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a love story

March 20, 2008

It was 1994. I was just 14 years old and a sophomore in high school. I had spent the last two years in a series of bad relationships, lasting anywhere from 3 days to 3 months (yes, I was dating when I was twelve). None of the guys involved were Christians, and to be honest, it didn’t even occur to me to make that a requirement. Even though I had known about God for as long as I could remember, and I was technically “saved” when I was eight, I never really considered that God might have an opinion about my life. But that year, I really began to feel like God was trying to steer me away from the path I was on. One tear-filled night, I prayed and told God that I was DONE with dating – that I didn’t want another relationship until I met the man that I would marry.

Two short months later, a good friend of mine invited me to a party. It was a surprise birthday party for someone I didn’t even know. Having nothing better to do on that Saturday, I said I would go. To my surprise, there was a long-haired senior sitting on the couch, wearing a shirt that read “JESUS: Eternal Combustion Protection.” I spent the rest of the night talking to him, and the rest of the school year hanging out with the seniors. About a month after that party, Eric and I started dating. I told all my friends that he was “the one.” Of course, being a 14 year old girl with 14 year old friends, nobody believed me. But I knew.

My family seemed to know, too. They were thrilled that I was finally dating a “good guy” and did everything they could to encourage our relationship. His family was a little more hesitant, and probably wisely so. We were both very immature. He had been an only child for most of his life, and I was the spoiled baby of five children, so we were both very skilled at selfishness. After the first few months, he had to go to college. We both knew there would be some significant challenges, but we were “in love” and committed to making it work.

It was only by the hand of God and some wise words from my sister that we survived those first couple of years. I was very insecure at the thought of him being away at college. After all, I had never dated anyone particularly honorable, and I just couldn’t understand how he could be faithful with all the opportunities abounding at college. He was frustrated with his childish girlfriend and probably feeling more than a little bit trapped. We fought and fought – huge 3 hour battles of screaming, slamming doors, and the silent treatment. In all that time we only broke up once, and I don’t remember if it was for a day or a week, but I just remember feeling remarkably calm. Somehow I knew it would all be okay. I knew that God had put us together and that He would work it all out. Sure enough, Eric decided to put up with my childishness and insecurity for a few more years, long enough for me to learn to trust him, and long enough for him to learn how to think for two people instead of one. Eventually I joined him at college and our relationship became less and less dramatic and more and more secure.

After that, no one ever asked “are you going to get married?” No, the question from then on was “when?” In April 1997, just before my 18th birthday, more shaky and nervous than I had ever seen him before, he proposed. Our original plan was to wait three years until I had graduated college. But it didn’t take long for us to realize the futility of that goal. I spent two months that summer visiting my sister in Utah and the time apart was dreadful. When they say absence makes the heart grow fonder – it is absolutely the truth. That summer we decided to cut the time in half.

On March 20, 1999, nine years ago today, we solidified our commitment to each other in a tiny church in Louisiana. Over the course of several years, God took two very selfish, very immature people, and transformed them into perfect partners for life. We are so much more “right” for each other now than we were the day we met – it is hard to believe we are the same two people.

march1999.jpg

This is only the beginning of our love story. “A family story” is coming soon…

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 20, 2008 9:28 am

    That’s a lovely story. Not quite the conventional path but I’ve yet to meet a happily married couple who went the conventional route 🙂

  2. heiditheophilus permalink
    March 25, 2008 6:04 am

    That is the cutest pic 🙂 So sweet!

  3. March 26, 2008 9:25 am

    This story sounds somewhat familiar : ) I too started dating Mark only a couple weeks away from my 15 birthday. He had just graduated high school. I remember being 16 and telling my parents I knew he was “the one”. They thought I was crazy: ) We too “cut our plans” for engagement and got married when I was a junior in college. : )
    It is crazy how for some people God just brings “the one” into your life early. For me, I know I needed him! God drew me closer to Him through our young journey!
    Happy Anniversary!

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