An HSU Love Story
(ABILENE, Texas) Gretchen Cobble and Jonathan Lumpkin, current sophomores at Hardin-Simmons, recently got engaged on campus in the January snow. Gretchen is a psychology major from Aledo, Texas, and Jonathan is a Computer Science major from Richardson, Texas. They met at Hardin-Simmons and began dating in January of 2020, and one year later they are engaged! The couple is an encouragement to many people at HSU and plans to marry later this year.
In the spirit of the month of love, an HSU couple shares their unique story.
Q: When and how did you first meet?
Gretchen: “Jonathan and I met during the first semester of our freshman year and began dating during the second semester. We started as friends when our FYSMs began to collide to create one giant friend group. My best friend and roommate, Sydney Graff, was in Honors with Jonathan, so she had a good friendship with both of us. She spotted a special connection between Johnathan and me early on and encouraged us, along with the rest of our friends, that we would make an amazing, healthy couple.”
Jonathan: “We have Sydney Graff to thank for our connection in a way, but God to thank for the connection working and being fruitful, and for allowing us to get married in November.”
Q: How did your relationship begin?
Jonathan: “Our relationship started on January 26, 2020, right before the COVID-19 shutdown, which we were very worried about. We weren’t worried that we would break up or grow apart, but only that we had to go from seeing each other every day for at least two hours at a time to seeing each other once every week if we were lucky. We missed each other a lot during the COVID break but were more than excited to return to school in the fall.”
Gretchen: “To this day, Jonathan and I agree that we would not have worked out in the first semester. Both of our hearts were in very different places and still sort of stuck in some old, unhealthy high school habits. However, over the span of a few months and some growing pains due to the Lord working extra hard on both of our hearts, the second semester began, and Jonathan asked me on a date to coffee. We both knew we liked each other a lot, so we openly communicated and told each other we wanted to pursue a relationship with each other on our first date. It was unlike any first date I’d ever been on. It felt so comfortable, so right, and I had so much peace from the Lord. I knew Jonathan was different early on, as cliche as that may be to say. He wasn’t following the ways of this world; he had his head and heart fixed on something greater.”
Q: What led to you getting engaged this year?
Gretchen: “We both knew we were intentionally dating to marry and were only going to date with Christ as our firm foundation. After only a few months into the relationship, we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Not only that, but we realized our relationship was looking to be quite different than societal norms. The decision to get married during college was discussed frequently, and Romans 12:2 lessened my fear and gave me peace about that. The support from our families and community was incredible and affirming, too. Again, it was all comfortable, right, healthy, and God-honoring.
Jonathan got down on one knee a few weeks ago on a snow day after our premarital class. Surrounded by candles, Abilene snow, and the gazebo lights, he asked me to marry him. After I said yes, the overwhelming love and cheering from our friends patiently waiting for us in Behrens lobby was so cool. They went all out for that little engagement party with only a few hours to prep! We are so grateful for them. Again, the community here is unreal, and God is working on this campus.”
Jonathan: “I asked Gretchen to marry me on January 10 of this year. I took full advantage of the snow day even though I was not planning on proposing that day. At about 3 p.m., I texted my friend Karson saying, ‘Yo, I think I wanna do it today.’ I think he was a bit annoyed, but he and the rest of my friends pulled it off better than I could have ever asked for. It was truly amazing. I proposed at the candlelit, rose-laden gazebo next to the pond, and then we went to Behren’s lobby to celebrate with our friends. It amazed me that they could get Behren’s lobby to look as good as it did. Right now, we are wedding planning, and it could not be more fun. Frankly, I don’t do much of the wedding planning, but I help out when I am asked.”
Q: What have been some of the biggest lessons you have learned from each other and from being in a relationship?
Jonathan: “Our relationship has been so fruitful and life-giving because Christ has always been at the center of it. Don’t get me wrong, there has been conflict, but there hasn’t been unhealthy conflict. Even among two followers of Christ, it is still hard to love another sinner every second of every day in the way that we’re called to do so. If Christ were not at the center of our relationship, it wouldn’t be healthy. Even if we got along well and could sacrifice, we would be missing out on the most life-giving part of the relationship.”
Gretchen and I believe that God created marriage to be a reflection of Christ and the Church. Going back to its creation, we believe that the goal of marriage is to glorify God, so our pre-marital relationship should do the same. I encourage anyone who reads our story to love Christ before and more than you do your significant other and future spouse.
Gretchen: “Jonathan has made me a much better person and an active follower of Christ, and I hope I have been able to do the same for him. I do not doubt that Christ is what has made this relationship so beautiful and authentic, and here we are now engaged a year later! It’s scary, it’s challenging, and we’ve gotten some head turns, but God’s got it, and we trust Him. The amount that our HSU community, faculty and students, have poured into our lives and our engagement has been so special. We look up to so many relationships, dating and married, here at HSU.
David McQueen, head pastor of Beltway Park, said this a few Sundays ago, and it has stuck with me ever since: ‘Can you trust that maybe God’s plan for the way you do relationships is going to be good even if it’s different from the norm?’ I am so excited to be Jonathan’s wife. I pray that we continue to glorify God in all of our thoughts, words, and actions, and that we can use our current relationship and future marriage to fulfill His mission and further the Kingdom.”