Why do some things sound really good but when having to apply them or go through them its a whole different story?? That’s some of marriage for me. Forgiveness. Turn the other cheek. Quick to listen. Slow to anger. Preparing for marriage I read books, I saw counselors, it was one thing I just wanted to get right. I was so scared of choosing the wrong person and having to live with them the rest of my life or the other case, divorce.
What happened first?
(pardon the picture.. this was one of our first dates, but obv not the first!)
When I met my now husband, I was in a dating relationship at the time and my husband was new to my office. I really never thought of having a romantic relationship with him. My heart just wasn’t open to it. We often times talk about the first time he came in to the office and he came by my desk, as all new hires do. I vaguely remember meeting him at the time. I was super busy and really just not thinking about that, at the time.
However, when my previous boyfriend (fiancé) and I broke up after being engaged for a short few months, my (now) husband quickly found out and asked me to join him for a work function after work that day.
I really was not in to the bar scene. And I really was not in to the dating scene at the time . But I reluctantly went. There were so many of our co workers who were really fun, great people and socializing with them was always a blast. One by one people ended up leaving until it was about 1AM and it was just Luis and I. Talking. Laughing. Getting to know one other. When I realized the time I told him I really needed to get going. He asked me to dinner the next night. I told him I had church and invited him. He said Yes, he would love to go. So we went to to church and inner (perfect night!) and, really, from there, the rest is history.
Some things I value most in my husband and see as super important to the marriage relationship is the ability to bounce back. The longest we’ve had a fight is a three days. We really try not to let things linger and hold grudges.
I also value his work ethic and how he desires to provide and lead the household.
I admire his loyalty. He fights for what is right.
His LOVE for Larry. He is firm in his manner of discipline. When he met me he immediately stepped in to this “father type” role and I just KNEW he would make a great Dad one day.
I love talking with him. We are truly best friends. We talk about everything. And I mean everything. We can spend hours, days talking. When we were dating we would literally sleep on the phone and wake up the next morning on the phone together and then see each other at work.
He makes me laugh and helps lighten my serious, super focused attitude.
Things I noticed prior to marriage that would help me realize he would be a good candidate as a husband:
His father. My husbands dad is an amazing man who provides and loves his family.
His ability to fight for me. We experienced a really difficult time during our dating relationship in relation to the church and looking back this time was one extremely challenging circumstance that really built a strong foundation for us. Love is built in the trenches. It’s made in the hard times. And celebrated in the good.
He is an honest man. I could see this in his business relationships. While some people would FLAT OUT wrong HIM, he took the high road and still fought for what was right.
He challenges me, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. And has helped me become a better woman.
What happened next?
So, after church and dinner, we dated for two years, living in our own houses, both did our own 12 step, went to marriage counseling, travelled the world, did mission trips, went to concerts, ate out a ton, and also did some own individual counseling. We were engaged in Feb 2017 and married in May of the same year. Did you see the engagement post? Here is the announcement Along with some marriage workbooks we love.
Some resources that we used are linked here. The meaning of marriage book is an amazinggggg read. Love and Respect is also a super easy and very helpful read. The workbooks I linked are also very good and super fun to do together! If you’re married Marriage on the Rock is phenomenal. If you’re not married yet, Getting Ready for Marriage is so good. I promise, you will find yourself SO happy and SO connected with your partner going through these. Also the five love languages is a great read and helpful for the marriage relationship and relationship outside of the marriage, too.
We had a small ceremony in the church I was raised in, baptized in when I was 7 years old, and also where my parents were married in the early 1980s. It was a dream come true for me. It’s a tiny little southern baptist church in the heart of Jacksonville. We had about ten of our closest friends and family
Then we had a reception and a beautiful weekend with family and one of our mentor couples in Nicaragua the next weekend.
I did not want to do anything elaborate or big. It just wasn’t in my heart at the time.
My ceremony dress was actually a dress from Bebe that I found last minute because my wedding dress that I ordered never arrived. But my dress ended up being gorgeous with the wedding belt. My reception dress was designed by me after being purchased from a small boutique.
Some of my best wedding purchases were off Etsy.
My niece’s tutu, my bridal belt (which was amazing and an unreal price!!) and my garter, which was especially important in my high low destination dress. Etsy has the best price and the cutest things, especially for brides and weddings.
Below is the note I wrote to my husband during a very trying time in our dating period. We still pass it around to this day.
My best advice for my single ladies
DO NOT judge a book by its cover. Don’t allow the vision of your perfect man to blind you from the imperfectly perfect man in front of you. Give people a chance. Don’t hold their mistakes against them. Matter of fact, let them make mistakes. See how they respond. People are not perfect. And if you cut them off right at their first mistake you’re falling in to this culture of cancellation. We just throw things out, and that’s just not how the marriage relationship can be successful. If you’re feeling anxious about getting hurt, betrayed, ask God to help you release that spirit of control. He will help you. Let the hard times mold you. And instead of pointing the finger at how HE can change. Ask yourself “God what are you trying to teach me through this?”
My biggest piece of advice. DO NOT SLEEP WITH HIM BEFORE THE WEDDING NIGHT. I know, crazy. Just don’t do it. Trust me on this one. Of course it’s hard, I know. But keep that to you. It’s so much more than having a wild crazy wedding night. It’s the purity position you maintain and keep for life. Make him work for it. You’ll gain so much respect for you, and SO WILL HE. AND. just as important… besides from protecting yourself from tons of unnecessary risks, if something doesn’t work out, you haven’t given literally a piece of yourself to someone.
Things to look for in a potential life partner
Does he have a teachable spirit? Is he quick to learn? Does he apologize? Does he own his wrongs and admit his faults? Is he open to make changes? Or does he keep doing the same thing over and over that he has apologized for?What are his top five values? Does he make sacrifices for you? Are there any habits that need to be addressed (drinking, anger, not telling the truth, drugs, unforgiveness)? What’s his work ethic like? What’s his financial position look like? Does he spend everything he makes or does he know how to save? Does he forgive? Is he quick to forgive? Does he turn his eyes away from other beautiful women or does he look them from head to toe? Does he know what love is? Can he do hard things or does he just throw in the towel?
I hope and pray to see marriages restored and continue to be fought for in my lifetime. Hearing the statistics now a days can be completely paralyzing, especially for perfectionists. In my experience, marriage is hard. It’s hard as hell at times. And I know every situation is so unique. So this is not to condemn or judge any divorces, I come from parents who loved each other so unbelievably much, but divorced. But I do find as I press in to those hard times, it sharpens me, it gives me a new found grace and teaches me how to live and offer love. With God at the center, marriage is truly the best thing in the world, and I say that with sincere intention. It is the best. And I truly that God for such a gift. He is so faithful.