Our story is important. We have been incredibly blessed by the work of God in and through us, and for those going through the traumas and trials of affair recovery it can serve as an encouraging beacon of hope. But to really tell it right, I think it’s important to go back to the very beginning and just tell the whole thing. So here it is.
Most of it was written during the darkest days of our recovery journey. It’s a little raw in some parts. But as I’ve gone back and revised it through the years, I thought it was important to leave that rugged transparency in. There’s nothing easy about betrayal. Often times the details of our stories can get a little fuzzy. We’re not sure what’s real and what isn’t. That’s just the reality of it, and we were no different.
So in the next three posts you will find the background of our story from the time we met up through the time we started this blog, all of it written at that point. From there, you’ll find updates to the story as they unfolded throughout the years of our recovery – right up to the present time. I hope you are encouraged and blessed to see how God can take a broken mess of a marriage and rebuild it into something truly beautiful! We certainly are!
So here is part one – the early years. This is the story of how we met, fell in love, married, and started our life out together more than 20 years ago.
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How it all Started
We met when we were 16, became a couple within months of meeting and were completely enamored with each other in almost no time. We were young, but even then it was obvious to us and to most everyone who knew us that we were meant for each other. There was just something about us that fit together like puzzle pieces.
We waited the years our parents made us wait, finishing high school and then spending a few years preparing for our future, and then we got married.
We were 20, we were broke, and we had no idea what the rest of our life was going to look like, but we knew we were going to face it together. This was going to be our story, and we were pretty sure it was going to be awesome!
Real Life Hits the Early Years
It sure didn’t take long at all for the realities of life to set in. We got pregnant almost immediately which was terrifying to both of us. We hadn’t even figured out how to take care of ourselves, how in the world were we going to take care of a BABY? We were still babies! We weren’t ready to be parents! At least, that’s what we thought.
On top of that, my love hadn’t really figured out what he wanted to do with his life yet and money was tighter than tight. We thought we had more time for this stuff. We were scared!
The pregnancy was a nightmare. I was sick the whole time and starting in the fifth month was put on bed-rest because they thought I was going to go into pre-term labor. To add insult to injury, my love’s business was failing and he had no idea what else to do. We were in full-on panic mode. Bills were piling up, there was no money and this baby was going to be here any day.
God’s Plan – What Our Story Has Always Really Been About
Then she came. Our perfect little blessing from God. She was our first lesson in God’s perfect timing! We were overwhelmed with love for this precious gift, and named her Athaiah, which we found in Nehemiah 11:4 and a Bible concordance told us means “whom Jehovah made,” or “God’s timing.”
I had never been one of those girls who just loved to be around kids and melted over babies. I didn’t really think I even wanted to have kids at all to be honest. Boy was I wrong! Within days of becoming a mother I knew this is what I was made for! Suddenly I wanted a whole house full of children, and my love (who came from a big family and had always liked kids anyhow) was right there with me! Of course, he carried the weight of how to provide for this big family we were going to have, so he wasn’t quite as gung-ho as I was, but he definitely liked the idea.
The next 5 years were a roller coaster. My love found jobs and lost jobs. He floundered trying to figure out his path. Then, one day, he got it. He figured it out and he went after his new career with gusto. Each year brought significant increases in salary as he worked his way up the corporate ladder and we went from having almost nothing to relative comfort fairly quickly. (Sometime I’ll write a post dedicated to that – God is amazing!)
We moved 3 times in those 5 years but by the end had purchased a home that I loved and that would accommodate our growing family. We also had two more babies – boys. With each new baby my passion for that big family grew, however with every pregnancy it also became clear that each one was a miracle, a gift from God, because my body did not get pregnant easily and did not go through pregnancy well. (There was a very difficult lesson in contentment and trust coming, but that lesson belongs to the next chapter.)
Lessons Learned in the Early Years of Our Story
In these years we learned that we really do like each other just as much as we thought we did when we were dating. Maybe even more! We learned how much we enjoy spending time together – always. We learned that we had very similar parenting philosophies and approaches. In fact, we learned that in most areas of life we were very like-minded despite the fact that our personalities were almost exactly opposite from each other. We learned that those differences in our personalities were extremely complimentary and seemed to offer balance to life whenever we work as a team.
We learned that I’m a little OCD and my love is a bit of a slob. We learned that I am TERRIBLE at handling finances and can’t pay a bill on time to save my life. (He handles ALL bill paying now and life is much better!) I learned that you have to take the plastic wrap off a frozen pizza BEFORE you put it in the oven. (I know – I really should’ve already known that!) We learned that I am not very “stuff” oriented and that my love really likes to buy things on impulse.
But the biggest lesson we learned (or at least started to learn) was that God’s timing is always better so we can trust Him with the details even when they don’t seem to make any sense to us. Let’s be honest, does anyone ever truly learn that lesson? Of course, we still tried to make our own plans and of course, our feathers still got ruffled every time God said, “No, I’m gonna do this instead. Trust Me.” But we were learning.
They were happy years.God's timing is always better so we can trust Him with the details even when they don't seem to make any sense to us. Click To Tweet
Interested in what happened next? Continue Reading – Our Story Part 2
*How about you? What were the biggest lessons God taught you in the first five years of your marriage? Did your story have a happy beginning, or a rocky one? Let us know in the comments.