I realized that I haven’t actually written about my husband, other than to mention him in passing. I find this to be a great disservice to him, considering the fact that he is truly my best friend. So let me take you on a little trip down memory lane, and tell you about the greatest thing that has ever happened to me…
At the age of 14, my family moved to a different city. My parents found a church to attend, and just 2 days after moving into our new house, I went to a meeting of the youth group for the first time. My husband says it was love at first sight. I think I remember seeing him there…
And that’s how our relationship went for awhile. I might have talked to him a handful of times, but we weren’t exactly friends. He chased me, though, in his own quiet, subtle way. At 16, I heard through the grapevine that he wanted to ask me out. I responded in my own passive-aggressive way by doing the only perfectly reasonable thing…I chased someone else and goaded him into asking me out instead! Problem solved, no confrontation forcing me to break my now-husband’s heart.
Fast forward another year or so, and yet another boyfriend later. I had worked away at a summer camp for a few months. During the course of the summer, I broke up with the boyfriend that had been the deflector for my husband’s attention, and I subsequently met the guy I thought I would marry. He did, in fact, ask me to marry him, although he didn’t buy me a ring. Yeah, big warning sign! His mother was a real…interesting person, to put it nicely. What I thought would be my forever love turned out to be a summer romance that ended with his mother disallowing him to speak to me (he was 18…yeah…). That fall, for too complicated of reasons to go into in this post, I was attending community college a year ahead of my peers. My husband, who was homeschooled, had gotten his GED and was also attending the same college. He happened to be the only person I knew there, other than my older brother. This, it turns out, is how fate works. He invited me to go to the Christian club on campus with him, and thus began our friendship. He introduced me to his group of friends and we started hanging out more and more. When my summer romance ended, my husband was there to listen and comfort me and succeeded in making me laugh in spite of my anger and tears.
I’ll never forget the moment I realized I loved him. I knew what time he caught the city bus to head home, which was 5 minutes before my last class of the day ended. One day, when my class ended a few minutes early, I found myself rushing out with plans to pass by the bus stop in hopes that he would still be there so I could offer him a ride. It turns out that he was, and it became a regular occurrence!
Around this time, I began babysitting for my husband’s parents regularly. They had adopted a little boy previously, and were in the process of adopting twin girls. The twins were 3 and the boy was 5 at the time. My babysitting job resulted in me seeing even more of my husband. Soon, we were having marathon phone conversations late into the night every chance we got.
In January of 2001, my husband asked me to be his girlfriend. I declined, still cautious from my previous heartbreak. That didn’t deter him, however, and our friendship continued to deepen. On February 15, we shared our first kiss. It wasn’t earth-shattering, but I remember every moment. A little over a month later, I allowed him to officially call me his girlfriend, and just 3 1/2 months after that, he asked me to marry him, on July 4th. And yes, he had a ring!
Now, he was only 17 at this time, and I was 18. Let’s just say that our parents were less than thrilled. My parents probably thought I’d do a repeat of my previous “engagement”, while his parents tried to talk him out of the commitment. Things were ok until we had sex for the first time and I freaked out, thinking I was pregnant, and took an at-home test. I mistakenly left the instructions in my dresser drawer, and my mother, who apparently thought it was perfectly reasonable to snoop through her adult child’s belongings, found said instructions and called my then-fiancé’s parents. That’s when all hell broke loose. Unbeknownst to me until a couple years ago, his parents threatened to call the police on me for statutory rape. They didn’t, but they proceeded to send my husband to live with his grandparents in another city, to hide him from me. I still managed to call him by having a mutual friend make initial contact and then hand me the phone! But a relationship like that is doomed to fail. My husband decided to join the Army, seeing it as his chance to get out on his own, and we ended up breaking up for the first time.
Long-distance relationships are hard. Add in the Army, unsupportive parents, and immaturity, and it seemed to be a recipe for disaster. There were definitely some disastrous moments, which I would rather forget. Even still, after a couple more breakups, we wound up eloping in Hawaii, where my husband was stationed, nearly 2 years after our initial engagement. This is one of 2 pictures I have from our “wedding”:
Married at just 19 (3 days before my 20th birthday), with almost no support from friends or family, my husband in the Army, and then we had our first child just under a year later…you’d think that things would end badly. Sometimes, I’m not sure why it didn’t. All I know is that I am stubborn beyond belief, my husband is the most persistent person I know, and our relationship was truly that of best friends, first and foremost.
I read a blog post today that made me think. It posed the question of conditional versus unconditional love. The author concluded that all love is conditional. While there are things my husband could do that would forever change our relationship, and potentially end it, I don’t believe I could ever stop loving him. I truly feel that he is the other half of my soul, that we are two halves of a whole. We have known each other nearly 18 years. We know each other’s thoughts, he is the only one who has seen me for who I truly am and loves me in spite of it. I don’t know where I’d be without him, but I know that I’m a better person because of him.
Samuel, nearly 14 years ago, you asked me to marry you. Even if I had to go through all the heartbreak and turmoil that followed again and again, I’d still say “yes”, a million times. Always and forever, always and all ways, I love you!