My wife didn’t want to marry a lawyer. Before we met, Nicole thought lawyers were, in general, egotistical, smug, and not the best people. She only agreed to go out with me because we were set up on a blind date by mutual friends. From her end, Nicole had decided our first date would be the last. I owe a huge thank-you to her sister for changing her mind. In a true stroke of luck, Nicole’s sister and I happened to attend law school together. We were in the same class and everything! She vouched for me and convinced Nicole I was a good guy. When I asked her out again, Nicole agreed to a second date. We’ve been inseparable ever since. In the past, I’ve talked about how being with Nicole has improved my life. She really is the straw that stirs the drink, and I realized pretty early on I would marry her. We were both in our 30s, we knew what we wanted out of life, and we were ready to start a family. Less than a year after our first date, I asked her parents for their blessing. Nicole and I planned a weekend getaway, and while on the trip, we went to the same restaurant where we’d eaten during our first getaway as a couple. It was a cheesy Mexican restaurant, nothing fancy, but I was happy to get down on one knee. Nicole said yes, and this time, her sister didn’t even have to talk her into it! I’m blessed to have found such a loving, incredible person who I know has my back. We’ve been supporting each other since day one. When Nicole left teaching to get her graduate degree in interior design and start a design firm, I was cheering for her. And when I started my own firm, Nicole had faith in me even when not a lot of other people did. That’s what is so cool about our relationship. We know where we have been, and wherever else we go, we’ll get there together. No matter how dark it seems or howmassive the challenge, Nicole always has full faith in me and in our plans. She’s the most tenacious person I have ever met. Nicole always has a plan, and she knows how to execute it —whether it’s a plan for the firm or a plan for our family. When it comes to our family, there is no one more protective of what we have than Nicole. Her love for us and our HOW LUCKY AM I? A CHANGE OF HEART
Costa Rica, 2010
kids is inspiring. She’ll do anything for our family, and that makes me love her all the more.
I want to wish a happy Valentine’s Day to the woman who has made my life so much better and inspires me to be a better man. We have been through a lot, and it’s impossible to predict what will come next. But as long as I have you, I’m excited to face the future together. –Case Barnett
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