Love and Marriage, Week 1

Wednesday, April 03, 2013 14 Comments A+ a-

This week we’re talking about the beginnings of our love stories, from meeting to engagement to wedding. 

LoveMarriage4I’ve often talked about the how, where, and why of our relationship and how it started.  You can read some of my favorite memories of our relationship here, and our engagement story here.  But I’m more than happy to recap again.

We first met at the young ages of 15 and 16 years old when our church youth groups teamed up to go to Guatemala on a mission trip.  Our first interaction happened on the first leg of our trip, when he discovered it was my first plane ride.  He proceeded to tease me the entire flight from Denver to Dallas.  He made the trip… memorable.  But it was our last night in Guatemala, when Jon, I, and a couple of other teens sat around playing cards, talking, and joking.  As I looked at his gorgeous blue eyes and his contagious smile, I just knew he was going to be someone special in my life.  I had no idea how special…

Fast forward 12 months, and a boyfriend (for me) and a girlfriend (for him) later, my family decided to attend Jon’s church and we were soon flirting again.  It was my senior year in high school and I thought a fun fling would be a perfect way to end my high school career.  After all, I had plans that included an out-of-state university in the fall and a high school boyfriend certainly didn’t fit those plans, but something light and fun was perfectly ok.  However, within a couple of months, we had fallen in love and I was already looking at colleges closer to home.

DatingCollage1The summer after Jon graduated from high school, we broke up for about six weeks.  It was a heartbreaking six weeks, for both of us, in different ways.  But we were certain of one thing at the end of it, we wanted to marry each other.  Of course, at 18 and 19 years old, we also knew that we needed to wait awhile.  Some of our friends who’d married right out of high school were already divorced, and we had some maturing to do.  We each lived on our own, we’d attended college, we got jobs, but spent more time together than apart. 

EngagementCollageOn Jon’s 20th birthday, he proposed.  (I highly recommend reading the engagement story.)

Both my parents and Jon’s parents helped us with the wedding as much as they could, but Jon and I both worked two jobs during our 14-month engagement to pay for our wedding.  Ultimately we both wanted a day where we got to celebrate with all of our loved ones, and so our invite list grew to 500.  And while I’d love to say that we were incredibly popular (ha!), we both came from huge families and that’s who made up the majority of our guest list. 

It was a long engagement, too long in my opinion.  But it allowed for some intense marriage counseling during that time, and it was counseling that we needed.  Jon’s parents separated about three months after we got engaged and it rocked our world.  Mostly because we’d so admired their marriage during our dating years and we wanted to model our own marriage after theirs.  But between the Family Life Conference, marital counseling through our church, with my uncle and his wife, Jon’s cousin and his wife, and even outside counseling with a licensed therapist, we received the BEST marital advice ever…

You can’t model your marriage after anyone else’s marriage.  Each marital relationship is so unique to the couple, that it can’t be replicated.  What works for one couple, won’t work for another. 

And I can attest to the truth of this advice over and over again.  I love my sisters deeply, I love my brothers-in-law too.  They’re all happily married, but… shhhhh, come closer… I could not be married to their husbands.  And trust me, they would never want to be married to me.  (Ha!)  What works for my sisters in their marriages, would never work in my marriage to Jon.  And vice versa.  The four of us have settled into our marriages, we’re thriving and we’re happy.  And it only works for the couple in it.

May 31, 2002 dawned bright and early.  Several of my nine (yes, 9!) bridesmaids arrived at my parents house for mimosas and brunch, then we all trekked to the beauty salon to get all nine bridesmaids, the mother-of-the-bride, the grandmother-of-the-bride, and the bride ready for her big day.

WeddingCollageHonestly, looking back, much of the day is a blur.  So I’ll just highlight some of the more memorable moments of the day…

  • Dad never saw my dress before that day.  He was adamant that he wanted to be surprised too.  He came to the bridal room at the church, and was speechless when I walked out.
  • Jon and I decided to do a sneak peek before the ceremony and so we could get pictures out of the way.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous to walk around a corner, but the moment he turned and I saw the smile I’d fallen in love with back on that Guatemala night almost 6 years earlier, everything just made sense.
  • Right as the ceremony began, Jon’s older brother, Josh, came over to me and brought me to tears with the private conversation we had as he told me how happy he was for us and how excited he was to have me as a little sister.
  • I remember hands shaking after our vows were said and we were lighting the unity candle and having communion together as husband and wife.  It was done, we were married.
  • At the reception, watching all of our loved ones eating and laughing and enjoying themselves, Jon and I looked at each other and marveled that we’d done that.  We had worked hard to bring it all together and there was such a satisfying feeling knowing that we’d paid for most of it.
  • Josh’s toast will forever stand out to me.  Prior to the toast, he’d handed out keys to several women in the crowds, young, old, family, friends, etc.  And when he’d mentioned that since Jon was officially off the market and he would need those apartment keys back, woman after woman came up and handed the keys to Jon.  I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in my life.
  • Our first dance as husband and wife.  Jon and I have had a song from the very beginning of our relationship, its Mark Wills “I Do (Cherish You)”.  We’d even had the words “I Do” engraved on our wedding bands, not for the vows, but for our song.  It sounds cliché but its so true, the rest of the world simply faded away.  I don’t remember a single person or sound except for being in Jon’s arms and singing those words to each other.

Its hard to believe that Jon and I have known each other for over half of our lives.  Time has flown by, yet seems like its just always been this way.  He and I. 

Please head over and visit the other ladies participating in this marriage series with me.  Mandy, Jenna, Shay, Lindsey, and Megan.  I’m looking forwarding to reading yours too!

I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.

14 comments

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Jeanie
AUTHOR
7:00 AM delete

I love your story of inevitable, young love! As a 27-year-old-woman who has been in a relationship for the last five years, I love reading others' stories in the hope that my day will soon come.
In fact, weddings are all around me these days. Many of my friends and family are tying the knot, and I am doing my best not to feel resentful, but instead be truly happy that they found love. You are defiantly right about one thing- you pick your spouse for a reason, and that reason works for you two and no one else. Comparison in between couples can poison a relationship. Thanks for reminding me of that ;)

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Jenna
AUTHOR
7:22 AM delete

I loved getting to read your story, Jenn! And I whole-heartedly agree with you, you can't model your relationship after someone else's. So very true!

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7:25 AM delete

I love your story, Jenn! So cute! And I totally get what you're saying about what works for one couple doesn't work for another. You and Jon have an amazing foundation and a beautiful family. I'm eager to read more of your wisdom. And I'm excited about getting to write my story and link up later today! (Maybe during nap time!) :)

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Meghan
AUTHOR
7:29 AM delete

What great advice, not modeling your marriage after somebody else's! & I love your wedding song!!

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Lauren
AUTHOR
7:39 AM delete

I just LOVE this!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And went back and read yoru engagement story, awwwwwwwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Mandy Rose
AUTHOR
8:08 AM delete

I always adore reading about you and Jon. It doesn't matter what the topic...the love you have for each other shines through! It was one of the top reasons I fell in love with you at Blissdom last year. I could tell you were such a dedicated wife and mother and I wanted to surround myself with people like YOU! I love when you mention that you could never be married to your sisters husbands (and vice versa). So real! LOVE YOU!

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Lisa
AUTHOR
10:27 AM delete

I loved reading your story. My husband and I's first song was also "I Do" by Mark Wills. It is such a great song!

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Kat
AUTHOR
10:30 AM delete

ah I'm loving reading these from all of you guys :) I'm not sure if my entry qualifies or not, but I have written up our "love" story and linked it here.

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Linds
AUTHOR
11:24 AM delete

Jen I love your story! I'm going to have to sneak a peak at the other posts in your story later when the kiddos are asleep. I also LOVE what you wrote about what your counselor said about Jon's parents and your marriage. This is SO SO SO true. We've had a similar situation happen in my family (well... still happening) and it has rocked my world and made me really question a lot of stuff. My counselor said something similar to me and it allowed me to really release a lot of the comparisons I had made re: our marriage and comparing Drew to other older men I had looked up to in my life. Whew... I just wrote a book of a comment. LOL.

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11:43 AM delete

I love your sweet story! You two are precious together!! I'm so excited to be blogging in this series with you. I can tell that you're a girl after my own heart. XOXO

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Xlovehappyx
AUTHOR
12:10 PM delete

wow, it's amazing that you two started loving each other so young and had the maturity to get through rough times. very romantic, thanks for sharing :)

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Lisa
AUTHOR
12:33 PM delete

Love your story! I especially love the advice about not modeling after someone else, that is SO true. Thanks for sharing :)
~lisa
Floating Along

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Lindsey
AUTHOR
1:10 PM delete

I love your story Jenn! Rarely have I heard that high school sweethearts are together and that it refreshing knowing you and Jon have this wonderful bond.

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Christine
AUTHOR
9:33 PM delete

Even though I know your story quite well, I'm really loving this series and reading everyone's stories. :)

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