- Met: November 2002
- Engaged: March 8, 2004
- Wedding: January 1, 2005
"When I met Josh, I was thinking about becoming a nun,” Katie Kovacs says on an August after- noon. Sitting in a park alongside Palomar Airport Road, Miss Kovacs, 22, reflects on her lost vocation. “I was discerning whether or not to pursue the religious life. I wasn’t really interested in meeting anyone. But my roommate Erica had a big crush on Josh’s brother Matt. Erica thought it would be great if the four of us could double-date.”
“I remember our first interaction,” Josh Englefield adds. “We were in the library.” Both Miss Kovacs and Mr. Englefield, 24, attended Francis- can University in Steubenville, Ohio.
“I wasn’t that impressed,” Miss Kovacs confesses. “Matt and Josh were sitting together. Josh was carrying on and showing me pictures of some kids he used to work with. I thought he was pretty superficial.”
“I wasn’t that interested in meeting anyone either,” Mr. Englefield agrees. “I was trying to figure out my relationship with God.”
Three months later, in February 2003, Miss Kovacs and Mr. Englefield met again. Miss Kovacs was attending a religious retreat. Mr. Englefield was working at the retreat as a cook. “One morning, I came into the dining room first thing looking for coffee,” Miss Kovacs remembers with a smile. “I need my coffee in the morning. I saw Josh. I asked, ‘Where’s the coffee?’ He looked at me for a long time without saying anything. I mean, really looked at me.”
“When I saw her, I was blown away,” Mr. Englefield says.
“He finally walked me over to where the coffee was and poured me a cup.”
After that, the couple began seeing each other everywhere on campus. “We ran into each other at the library once and talked for over two hours,” Miss Kovacs says. “And I had so much work to do. I didn’t have two hours to spare.”
“We talked about everything,” Mr. Englefield recalls. “What we were studying and the state of the world and what we wanted to do with our lives.”
“I had dated other guys,” Miss Kovacs says. “I always had the sense that they wanted me for a trophy. Josh was different. It was as though he looked into me. He asked me questions and really listened to the answers. My feelings for him grew pretty quickly within a month’s time.”
On March 13, the couple met up at a bar. “We were both there because some friends were doing an experiment for a psychology class — observing the drinking habits of college students,” Mr. Englefield says.
“I saw Josh across the room. He smiled and walked over to me. I just knew at that moment that he was the one.”
“We knew it would take time to figure things out,” Mr. Englefield says. That spring, Miss Kovacs was set to graduate from college. Mr. Englefield still had another year and a half to go.
“I went to Rhode Island for the summer where my parents were,” Mr. Englefield explains. “Katie graduated and came back to California. We talked and e- mailed. I came out to California in August before I went back to school. I knew I had to be out here with her.”
Mr. Englefield returned to Steubenville for three days. He dropped his classes, signed up for distance education classes, and hopped on a plane to San Diego. “I had three bags with me.”
“My parents let him stay at their house for five days,” Miss Kovacs says. “That was the time limit.”
“I found a room to rent in Escondido,” Mr. Englefield continues. “I got a job as a youth minister at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Lakeside.”
“I was working in Youth Ministry at St. Michael’s in Poway,” Miss Kovacs says.
March of 2004 found the couple struggling with their jobs and trying to sort out their life together. “We went to the beach at Del Mar,” Miss Kovacs remembers. “We knew we wanted to get married. We just didn’t know when. And Josh didn’t have any money for a ring. I prayed and prayed and finally gave it to God. We were walking along the beach, and I said, ‘Josh, I love you. I just want to marry you. I don’t even care if I have a ring.’ That was a lot for me to say. Every girl wants a ring. Then Josh got this crazy look in his eyes.”
“What Katie had just said really defined what our relationship was about. It wasn’t about the money and the ring. I got down on my knee. I took the promise ring I’d given her off her right hand and put it on her left. I told her, ‘This will have to do for now.’”
A few months later, Mr. Englefield bought a real ring — a brilliant white solitaire. “We decided to go with smaller but higher quality,” Mr. Englefield explains.
The couple will be married January 1, 2005, at St. Michael’s in Poway before 150 family and friends. “And Erica and Matt ended up getting together after we did,” Miss Kovacs concludes. “They’re getting married this December 18. We’ll be their best man and maid of honor.