"What was the exact moment you knew you were in love with your husband, enough to spend the rest of your life with him?"
That is an excellent question, which I do not have a satisfactory answer to. I don't really do sudden state changes as a rule, so there wasn't any kind of blinding flash of insight. I do know that the first time he brought up the m-word, which was some time in the summer of 2000, I wound up huddled in the corner crying, because wow was I not ready for that kind of commitment.
By about Christmas 2001, long-termness had pretty much been established, and we sort of took it slowly from there.
So I can give you a period of about a year and a half, with high probability of being centered a month or two before he headed off to CMU (so, June-July 2001), because that's when we were talking about it the most.
We got officially engaged on August 9 (for me; August 8 for Andres), 2002, and eventually got around to getting legally married on August 23, 2004, followed by the wedding on September 5. (We don't have an anniversary, we have a whole holiday season!) But that was all well after it was clear that we were going to be hanging around each other for a good long time.
***Special Bonus Wedding Vows***
This is what we said at the wedding, more or less. The vows are exact (except for the part where I completely forgot what I was saying and had to go back and stick a line in the wrong spot), the introductory bits were ad-libbed a bit.
Andres: It was in the fall of 1999 that the Dean's Scholars were taking their annual field trip out to Port Aransas. Being the punctual sort, I was on the bus fairly early and secured a nice aisle seat, suitable for talking to others around me. Late in the boarding process there wandered on this girl whom I had passed a few times between classes in Welch Hall, and she asked if the seat next to me was available, which it was. (We followed this same seating pattern on our flight over here.) A while into the trip, after conversation had died down, she started whining about how much her back hurt and how only a backrub could save her from prolonged agony. Being obliging, I provided one, and we hit it off well, hanging out over the course of the weekend, making sandcastles, and staying up way too late for no good reason.
On the way back, she got off at the first stop the bus made, which I had not expected, depriving me of the chance to obtain her contact info. Fortunately, UT has an online directory, and I was able to track her down and call her; since she sounded happy, I assume I wasn't stalking her. She went off to her grandparents' for Thanksgiving, and when she returned we went on a date. As luck would have it, that morning the radiator on the van failed, leaving it incapable of driving more than a block without the temperature gauge swinging dangerously into the red zone. I was able to borrow the Blazer, which has poor traction, which became an issue due to the torrential rains that were coming down that evening, but we managed to survive without incident, enjoying both our viewing of Toy Story 2 and our cups of tasty Amy's Ice Cream.
Theresa: In the summer of 2002, I was in Massachusetts herding small children around a hilltop, and Andres was in California herding somewhat larger children around robots. Being separated by the entire length of the United States, we naturally spent a lot of time on the phone. One night, we got to talking, and as the hours slipped over from August 8th to August 9th, we once again brought up the idea of becoming engaged. "What, right now?" said Andres. "Sure," I said. And so we were engaged.
A mere 745 days later (746 for Andres), on Monday the 23rd of August, we stood before a magistrate in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and were wed. Now we would like to share that moment with you.
Andres, I love you and I want you to be my husband. I will care for you when you are sick, comfort you when you are sad, and forgive you when you are stupid.
Andres: Theresa, I love you and I want you to be my wife. I will lift you up when you are down, hold you when you feel alone, and warm you when you are cold.
Theresa: I will laugh when you laugh, rejoice when you succeed, and take pride in your accomplishments. I will love you and honor you throughout our lives.
Andres: I will smile when you smile, encourage your dreams, and applaud your achievements. I will love you and honor you throughout our lives.
Theresa: Will you accept this ring as a symbol of my devotion to you?
Andres: Yes. Will you accept this ring as a symbol of my devotion to you?
(This of course was followed by smooching.)