We weren’t actually “official” yet, but it was the day I knew I loved him.
Nicholas Sparks would have been proud – it was raining on the Fourth of July and I was standing under the awning of a drug store in Charlottesville, Virginia. Josh had walked me and some friends to the mall to enjoy the holiday, but when the rain came down we knew we couldn’t walk back. “I’ll get the car,” He offered gallantly, and took off running almost two miles in a downpour. When he walked back up 20 minutes later, he was dripping water from his nose… and the sky was blue. He was so eager to care for me, to care for all of us, I knew there was something special in his heart.
And I knew I loved him.
Fast forward to our actual relationship, time and stress were pressuring us post-college. Josh was having a harder time finding a job than we thought, which delayed our engagement. I was getting impatient. We had our first huge fight. When he finally DID get a job, we were both traveling often for work and didn’t get to spend much time together. We felt distant, like we didn’t have anything in common, and were full of doubt about the future. Finally, he asked the question we both wondered: “Should we break up?”
That moment is seared in my brain: Where I was, what was playing on the radio, the sound of his voice. Should we end this? Should we start over again, with someone new and different, someone who “gets us” better than we could?
My heart sunk and I felt sick. We hung up the call and I pictured life without him – a life where he went on and married someone else. A life where I moved to a new state, met a guy, and one day said vows to HIM, not to Josh. I couldn’t do it.
That was the moment I knew I’d marry him, if he would still be with me. It was not just a feeling; it was a decision. It was a decision to work through whatever difficulty was coming our way (which was a lot!) because he was worth it to me.
That almost-break-up was three weeks before we got engaged. As I write this, our five year anniversary is days away. I think about that moment often – what if I had decided differently? God clearly gave us a choice. But in choosing one another, we chose a path that – though hard – refined us into His image. It may have been easier if we’d married other people, but we saw the good in one another and chose a path. Our vows kept us on it. And here we are, years down the road, stronger and more united than we could have imagined.
I originally titled this post, “Stay Single Until You Can’t Picture Life Without Him”, but that makes this seem as if it was an emotional decision. There were emotions involved, but my decision to marry Josh was intensely spiritual and rational. We were equally yoked spiritually. We had the same vision for the future. The things we DIDN’T have in common were things that could be worked through, if we’d let God’s Spirit do such a work. It wasn’t an easy road, but it was the road to our refining.
My encouragement, if you’re single, is to remember that doubts are okay. Struggles will come no matter who you marry. And you may not have absolute assurance that this is “the One” until you say “I do”, because only when you make that vow, you just chose “the One” for yourself. Josh and I had moments of doubt here and there up to our wedding day, but after that, we never questioned whether we chose the “right person”. We know we did. The right person is who we married, and five years in, we’re choosing to love and respect one another the way God taught us. Our relationship has been beautified and some hard edges smoothed. We’re making up for those things we didn’t have in common – because God is just that good.