New Marriage Series: Two Are Better Than One

 

MARRIAGE PIC2

Photo source: Stock.Xchng

Today, I am starting a new series on marriage titled: “Two Are Better Than One.” The series will run every Monday and Friday through July. I invited several guest bloggers to share their marriage struggles and testimonies, and will post them throughout the series as well.

If you live in the U.S., every marriage post that you comment on in this series from now until Friday, July 19th, you will be automatically entered into a drawing for a $50 dinner gift card and a signed copy of my marriage book “You Can Have a Happy Family,which was just announced a finalist in the 2013 Reader’s Favorite International award contest 

Since my husband’s and my first “real” date was at Chili’s (see our story below), the gift card will be for Brinker restaurants and can be used at either Chili’s, On the Border, Macaroni Grill, or Maggiano’s. I will be drawing TWO winners  since “Two Are Better Than One!” I will announce the first winner and give away one gc and book on my husband’s and my 17th wedding anniversary, July 20th. And I will announce and give away another gc and book on our 18th dating anniversary, July 21st.

Today, I want to start the series with my husband’s and my story of how God drew our hearts together. I pray this testimony helps rekindle those feelings you had for your spouse when you first fell in love with them.

 

Joining Two Hearts Together

jason and amanda

My husband, Jason, and I first met when I was 17 and he was 22. I was working at my friend’s restaurant at the time. Jason walked into the restaurant. I took one look at him, turned to my friend and said,  “That’s the man I’m going to marry!” Even though I was half joking, there was something about him that strongly attracted me to him from the start. After our first meeting, my husband would frequently come into the restaurant with his friends. Every time he came in, my attraction for him continued to grow, and it became obvious to him and his friends. His friends would often joke about it because they knew my husband had no interest in dating a 17-year old. He was tired of dating and had recently made his mind up that the next girl he dated would be his wife. A flirtatious, immature high school girl wasn’t exactly marriage material.

About six months after we first met, I was waiting on him at the restaurant when out of the blue he asked for my phone number. Shaking, and about to pass out from shock, I wrote down my number and gave it to him. For several weeks, I waiting anxiously by the phone for him to call, but he never did. Then one day, one of his friends came into the restaurant. I asked him if he knew why Jason would ask for my number but not call me. His friend replied, “Because he has a girlfriend.” I can still remember that feeling as those words came out of his mouth and crushed me.

A few weeks later, Jason came into the restaurant. Heartbroken, I told him what his friend said. He laughed and explained that his friend lied. He said he didn’t call me because he had a hole in his pants and my number must have slipped out. I wasn’t buying it, though. Discouraged, I grudgingly gave him my number again, without expecting a call. The next day or so, I was caught by surprise when I received a call from him.

For the next six months, we talked frequently on the phone and saw each other at the restaurant, but nothing more than that. May of 1995, my senior year, I got up enough nerve to invite him to my prom. He declined without saying why. Crushed once again, I lost hope that he’d ever be interested in me. A few days after prom, on our senior skip day, I met a guy my age at the beach, and we started dating that evening. By that time, I had known Jason for about a year and he hadn’t asked me out once. I met this guy and he asked me out the first day we met. So I decided it was time to stop pursuing Jason and start moving on. In June 1995, I graduated High School. I came home from my ceremony and received a call from Jason. This time, he didn’t call just to talk. He called to ask me out on a date. I was blown away and in shock! After a year of waiting, I couldn’t turn down this opportunity. I wasn’t going to let the fact that I was dating someone else stop me from finally going on a date with Jason.

I met Jason at my friend’s house for our first date, and then he drove me to Taco Bell of all places. Not exactly my idea of a dream date with my dream guy. But it would do. I nervously stood in line waiting for him to go ahead of me and order, but he insisted I go first.  “What a gentlemen,” I thought. So I went up to the register, expecting him to order after me and then pay for us. But he continued to stand back and wait. I didn’t know what to do. I hadn’t expected to pay so I didn’t bring any money. I scrambled to find loose change in the bottom of my purse and found enough for one taco. Jason waited for me to finish paying before he stepped up, placed his order, and paid for his food. I was surprised, and a little confused, but I didn’t care. I was finally on a date with him!

After our first date, we continued to talk on the phone, and I continued to go on dates with the other guy while waiting to see if Jason would ask me out again. The other guy was moving a lot quicker, showing me attention, taking me to nice places and paying for everything, but my heart  was beating stronger for Jason each day. Finally one day, Jason asked me on a real date to Chili’s, and though I came prepared with enough money, he paid for me. We went on more dates after that, and each time he’d end the date by telling me he wasn’t sure what he wanted. Not sure our relationship would ever develop into anything, I continued dating the other man.

In the middle of July, I went away on vacation for a week. When I returned, I decided to let the other man go and let Jason go as well. It wasn’t right to hold onto the other man and lead him on if my heart wasn’t for him. And I was falling in love with Jason, but I couldn’t bare the pain of dragging our relationship out any longer only to lose him in the end. The only choice was to let him go too.

Image0003On the evening of what I thought would be our last date, July 21st 1995, I was getting ready to tell him that I couldn’t take this anymore, when he interrupted me and asked, “Will you go out with me?” I replied that we’ve already been going out on dates. He responded, “No, I want you to go out with me, exclusively. I want you to officially be my girlfriend.” I can remember the excitement and relief I felt when those words I so longed to hear finally came out of his mouth. He was mine!

Seven months later, on Valentine’s day, Jason proposed and we were married on July 20, 1996, the day before our 1 year anniversary. I didn’t know the Lord at the time, but I have no doubt that His hand lead us together. I found out years later that Jason and I had  separately accepted Christ at Vacation Bible camps when we were kids. I was too young to remember. But my husband remembers his experience. When he came home from camp he said he had no one to teach him how to grow in his relationship with Christ, so he just continued to follow the path of the world. Both of us were traveling down the same road when God so graciously crossed our paths so we would meet each other. He’d then draw our hearts together, and (five years into our marriage) ultimately draw our hearts back to Him (Read next Monday’s post for that story).

My husband eventually told me why he took so long to give in and allow God to draw his heart to me. I wasn’t what he was looking for. He prayed for a wife. He wanted someone older, more mature, and ready to settle down. I was young, wild, and not even thinking about marriage. He normally dated short women. I was tall, and with heels, taller than him. He liked a more natural looking woman. I caked on the makeup. He liked a more conservative dressed woman. I dressed like I was ready to go to the bar most of the time.  He told me despite my wild appearance, he was attracted to my heart. The more time we spent together, the stronger that feeling became, and the outward differences no longer mattered. I was the one God had chosen for him, and he was the one God had chosen for me. That’s why I had such a strong attraction for him from the moment I first met him. He was mine. And I was his. Our hearts were created to be one. It just took him a little longer than me to see that.

The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Genesis 2:23-24

Once we marry our spouses and life goes one, it’s so easy to forget those feelings we had when we first fell in love with them. When our hearts were beating strong for them, we didn’t care about all our differences and take offense by all their faults. I didn’t care that my first date with Jason was at Taco Bell and he made me pay. My love for him was greater than the offense.

…love makes up for all offenses.

Proverbs 10:12, NLT

God wants us to keep our hearts beating strong for our spouses because most of our differences, and the things our spouses do that offend us, are often not offensive as they appear. After we got married, I asked my husband about some of the odd things he did when we first met. He actually did have a hole in his pants and lose my number. He turned down my invitation to prom  because he thought my classmates would think he was too old. He waited until my graduation day to ask me out on a date because he didn’t want people to think he was disrespectful for dating a girl still in High School. And as you are probably wondering, the Taco Bell incident was because he had recently dated a woman who wanted to pay for all her own meals. He thought that would be what I wanted.  He was doing it to impress me, not to offend me.

As I was writing this post, and recounting the journey God took my husband and me through to join our hearts together, I felt that beating in my heart for my husband powerfully revive in me. If you have lost that beating in your heart for your spouse, or it’s slowing down, I encourage you to prayerfully allow God to take you back to when you first met. Recount that journey with God and let Him rekindle those feelings for your spouse once again.

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for this marriage series. Your Word says that marriage should be honored by all (Hebrews 13:4). We pray this series would honor You as we allow Your will to be done in our marriages.  We praise You for joining our hearts together with our spouses. Keep our hearts beating strong for them.  When our hearts begin to drift away, remind us of when we first fell in love, and rekindle those feelings once again.

In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

 

*Don’t forget to leave a comment below if you want to receive an entry into the drawing. Come back Friday for another entry as Kerry Johnson shares how God drew her heart away from an unequally yoked relationship, and drew her heart to the one God had chosen for her. 

 

 

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