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My Love Story: 20 Years Of Dating


My husband and I have been married for 17 years and together for 20. 

Sometimes, I still can't believe it has been that long. We met when I was 17 and my husband had recently turned 18. We were both nearing the end of our senior year of different high schools. My family had recently left the church I grew up in and began attending a different church in our town. My husband had also recently started attending that very same church and had become actively involved in the youth group and other various ministries. He was a fairly new Christian and was on fire for the Lord, ready to serve and minister in every way he could.

One of the ways he got involved was to join the visitation team. This team of church members would visit those people who filled out new membership cards in the church. They would actually visit them at their homes and welcome them to our church. It's probably a forgotten ministry in 2021, but it was something special our church would do back in the year 2001. 

My parents had already become members, but I held off and waited until I felt it was the right time to make that decision for myself. I wasn't sure if I wanted to become a member and I needed to seek the Lord's will for that in my life. I remember the day I filled out the membership card and placed it in the offering plate. I had not yet met the love of my life, but God was moving our lives toward one another through every moment that passed and every decision made. 

A couple of nights passed and I was working at Babies R Us as a registry consultant; a job that I loved! When I came home from work, my mom informed that a few individuals from our church had stopped by to welcome me to church. She said there was one young man (albeit quite tall) who said he recognized me from the family photos and had seen me in church. She said he seemed very excited to discover that I was 17. I remember thinking that was kind of odd and I wanted to know more. Who was this guy?!

The next Sunday in church, as I sat in the pew after the service collecting my things, I saw my mom off to the side chatting with a friend. She pointed to a very tall teenage boy walking toward me with a giant smile on his face. She mouthed, "that's him". He no sooner walked up to me, held out his hand and said, "Hi. I'm Chris. I came to your house the other day. Are you staying for Sunday School?" I said, "I'm not sure. I wasn't really planning on it. I don't really know anyone. Why?" He said, "Yes, you are. You know me now. Come on!" Just like that, my hand was grabbed and I was being walked to the gymnasium where the rest of the teenagers would gather. I turned back to look at my mom, as a 6'5" incredibly handsome guy was pulling me away and her eyes were as wide as her smile. 

This is probably the point in the story where I would say, "and the rest is history" because from that morning on, we developed the most beautiful friendship and deep, connected love. I could share all about how my heart had been broken badly one year before I met Chris and I was on a journey to finding out who I was, what God wanted for my life, where I would go to college and if I was even ready to fall in love. I could share how I doubted this new love and this new guy because he was the kindest, most generous and sincere person I had ever known. I doubted this type of connection existed for people my age and not only that, but that it existed for me. Above all, I would simply share that slowly and patiently, Chris showed me his heart and allowed me to show him mine in the time I needed to do so. 

We had the BEST time dating. We both lived at home with our families and lived out an old fashioned dating relationship in many regards. He would pick me up in his red pickup truck and we would go out to dinner, parks, bike rides, movies, coffee shops, the mall, concerts and the list goes on and on. We absolutely loved spending time together and often times we would find ourselves back at one of our homes, playing a card game or watching a movie with the family. 

Over 20 beautiful years have passed since those first few months of love. After all this time, our relationship feels like a knitted tapestry. Every day is a strand, woven together to form a large, tight and strong image of what God has done. For many years, I felt that our love was too good to be true. It almost didn't feel real that I had found a person that completed me, complimented me and understood me in such a deep way. I realized pretty early on that God's plan for my life is more amazing than anything I could have imagined. That doesn't mean there haven't been intense hardships. Knowing that life is beautiful doesn't mean there isn't beauty in pain. Beauty is not synonymous with perfection. 
A beautiful life encompasses every smile and every tear. For us, a beautiful marriage is the result of a few key factors:

Love God.
Love one another sacrificially. 
Forgive easily.
Never harbor ill will.
Talk.
Surprises.
Date.




That last one isn't less important than the others! Take your spouse out on a date or decide together what you want to do. I know we are ALL tired, but it's so very important. I read once that a new experience creates a memory and a memory creates a bond which then leads to deeper intimacy
When you think about it, having a shared experience with someone truly does bring you closer and that's what dating can provide. If you're experiencing a marital slump or the very thought of having a one-on-one date with your spouse does not sound appealing in the least, I would just encourage you to give it a try. You can do hard things and you never know how beautiful something can be if you never try. Sending you so much love and hoping you have a fun date night in the very near future!

Blessings,






 

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