Actually, I need to back it up a little. It was a spring semester at Liberty University in 1992. I was sitting next to one of my dearest friends in chapel (now called convocation). She was writing a love letter to her boyfriend who lived in New Jersey. She told me I should write his brother a letter because he was going through a hard time. So I wrote this 23 year old young man a letter of encouragement. (yes, during chapel, sorry :-)… I wish I could remember who the speaker was at the time…ha!). This letter turned into an exchange of letters, good ole’ fashion snail mail letters. I remember the excitement of waiting for these letters in the mail. It was wonderful getting to know someone through personal letters, as writing can reveal the depths of who we were. Along with the letters came the anticipation of our long phone conversations.
The summer of ‘92, I went on a road trip with my friend to NJ to spend time with my Pen Pal. On June 11th, my Pen Pal and I were walking on the streets of Long Branch, hand in hand. He said to me, “I really like you”. I replied, “Well, I looove you”. I was only 19 and saying it for the first time. I obviously didn’t fully realize the power of those words. He did, however. He stopped walking and turned to me and sweetly said, “I love you, too” and we kissed. Two years later, eighteen years ago today, June 11th, 1994, we married.
This particular year the anniversaries are more special to me. It’s been 20 years!!! I’ve now known Jhon more in my life than I’ve not known Jhon. We’ve been through sooooo much together and it now seems life hasn’t taken place without him.
As somewhat of a footnote – I didn’t used to post, share, and/or boast so much about my marriage. I did this for a few reasons. I tend (or used) to be a very private person. But really, we didn’t want to be one of the “those” couples. ;)
But lately, there’s just been too much joy to not share. Our marriage caught a “second wind”. I’m not sure how to explain this. You’ve probably had to have the privilege of experiencing it to fully appreciate it. It started a little over two years ago when we built our new home together. The kids were also out of diapers and in preschool, being less needy for our attention. We found something new and special in each other. As just one example, I discovered I’m not always the rock, but Jhon is often our rock… consistent, steady, always there for us… and surprising us both. It’s been amazing surrendering to his strength and resolve after all these years. We’ve also reached a place where we can celebrate all we’ve been through, particularly what God has done in our lives. Love – at 20 years - is at least 20 times better than the first, new love of 1992. We’ve been transforming beyond infatuation to something even more resilient and true. And one can’t help but to celebrate this!
Happy Anniversary, Jhon! “Well, I looove you”.