation grew more serious. She learned that unlike most Mormons, Adam, now 29, had converted to the religion after missionaries knocked on his door at age 24.
“He just kind of blew my mind with his spirituality,” Lindsey remembers. “Then he asked me a question about my testimony of Jesus Christ and I started talking about it and started crying. We just had this amazing emotional and spiritual connection. It was very special.”
After dinner, they sat listening to music in the car, and when they shared a long hug goodbye, Lindsey silently wished he would ask her out again. He called the next day and she offered to cook dinner.
Adam was working 12-hour days selling pest control door-to-door, but the two started seeing each other as often as possible. Lindsey was out of town with her family on her birthday in mid-May, and when she returned, Adam picked her up at the airport. That night, as they cuddled on her couch, she asked him to kiss her, and he obliged.
“She’s always looking after everyone,” Adam says. His summer job turned out to be mentally and physically exhausting, but Lindsey “was always encouraging, always positive.”
After a month of dating, he asked her to be his girl. Lindsey didn’t think he was serious — he was leaving in September, after all — but said sure. When another guy asked her out, she said yes, fearing she was putting all her eggs in one faulty basket.
Lindsey told Adam about the date and was shocked by his response. “Well, you never know,” he told her. “Maybe after this summer I could stay here.”
Lindsey understood how serious he was about the relationship. They told each other they would take things slow. “And slow in ‘Mormon Standard Time’ is like, six months,” Lindsey jokes.
By July, Adam decided he would definitely remain in Washington at the end of the summer, giving up his position in a program to become a licensed plumber. And soon they were talking openly about marriage.
“He’s just completely selfless,” Lindsey says. “He finds joy in helping people, and he wants to be better all the time. I feel like we’re a powerhouse when we’re out helping people.”
When Lindsey’s father visited in August, Adam asked for his blessing to propose. And a few weeks later, he played some jazz music on the computer, pulled Lindsey up to dance and asked her to be his wife.
Even as they started planning a wedding, they were still getting to know each other and learning how to navigate being in a relationship. “I haven’t had anyone care about me that way except my parents,” Lindsey says. “And they offer a different kind of love.”
On the morning of Feb. 21, Lindsey and Adam were married in a private ceremony at the Mormon temple in Kensington. That evening, they gathered with about 120 friends and relatives for a reception and public ceremony, in which they exchanged rings and vows.
The sun set behind the atrium of Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in Vienna as the couple walked in together. “Man, I’m lucky,” Adam remarked as they made their way down the aisle.
“It wasn’t so long ago,” Lindsey told him, “that I thought this was never going to happen for me.”