I promise we were not ready for it. When we met we thought life would be all fun. We would have picnics in the park and felt totally inseparable.
The thing about love is that you never really know when it will happen. Its almost like it has its own mind and at some point, while we were ‘being friends,’ it decided to happen to us! I think it happened in her first, but that could just be testosterone speaking for me. Regardless, I know it happened in me. It crept on me, like it does for so many men. I just got lost in it all and something in me began to turn towards the girl that had invested so much of herself in me.
I know everyone has a 5-Step this and 3-Step that, but if the truth be told; there are no steps. It’s something that I believe God allows to happen when you decide that you’re going to let someone in your protective space, for real.
Well anyway, that’s what happened to this young couple that knew nothing about love, but everything about friendship. We were friends! She was a waitress. I was a soldier in the military. Call it what you want, but I promise we had no plans. We knew no model for this and life forced us to figure it out along the way. And that’s exactly what we did – figured it! Sure, we took some wrong turns, got mad about certain directions and had a few accidents along the way; but we always seemed to bounce back and keep driving.
Not only did love catch us by surprise, but the life it brought also caught us off-guard. At some level, we only hoped for the joys that love would bring. Then three children; four homes; two states; five business start-ups; four universities; three churches; several major losses; and so much more began to rip through the love we found at picnics and long walks in the park. It’s funny how it feels so good to dream together, but when those dreams start to come true, the challenges they bring with them can tear-up the dreams themselves.
I know marriage all happens in stages, but it feels like it breaks the rules sometimes. I guess the truth about love, relationships, and marriage is that it all catches you by surprise. So we have learned to live like this:
- Realizing that our marriage could fall apart at anytime if we don’t ‘stick together’.
- Realizing that if left to ourselves, we would destroy the very thing we worked so hard for.
- Realizing that we were not any better than any single or divorced person that had not been graced with what we found together.
- Realizing that our marriage was not a market, but rather a story that God was still telling through us.
- Realizing that whatever happened, we wanted the best for each other.
- Realizing that even at our worst we were better ‘together’ than we were ‘apart’.
So we center ourselves around God because we have learned that it is His hand that is greater than all our insights and wisdom – together. We have needed Him way more than He has ever needed us. What we didn’t know laughing and playing in parks, he has truly taught us.
If you don’t have Him in your life and relationship, you should really get Him because there is so much more that will “catch you by surprise” – but none of it will ever surprise him.
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