If you don’t like sappy posts, I wouldn’t scroll any further…
It is hard to share our love story without sharing how we first met. Circa 2006, Ian was playing in a christian rock band that would often come and play at my school for chapel. I remember sitting in the bleachers in the gym auditorium watching them play. My friends were all drooling over the lead singer and guitarist, while I was too focused on how cute the drummer was, shaggy hair and all. I loved how he sang with every song, and was so passionate about his music. I guess you could call this the first time we met. We became Facebook friends shortly after… although Ian really doesn’t remember this as much as I do. And both of us went on with our lives. We both dated a few people here and there, but our paths never crossed.
Three years later, I got a message on Facebook from Ian. It basically shared that he was deleting a bunch of friends off his Facebook page and he couldn’t remember how he knew me (first world dating is crazy.) It would have been a great pick up line, if it weren’t for the fact that several of my other friends received the same message (don’t tell Ian I told you that…) Regardless, that message turned into hours of conversing and texting which ended up in lunch two days later. A very awkward lunch where he and his roommate had lunch with me and about 20 of my closest friends.
We dated for two weeks, and then Ian made the decision that he wanted to just be friends. He had jumped into relationships too quickly before and it ended badly. I totally respected his decision, though I was heartbroken. I then decided if he wanted to just be friends, I was going to be his BEST friend. And I was. We continued to hang out and talk daily. Many of my friends told me to move on and forget about him, but I loved his friendship and I knew that there was a reason he was in my life. Two months later, he invited me to go on a cruise with him and his roommates for spring break and three weeks later, my three friends and I carpooled with Ian and his roommates down to Miami for our excursion to the Bahamas.
The trip was surreal, and we both still laugh about all the fun we had. The last night, Ian took me up to the top of the ship and explained to me that he had feelings for me the entire time we were friends and that being with me on the cruise showed him that he couldn’t imagine what it would be like to spend life without me. It was pretty romantic. And then we were even more inseparable.
A year later, Ian mentioned that he was doing some design work for my good friend Caroline Fontenot and in exchange she was going to do some couple photos for us. My grandparents live in Canada, so he thought it would be sweet to send them some shots of us. Ian told me that he wanted to do the shoot at Atlantic Station, since this is where some of our first dates were. The weather was incredible, even though we had just had a storm the night before that was so bad there were cows in trees in some areas. As we took pictures, we stopped at a monument in the park. Ian started to kiss me a lot, and I was feeling uncomfortable with the amount of PDA we had on camera. Moments later, he tells me that he had to tell me what he had lied to me about. I was so confused, begging him to just talk about it later. “We are in the middle of a photo shoot!” He proceeds to tell me it can’t wait and that he wasn’t honest about where he had been over the past few months. When he told me he was out with his mom, he had actually been shopping for wedding rings, and when he was at lunch with his boss, he was actually at lunch with my dad asking him for his blessing. Next thing I know, he is down on one knee with the most incredible ring I had ever seen (we had never talked about an engagement or looked at rings, and he did WELL!) He then ask me to make him the happiest man in the world and marry him. Just as I screamed “Yes!,” I look up to see our family and friends standing on the overlook above us. They had been watching the whole thing! It was truly one of my favorite moments.
Eleven months later, I bawled down the aisle to Phil Wickham’s Always Forever to meet the man I would spend the rest of my life with. As I looked into his eyes, and vowed to care, pursue, love, and protect him in good and bad until death do us part, I was overcome with a feeling I had never felt before. I truly felt a glimpse of the beauty of Christ’s love for his church, and I prayed that I could love Ian in that same way.
Most of you would think, “Well that’s a sweet story,” but in reality, that’s not the story. It’s only a chapter in the love story God has written for us. There is more to our story than the lovy dovy part where we met and fell in love. The story continued when Ian and I got home from our honeymoon and were thrown into reality. How we cared for each other when it wasn’t easy. How we learned to give more than we take. How we pursue Jesus before we pursue each other. How we will continue to do this when society tells us something different, and in a lot of cases, already is.
Our journey is part of a greater story that God has chosen to reveal through us. There is a love greater than either of us could offer. It is the love that binds Ian and I together in a different way than society would like, and it’s the love that we pursue before we pursue each other.
Romans 5:8 tells us that while we were still sinners, Jesus died for us. The ultimate sacrifice in laying down His life for something unworthy of His love. It’s unreal. As Ian and I continue to live out our love story, we only hope that God will reveal to others a greater love. That they would see that we have something different not by our own merit, but by the understanding that we were given grace and love when we didn’t deserve it.
Two years after that moment where we both said, “I do,” I feel more love for Ian than I ever have before. I learn every day what selfless love is, and how Ian’s heart for the Lord makes me want to be a better person.
Happy Anniversary Love!