Every day I am reminded how blessed I am. I really don’t know how it happened… I see so many other couples struggle to stay together. Others that maybe don’t struggle to stay together but are struggling to see eye to eye… I look back at how we got together and I always stand in awe… We are so different… How on Earth did we make this work so well?
First let me start by saying I DO NOT believe in soul mates. I think it is silly, unbiblical, and well… just stupid. I believe that I COULD have a successful marriage with anyone I would have ended up married to… marriage is something you work at… not something you fit into and coast along in. It takes two committed people… not two perfect people. It’s not about finding the “right one” it’s about finding the one you think is worth the effort it takes. My opinion… take it or leave it.
Anyway… I have never been a “lets date around” type of girl. From my first real boyfriend I was always a commitment girl. Even at 16, I wanted one man- for the rest of my life. Guess that’s why I only really had 3 real boyfriends. All of which were long term… and all of which I really thought I would marry. (And yes, I am thankful none of those panned out). My relationships went something like the tale of the 3 bears… The first one was too clingy… the second one was not clingy enough… but the third one… the third one was just right.
I met Jimmy my sophomore year in high school. He had a tongue ring… and oh was I intrigued by that. I wouldn’t say I had a crush on Jimmy at that time- but you have to know what kind of teenager I was. I think God gave me about 3 or 4 extra doses of hormones as a kid… I carried the nickname “gutter” through the end of high school and into college. I’ve gotten better- I promise! So yes… that tongue ring was… umm… interesting to me. I was single when I first met Jimmy- but he wasn’t. He was a friend of a friend and SO not my type (but I still liked that tongue ring). Jimmy was the life of the party… the BIGGEST flirt I had ever met in my entire life… and more fun than you could possibly imagine. He sincerely cared NOTHING about what ANYONE thought of him. He drew people into him… it was almost mystical. I’ve never met anyone who knew Jimmy but didn’t like him. I guess you could say he was “charming”. He had me under his spell too. He was a very “physical” friend. Always putting his hand on your arm when he spoke to you, always greeting you with a big bear hug, putting his arm around you when you stood side by side… and yes, he did this with EVERYONE… I, myself had a strong personality, so I was more drawn to the quieter type… but there was something about Jimmy.
My junior year prom time arrived. For the first time in my life I had found myself between 2 boys. I wasn’t really the “catch” in high school. I was actually quite intimidating. But a boy who I knew had a crush on me was thinking about taking me to prom, and I had almost convinced Jimmy (through a friend of course) that he should ask me to prom. Luckily the boy with the crush ended up having to work the night of prom so- Jimmy it was.
Funny story: My best friend would IM (remember Instant messenger) Jimmy and tell him he should take me to prom… that I wanted to go with him… and tell him all sorts of other things to get him to ask me out. He told my friend via IM that he was going to. Well of course I was sitting right there while she was on the computer so planning for prom already began. I told my parents and began shopping for a dress. My dad knew Jimmy (he had been to my house a few times) and knew that Jimmy was just a broke college student with no money to take a girl to prom. So my dad, being the good controlling dad that he is, decides that he will buy both of our tickets to prom, buy my boutonniere and give it to Jimmy (without my knowledge) and give Jimmy the money buy our dinner on prom night. However, he did all of this before Jimmy actually asked me to prom. So it was a bit awkward.
Prom was great. We had a blast! We danced ALL night long, stayed the night at my friend’s house (supervised of course) and just had an all-around great weekend.
And, well me being me, I wanted more. You remember I said I was Miss Commitment… Well Jimmy was not! He was in college and just having a good time (the boy went to 5 girl’s proms… seriously). And there was that other boy who had to work prom night. I remember riding in the car with my mom discussing these two possible suitors and out of my mouth…. “Jimmy is the type of guy I would date but the other boy is the kind of guy I would marry.” So, I abandoned the idea of Jimmy and pursued the other guy.
The other guy and I dated for over a year… He was a nice guy, was very respectful, but I had it so backwards. He gave me a promise ring and then dumped me without explanation. WTH- Yeah, try carrying that around for years. It was painful, difficult and all around sucky- but life got better… very quickly!
Of course- what do you do when you’re hurting… you find that familiar place that wasn’t painful… for me that was an ex-boyfriend. Yes, I know, big mistake. It really wasn’t as bad as it could have been. When I realized that wasn’t a good idea I remembered… Hey- remember that Jimmy guy that I liked in high school… He’s still around and SINGLE… (Remember all those extra doses of hormones I told you about… yeah- I couldn’t stay single long… I mean- come on-I was 18). So I started using my manipulative powers which I acquired being an only child to bring Jimmy back into my life… and bring him closer and closer… and oh goodness- you mean everyone has to go but us… yeah- I did that. So yes, we were spending time together just the two of us as “friends”. We obviously had a thing for each other- but in Jimmy’s words “I don’t want a girlfriend. I want to finish college first”. I read that as CHALLENG ME! And I did. I orchestrated MORE opportunities for us to spend time alone together. More reasons to call him on the phone… and more things I “needed” to chat with him about until 5am in the morning.
I really wish I could sit here and write about all the funny stories surrounding us actually finally hooking up as girlfriend and boyfriend… but there seriously would be a book. Some of it is actually caught on video tape (my best friend in college had a video camera permanently affixed to her head for that year… lucky for us). We got to know each other… our likes, dislikes, how we were raised. We were so different… yet we fit so well together.
Our first kiss was quite scandalous. There had been many opportunities for a first kiss… but he would never make the move. I remember actually calling him out on it (over IM of course). But one night- my parents were out of town (I know, I know)… so I called Jimmy, told him I was driving home from college and asked him if he wanted to come over to watch a movie. I helped him write a few papers for his Youth Ministry class. At this point it was 1am. We went downstairs to watch MTV (when MTV actually had music videos on it)… and there on the couch in my living room, with Black Balloon by the Goo Goo Dolls playing in the background, we kissed… until 5am. *my parents would have killed me if they knew I had a boy in the house overnight while they were out of town. At that point it was all over for me. He was mine and I was his and no one could have told me any differently. He still “didn’t want a girlfriend”… but I didn’t care. He was going to have one whether he wanted one or not. This whole “no girlfriend” kissing thing went on for a few months until finally on May 22nd 2002 we went on an “outing”… not a date … to picnic at Ceaser’s Head, Pretty Place and finally to Conestee Falls. At the bottom of Conestee Falls he asked me to be his girlfriend. We had a whirlwind relationship… I fell hard and I fell fast. I think he did too… Finally I had met someone and fallen for someone who had the same beliefs, morals, convictions, and level of commitment that I did… When we were together, WE were together. All the flirting with other girls stopped- it was just he and I.
Dating was HARD. With my first boyfriend we had a strong physical connection, but not much of an emotional connection… with my second we had a strong emotional connection but not much of a physical connection… (Remember… the 3 bears) with Jimmy we had both… and both connections were strong.
On October 17, 2002 we went on another “outing” to picnic at Ceaser’s Head, Pretty Place and Conestee Falls… and at the bottom of Conestee Falls, in the very same place he asked me to be his girlfriend, he asked me to marry him.
I said dating was hard… but being engaged was harder. We both made the commitment to remain virgins until our wedding night. Remember all those extra doses of hormones I keep talking about… Thank God we had a short engagement. We made it, but by the skin of our teeth!
Now, I’m totally going to go off on a tangent here. Any time I say that we were virgins when we got married – I get the same questions. “Weren’t you afraid that you wouldn’t be sexually compatible? Or that you wouldn’t know what you were doing? Shouldn’t you test drive the car before you buy it?” I laugh! I totally understand if you don’t have the same convictions we did. I get it. And I’m cool with your decision. But this was ours. And I totally get it if you DID have the same convictions but failed… I TOTALLY get that. But to answer those questions… please tell me how “knowing what sex was like with other guys” would have benefitted my marriage or made sex with my husband ANY better? Honestly- the type of person I am… it was a hard decision for me. But it was a good one. We had to learn things together… and all we know is each other… so I don’t carry the baggage around that I possibly could have if I had made a different decision. Yes Jimmy and I are religious… but outside of religion… this was just a good decision for us. It made sense to us. And it made our wedding night incredibly special! (so now that you know WAY too much about me… let’s move on)
Our wedding was “humble” to say the least. We had all our friends there and that’s all we cared about. We decided to build our marriage on honesty and truth and NEVER to stop making an effort to show our love for one another.
We have hit bumps… yes we argue. We have been through some difficult situations… but always together. From the beginning we made the decision that we would work to FIX whatever issue arose and never EVER to walk away. We are more in love today than we were 10 year ago. We are best friends and have so much fun together. I wouldn’t trade my marriage for ANYONE else’s!!!