The people who believe in “love at first sight” have always boggled my mind. I’m definitely a romantic, but I’m also very analytical and the thought of knowing who you could love through thick and thin for the rest of your life just by looking at them, seems highly impractical in my maybe “too practical” mind. The truth is, there may be some rare people that have some sort of a premonition that God has paired them with a certain person, upon first glance, but for most of us, it’s a process.
I met Andy when I was 18 years old. My friend and I bumped into a mutual friend of ours at a rec center and he introduced us. I thought he was cute and soon enough we were all hanging out as a group. We were friends and we would talk on AOL instant messenger. I loved getting to see the deeper side of him that most people never knew. To most people I think he was kind of a goofball. There was just something about him that made talking to him feel so easy, even though I sometimes worried that we couldn’t talk over the phone for hours like many of my friends did with their boyfriends.
The summer before I left for Ireland to study abroad, I put myself out there and said I liked him as more than a friend. His reaction was less than what I had hoped for but after a few months we pretty much started dating without officially dating, and before long I was away in a foreign country for four months. We wrote emails to each other practically every day, but we weren’t dating:) After I came home, we began to officially date.
We dated for three years, including a month of actually having broken up. I analyzed until I could analyze no more. I asked my family and the people closest to me who I really respected, what they thought about Andy and asked them about any concerns I had. The truth is, you never really know someone until you are living with them day in and day out. There comes a point where you have to take a leap of faith and promise to love this person, for all you know and all you don’t know, for who they are today and who they might be in the future.
I’d say I went into marriage with fairly realistic expectations. I knew the infatuation stage wouldn’t last forever and it scared me! I’ll never forget my dad saying, well, everyone who is married is in that pool, so just dive in! Those weren’t the exact words but something to that effect. Andy and I went through some pretty tough stuff in our relationship before marriage, so I also wasn’t going in expecting Andy to be the perfect man. Like many girls who grew up in the church, I had this thinking that men have to be the spiritual leaders of their households, but what does that look like? Should I expect him to read the Bible with me every morning and pray together at night? Should he lead a Bible study and drag us to church four times a week? I didn’t quite know but what I did know was that Andy was genuine in his faith and he didn’t try to be something he wasn’t. He was a good man, not a perfect man, but a good man, to his core.
I’ve often felt at a different place than my peers because of having gone through the murder of my brother. You just have a different perspective on life when you go through a childhood trauma like that. Oftentimes, I prayed that Andy could see and understand that perspective, but I’d often follow up with, “without having to go through something like that God”. I’ve always been the worrier in the relationship and Andy would frequently tell me “It’ll all be ok.” I resented that! How dare he say that, when everything in his life has turned out ok, but mine hasn’t! What I didn’t realize is that Andy would keep saying that even when he was being held to the fire.
When we found out that our third child would be born with only one arm, one kidney and the unknown of other health problems, Andy remained steadfast. This man who I didn’t think understood suffering was like a pillar of strength in the storm of this trial. We were scared but abortion wasn’t an option, for either of us. In some ways, this trial felt easier than others, because we were on the same page, a united front. This man was texting me Bible verses. Andy wouldn’t let us miss a week of church. I was beginning to see God light a fire in him. I was and am, amazed at his attitude, his strength. He was my rock. He had all the optimism and hope for Joshua in the world. And when the unthinkable happened, the loss of his son, he mourned deeply, but he stood up at Joshua’s funeral and preached the gospel message. I see this insatiable thirst abiding in Andy for God’s word, for knowledge and wisdom. It’s amazing to watch. He jumped at the prompting we had felt for some time, to lead a lifegroup with our church. His passion for Jesus, through this tragedy, deeply inspires me.
Sometimes your marriage will endure heartaches you never imagined. Sometimes you might doubt if you married the right person. Sometimes you might have weeks at a time you fight everyday. It’s kind of funny looking back now at our starry-eyed newlywed selves. The love of those days was real and deep, it was. I don’t want to downplay that new love, but I wouldn’t trade that starry-eyed, naive love for the battle tested, deeper love we have now.
So what does it mean to be a #powercouple? In our case, it’s a couple made up of two very imperfect people who have persevered and chosen to keep forgiving, keep serving, keep respecting and keep loving each other, no matter how many times we may have failed in the past. We’ve grown so much together in almost seven years of marriage and I can’t wait to see what God has next for us. May we truly bring God more glory than we ever could on our own.