Our love story begins when my family moved to northern Virginia from Nebraska near the end of my sixth grade year. My wife, Jenni, and I remember seeing each other at school but really didn’t interact at all as far as either of us recalls. Despite this fact she still gives me grief for not asking her to dance at the sixth grade end-of-year dance.
We briefly shared a middle school class until my schedule was re-arranged, but we didn’t actually spend any significant time together until high school. We were both part of a dynamic Christian youth bible study group, despite the fact that we were from different churches. It was a privilege to share these early years in the foundations of our faith walk.
Our familiarity and friendship grew over time until I finally bolstered myself and asked her out our junior year. Nothing doing. She gave me the classic “let’s just be friends” line, and it crushed me. She was determined to make good on her pledge of friendship, and so we did continue to hang out together. As our friendship grew, so did her romantic interests in me. After discouraging my intentions to date her best friend, we finally had our first real date to Pizza Hut in January of our high school senior year.
When I kissed her goodnight after that first date, it was nothing short of magic, and I knew what we had was something amazing. I was right.
We started at the same college, and our relationship continued to grow, even when I left to pursue an electrical engineering degree at a school about an hour away. I knew for a long time that Jenni was the one for me, but marriage prior to college graduation was a non-starter for both of our families. So we spent weekends together as often as possible, enduring the teasing of my roommates for having Jenni spend the night on the living room couch of our apartment. They couldn’t imagine that anyone would actually wait until they were married to have sex. Somehow we managed it, though it was by no means easy.
The time finally came when, as a broke college student, I scraped together money for a paltry engagement ring and eagerly popped the question during the Thanksgiving break of our senior year. She accepted my proposal without hesitation and we were married a week after I graduated from Virginia Tech.
I opted for graduate school instead the workplace, and after a two week honeymoon we packed up our lives and wedding gifts and moved to Atlanta. Living in small one-bedroom apartment, we made ends meet thanks to a generous stipend and research assistantship from Ga. Tech and Jenni working three part-time jobs: teaching preschool, a secretarial job and weekend rental office agent at our apartment complex.
We remember those early years mostly as a wondrous adventure, getting to know each other more intimately and working through what exactly it means to be joined as one-flesh. From that time to this, the adventure continues. We’ve grown a lot in our understanding of how to live our marriage as God intended it to be.
We don’t have a “great marriage crisis” story to tell. Although there certainly have been periods of struggle and difficulty, we’ve never been on the brink of divorce or suffered the carnage of infidelity. We’ve worked hard at making our marriage good, but I have to say it has been a pleasure to be married to my wife. She is an incredible gift from God and a great blessing to my life.
The honest truth is that we are more deeply in love now than we have ever been. And isn’t that how it should be?