February 6th 1982 this photo was taken before our Wedding Ceremony (so the guests wouldn’t have to wait while the wedding party was being photographed). It’s one of my favorite photos from our Wedding Day. The look on his face as he is looking at me still melts my heart. He saw me, wanted me and looked forward to sharing the rest of his life with me. He vowed to love me knowing it would bring compromise and sacrifice through unknown circumstances.
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We met in March the previous year and he asked me to marry him on June 8th, my birthday. He did it in a way that allowed me to think he was making a joke (maybe I’ll tell the story later) and so I laughed it off, he claimed then and now that he really meant it.
I had already spent three months giving him mixed signals by drawing him closer and then pushing him away, trying to convince him he wouldn’t really want me if he knew what I was really like and secretly hoping he would pursue me anyway. And he did pursue me, tenaciously, for two more months as I tested his resolve.
But it’s hard to resist love.
He was patient and believed the best about me even after I confessed my disqualifications. He saw potential in me I didn’t see. He laughed easily and made life fun with his sense of humor and light-hearted perspective. He overlooked my minor flaws but talked for hours about the serious issues of life. He initiated reading a book together when we first started dating (on marriage of all things…the guy had nerve). He respected my opinions even though he was a whopping two years older than me and had more education and life-experience. He enjoyed me and my family, quickly responding to their inclusion into holidays and ‘customs’. He shared his thoughts, dreams and passions freely. He was honest about past failures and humble yet confident.
That August when I realized I had possibly pushed him away for the last time and I saw the look of discouragement on his face as he drove away without a planned time to connect in the future, I started thinking what would it really be like to never speak to him again? Although I didn’t believe there is only one perfect match for each person out there, I did begin to wonder ‘What if God had brought him into my life for a purpose? What if I had a choice to trust God and move forward or not but would be missing something good and special if I resisted?’
So I made the decision to give him a real chance. I called and set up a time to meet for dinner. I didn’t know for sure if I wanted to marry him even though I could say there was a certain kind of love growing for him. But the one thing I did know was that he loved me. He loved me first and was willing to say so long before I could respond with ‘I love you too’. As I let my self-protective guard down and responded with a little encouragement I was flooded with attraction, passion and desire for him.
Within a few weeks I asked him over the phone if he really meant the question he asked me on the beach on my birthday, he said yes, I said, ‘we might have something to talk about the next time you come to visit’. As he spoke with my dad about wanting to marry me, my mom and I were looking at the guest ‘house/room’ already prepared for his more frequent visits (our courtship was long distance).
The next February we were married. Eleven months from introduction to marriage. Our first Valentine’s Day was on our honeymoon. I wouldn’t recommend a courtship that short in most circumstances but I can see how it worked together for good for us.
Now 29 years later I think about all we have been through (good, bad, joyous, painful, ugly and beautiful) and I can see how God has blessed me with an imperfect reflection of His perfect love for me. For God loved me first, he saw me, wanted me and wanted to spend eternity with me. He pursued me in spite of my disqualifications and waited patiently for me to respond to Him. When I asked myself ‘what if…? and put my self-protective wall down I experienced attraction, passion and desire to unite with Him and enjoy the sweetness of His love for me.
Over the years I have broken my husband’s heart, just like I have broken the heart of God and even in that my husband has forgiven me as God has forgiven me…only because he also has been loved and forgiven by Love Himself.
1 John 4:19 NIV ”We love because he first loved us.”
Happy Anniversary by beloved Lenny. I thank God for you and pray we have many more years together, love Teresa