Wednesday, April 3, 2013

An Intro to Us {Love and Marriage Blog Series}.

Today is the kick off for the month long Love and Marriage blogging series. I'm teaming up with Jenna from Jenna's Journey, Mandy from House of Rose, Shay from Mix and Match Mama, Jenn from Knee Deep In Munchkinland, and Megan from In This Wonderful Life.

I've been so stoked about this, and have actually run into a few of my blog readers as I've been out and about, who have expressed their excitement about this series as well. Drew and I are pretty open people, and we always joke with everyone that even though we've been married for 9 years, we still have more "what no to do's" than "what to do's" when it comes to marriage. I'm sure my posts in this series will be like that too.

Today we thought it would be good if you found out a little about us: our marriages, how long we dated, etc. I figured I'd tell mine in story form. Excuse me if this gets long... I've tried to keep it short and sweet, but sometimes love stories have a way of getting wordy without even trying. 

First off, I feel you should know something about me. Before college, I had not been on one single date. I had never held a boys hand. I had never even... get ready... kissed a boy.


I know, I know. People find it so hard to believe, and ask why. I honestly don't know. I mean, it wouldn't be because I dressed like this:
highschool picture
(cue hysterical crowd laughter. I know. It really was that bad. And now you know why we've all breathed a sigh of relief when we've found out I'm having boys. Lord knows I won't be able to have ANY input into fashion, hair or makeup if we ever have a girl).

Yes, I wasn't the cutest of girls in high school. Truth be told (as if the picture wasn't enough evidence), I was a tom boy through and through, and I really had no interest in dating. All of the guys were my friends, not prospective suitors. In fact, during my freshman year in college, I came home from spring break and honestly told my mom that I probably wasn't going to get married till I was 40. And that I was perfectly ok with that scenario. I also told her there was only one guy that I knew that I would even say yes to going on a date with, but that he'd never ask me out. As we all find out sooner or later in life, God has a ginormous sense of humor.

A week later, Drew, that boy that I was sure would never ask me out, asked me out on a date (to a bar, nonetheless. It was for Battle of the Bands. He bought me a coke ;) ). The next day he asked me out on another date (to his church this time. Gotta keep the balance in life). That night, the night of our second date, I knew that I was going to marry him. Call me crazy. But I just KNEW.
dating pictures 2_1

This is the part in our story where Drew interjects and says "THANK GOD she didn't tell me that night that she was going to marry me!" You see, Drew was about as timid as a cat in water when it came to revealing his deep feelings for me. Thankfully I had enough sense to not ever talk much about marriage while we were dating. I'm fairly certain it would have scared Drew half to death and we would never be where we are now.
dating pictures_1
During the summer of 2002 Drew came home from his study abroad and actually said the M word. I about fell over when he mentioned marriage; till that point he had never even spoken of such things. Apparently he turns on a dime when he's set his mind to something (the same was true when we were ready to have kids, or any other big decision for that matter). December 31, 2002, Drew proposed (I burped in his face right before he got on one knee. Yes. It was that romantic. No, I have no video. Thank the Lord!), and I said YES. Since he had proposed during his 2 week R&R during his first deployment, we had a long engagement. We were married December 20, 2003.
dating pictures
dating pictures 2
wedding pic1
(this is my favorite wedding picture of us. photo credit: Tammy Belin Photography)

I am a simple person when it comes to parties and events. As far as my wedding was concerned, I only had a few things I specifically wanted (like roses on top of my cake and to ride away in a limo), but other than that, I really could have cared less. Our wedding was simple, and quite honestly, it was perfect.
001 (3)
I could stare at how skinny my arm is all day. {sigh} photo credit: Tammy Belin Photography

There is nothing I would have done differently about our wedding. It was everything I had hoped it would be, plus some. The one thing I always tell a bride-to-be is to make decisions based off of what SHE wants, not her mom, sisters or friends. You only get to get married once, and I have so many friends who look back and have told me they wish they had done things differently, and regret what they did because so-and-so said it needed to be done a certain way.

One thing that Drew and I chose to do a little differently when we got married, is that we signed a covenant marriage license. Back in 2003 the practice was still fairly new, so no one really knew about it. Basically, a covenant marriage license has stricter requirements for separation and divorce. There are a lot of hoops you have to jump through should you ever wish to get divorced. Drew and I have always held a firm belief that divorce is not an option for us. The covenant marriage license puts our money where our mouth is, and gives us the accountability to stick to what we've always said. (I'm not sure all states offer this kind of license, but I do know that even if you are already married you can change your license to become a covenant marriage license. For more information about the covenant marriage license in the state of Arkansas, NWA Healthy Marriages has some great information that you can find HERE).
honeymoon pictures_1
honeymoon pictures
We honeymooned in Cancun, Mexico. Probably one of the best trips of my life. We had so much fun! 

So... that's us. Married 9 years, together for 12. The past 9 years have been some of the hardest, yet most rewarding years of my life. I often say that life with Drew has not always been easy (because it hasn't), but it certainly has been more rich. I'm not sure I could have gone through some of the things I have gone through over the past 9 years without Drew by my side. He completes me, and in many ways is the sand paper I am certain God knew I needed to make me more like Jesus. I hope that the next several weeks will show you that while Drew and I have a far from perfect relationship, it's still full of joy and rewards that we would miss out on if we weren't willing to put in the hard work that it takes to have a strong marriage.

Wanna link up your story? Link up below with the linky tool.

Next week we'll be talking about the hard times in marriage... be sure to come back and join us!

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