|...or a cheesy mug with a trophy on it. :)|
Last Thursday was my six-month wedding anniversary. And although six months may not seem like a long time, I wanted to take the time to expound upon how amazing my husband is. These six months have most likely felt like six years for him.
Only one year ago, he and I met at a single adult church activity. He was less than enthusiastic about attending, and I showed up as a last-ditch effort to turn a disastrous relationship history into something good (the clock was not on my side...biological, or any other kind). And yet, somehow, the timing was perfect. We crossed paths at the end of what would have otherwise been a less-than-inspiring speed dating activity, and the rest was history.
But wait, there's more. The thing that made my husband a man wise and capable beyond his then 25 years was his maturity in giving me a chance. Sure, I wasn't completely unfortunate to look at (I was enjoying the smallest dress size of my post-pubescent life), and that scored me a first glance and a first activity invitation. He invited me to listen to him play/sing a solo gig he did now and then at his apartment. After much deliberation on my part (I was 29, divorced, and had a three-year-old...I wasn't exactly in my element hanging out with singles in their early or even mid-20s) I decided to make an appearance.
There were dozens of other girls lining the perimeter of the apartment, gazing at Nate with stars in their eyes (or I guess they could have been dollar signs...he had just finished his first year of law school at BYU). And throughout the course of the evening, as he serenaded the audience, I was gradually lulled under a lovely spell that wouldn't be broken. I was hooked, I was petrified, and in that moment I was especially mortified. I liked him. A lot. He was handsome, talented, smart, and funny. A glance around the room confirmed that I wasn't alone in my sentiments. I immediately felt out of place. What was I doing there? What was I thinking? Why would someone like him ever be interested in dating someone like me? He could choose to be with any of a million girls. Girls without baggage.
After he finished playing, he paid me a fair amount of personal attention, but sort of ushered everyone out of his place a little early (he explained this later...he had a lot going on and was exhausted). My friend Natalie had been kind enough to tag along with me so I didn't have to brave the unknown alone. She let me vent and analyze the whole situation till there really wasn't much else to say. I felt foolish. Why in the world would I think someone four years younger than I was, in such a different place in life, be interested in dating me? It was settled. I would not be venturing into the world of younger men. Ever. Again. I was certain I would be limited to older divorced men, with children—you know, people like me. The feeling followed me like a rain cloud the rest of the weekend. I felt silly and just plain stupid. Looking back now, I know it was a very adversarial feeling. Something—or someone—didn't want me to feel loveable or confident enough to be with someone great—wanted me to feel that I didn't deserve to be happy.
And so, I was completely floored to get a phone call from Nate the next day. He wanted to take me to dinner. And here's the best part—one of the realities of living in the digital age is the easy access to information, including information about people. I had a Facebook page, I had a blog, therefore I opened myself up for investigation. And so he knew. He always knew who I was and what my life consisted of. Sure, it took him a few dates to get used to the idea. Heck, it took me a few dates to feel comfortable opening up (I actually didn't tell him about my divorce or Halle until our fourth or fifth date). But he always knew. I didn't know he knew (that's another story), but nothing deterred him from at first focusing on just me. At 25 he was willing to put aside everything that haunted my past and complicated my present and give me a chance. And for that I will be forever grateful.
Don't get me wrong, I overlooked a few missteps on his part (the story of our first date, although hilarious, will be saved for another post). But in the months that followed, he drove from Provo to Bountiful 3-5 times a week just to spend a few hours with me. He made room in his heart for a three-year-old girl who fell in love with him as quickly as I did and who needed him in her life desperately. He helped me move to Provo and let me vent about the challenges of starting a brand new job. He married me in the temple and gave me the most incredible in-laws a girl could ever ask for. And he continues to weather the raging storms of hormones that have accompanied a very difficult pregnancy. And it's only been one year since we met—six months since we made it official. He is the most wonderful, patient, loving, Christlike man I know. I'm so lucky to get to celebrate an endless number of anniversaries with him.
And just as an endnote: I hope anyone reading our story feels hope. I hope you know that anything is possible. Great things happen when you least expect it. Our little family is living proof.