Monday, February 8, 2010

Forever. For Real.

My husband and I met in high school, when we were about 15 years old.  We dated for 2 years through high school.  When I graduated, leaving Justin to finish his senior year, things became rough and our relationship was tested.  In the end, we decided we really belonged together and Justin proposed to me in August 1997.  That's a funny story, I'll save for another day.  Three weeks later, we both went away to college on separate ends of our state, but managed to see one another nearly every weekend.  Deciding that we couldn't stand to only see one another on weekends, we both moved home at semester and started to plan our wedding.  We were married on October 10, 1998, when we were both 20 years old.

I wish that I could say we've been blissfully happy ever since, but that would be a lie.  We've had major ups and major downs.  We've experienced times of great joy and times of despair. We've been madly in love with one another, and we've stayed together because we "needed to".  We've talked about growing old together, and we briefly visited the idea of growing apart.  Through it all, we've stuck it out and are currently experiencing one of the best times in our marriage!!!!  We've remained committed to the vows we took and we've remained committed to one another.

This past weekend, Justin and I were able to get away, on a little trip to Oklahoma City, without our kids.  It was really great to spend some time without the yelling and fighting from the kids, the constant answering of questions, the echoes of "Mom" and "Dad" coming from four different directions and to just be together. We held hands, we cuddled, we talked, we laughed.  We were "us".

A major part of our trip was attending the "Forever. For Real. marriage seminar".  The day included opportunities to think about how we communicate with one another, the expectations we brought into our marriage and how those expectations have changed, the way we love one another.  It was a really great day and a great workshop for us to do together. We're looking forward to working through the rest of the workbook together, in the coming weeks, and applying all that we took away.  When we arrived at the seminar, Justin and I both believed we have a "good marriage" and we left the seminar both believing we can continue to have a "great marriage"!!!!

Another really cool part of that experience was the chance to meet several young, engaged couples.  I think Justin and I were the oldest couple at our table of 6 couples (and we're NOT OLD!!!).  We'd also been together for 15 years and married for over 11 years. The only other married couple at the table had been married for 1 year, 9 months (awwww, the sweet bliss of newlyweds!).  The remaining 4 couples were all getting married this year. One of these couples are both serving in the US Air Force and are getting married on February 9!  He will be deploying in June, she will deploy in January (just as he returns).  Another couple has a 3 year old child.  Another one is trying to build a life as he is a full-time student.  The final couple is 19 years old and will married in May; they're both college students.  I was able to look at all of these couples and see something special and sweet about each of them.

I believe that God put us at the table for a reason.  We were able to share our story, a little bit, with these couples. We warned them about how expectations will change, how children effect a marriage, how important communication about all sorts of topics will be, to not be angry or scared when the married sex life doesn't end up being exactly what you imagine, to talk openly and honestly about money and seek out teachers and mentors in this area, the importance of a strong support system, and how there are seasons in a marriage.  Justin and I had a chance to be an example to these couples, of striving through hard times and being committed to making it work.  That's a big blessing and I'm thankful God granted us that opportunity.

I pray that Justin and I will continue to grow our marriage in the Lord.  I pray that He will continue to make our love stronger and more intense every day.  I pray that He will bless our family with a long life together!  I pray the our children see God's impact on our life and our marriage. I pray that we can be a good example to our children of a godly marriage and family!

I pray for the younger couples at our table. I pray they will continue to invest in their relationships, as they did on Saturday.  I pray that they will communicate and always be honest with one another. I pray they will always respect one another and I pray they will have strong support systems.  I pray they will invite God to be a part of their marriage and the families they will create together (with or without children). I pray they will stay committed to their vows and I pray that their love for one another will only grow deeper over time!

As for me, I do love my Sweetie! He's a great guy and I feel truly blessed to have found him so early in my life!!!!  Here's a picture of us at dinner after the seminar at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill.

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