They say fairy tales don’t happen in real life. I say they’re lying…
And yet, I always have to be careful when I say that, because everyone thinks their love story will be a fairy tale, and that’s just not true. Ours hasn’t always been a fairy tale. And while it may have started out as one, and seems to be ending as one, the middle wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies.
I was 18 years old when I decided to take control of my life. Most kids are. We think that when we turn 18, life is ours. We know it all. We can do it all. We’re in control of everything.
Enter left stage, disaster…heartache…betrayal…insecurity…I could keep going.
I was young and naive. I fell for fella’s, and thought they fell for me. Thankfully, only a few. But my life was, well, nothing short of a disaster from June 2005 to October 2005. I was spiraling out of control. But wait, wasn’t I supposed to be in control of my life?
I made bad decisions…
I was taken advantage of more times than I could count…
Clearly, men weren’t the creatures I thought they were…they weren’t knights in shining armor at all.
It took a very bitter ending, to a very bad situation, to make me realize that I wasn’t in control of my life at all. And that I needed to get back to the one who was in control….Jesus.
And so, I swore off men. I prayed my heart out and told God that if His will was for me to never be with another man again, I would be happy with that. Of course, I knew I wouldn’t be, but at the time that prayer seemed like the only way to get me through. There’s more to that story, but I’ll spare the details for now.
And so, one month later, in October 2005, God decided to laugh at my prayer, and instead sent me exactly what I needed…my future husband.
Most people know our story of how we met. We like to tease that we met “online”, but in reality, I “met” him just a few months before (almost exactly a year before we got married) at school. I had just graduated high school in June, and he had already graduated a few years before me. He came back to visit, and my heart saw him and said, “my goodness, he’s adorable”. As my best friend elbowed me and said, “shut up, heart”.
We reconnected online. Back then the only way to chat with someone in a non-face-to-face way was to instant message them. Oh yes, the good old days of AIM and chat rooms. We thought we were Kings and Queens of the internet back then.
So we reconnected, and a week later we met in the parking lot of a church where I lead the youth group worship band each Thursday night.
He was there. He walked up to me and smiled. And my heart sang a different tune this time…
My child….you’re going to marry that boy…
And his heart said something like the same.
|Christmas party, December 2005|
And so, we began our dating journey. Two weeks into it he said to me, “I know this sounds crazy, but I think I’m going to marry you.”
It didn’t sound crazy at all. God had brought me a true gentleman, and while everything inside of me said “no way, this could end bad”, I couldn’t help but fall more and more in love with this man.
So we officially began dating that October, and by January we were engaged, and on March 3, 2006….I said “I do”, for the rest of my life, to the man I call my husband.
He has seen me at my very worst, and he held me.
He has seen me at my very best, and he rejoiced with me.
He helped me for 9 months while I carried our child in my womb. And he was there when I went into pre-term labor (which was stopped), and again when I went into labor a week late. And he held my hand through it all.
He helped birth our child, standing by my side, cheering me on.
He has worked relentlessly to provide for our family, sometimes bare to the bone finger tips.
He has never left us…
He has never forsaken us…
He has been Christ to us, even when he doesn’t think he has been.
He has lived gospel to me.
And that, to me, is more special than any gift or materialistic item in this entire world.
|weekend honeymoon March 2006|
My grandfather always said, the first 7 years are the hardest. And he is right. The first 7 years of our marriage was the hardest. But the past 3 years? They’ve been the best years of my life.
We have grown together. We have failed together. We have succeeded together. We have fought together. We have loved together.
And we have lasted, and gotten to this point, simply because on the day we said “I do”, we agreed to something most couples never do…
Divorce will never be an option for us.
And so we went through the motions. We went through the happy times, we went through the sad times. And every single time, we came back together, because we didn’t have a choice. We signed on that dotted line, divorce will never be an option for us.
We became best friends.
We became our most favorite of lovers. Our one and only lover.
And when all the dust settled, and the pathway became straight and smooth, we were still there.
We dusted ourselves off, our hearts looked at each other and smiled, and said, you’ve always been the one….and you’ll always be the one…until death do us part. We grabbed each other’s hands, determined to start working together, and made our own “happily ever after”.
We are stronger because of our trials. We are kinder because we have see the bitterness.
And we are more loving because, honestly, we have seen just how unloving we can be.
We are here. Today, we celebrate 10 years of marriage.
Not because we have to…
But because we get to….we want to…we chose to….
All because, 10 years ago, we promised each other that come hell or high water, this thing was going to work.
I could not ask for a better life now.
I could not ask for a better marriage.
All because two people fell in love, and chose to love, every single day of their lives….
This is our “happily ever after”. It started as a fairy tale, and it’s ending as one…and we wouldn’t be here, if it weren’t for all of the unhappy endings in between.