Life Before the Ring

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Everyone has a story about themselves that makes them unique. This story sets them apart from the rest and makes them who they are. Being recently engaged, I like to think about how we came to this point.

It all started on a morning at Wynne High School. My best friend's boyfriend introduced me to his new missionary friend, Gabe. If you ask Gabe, he could not tell you anything about the day that we first met. I guess I wasn't very memorable! 

At the time, I was actually dating somebody. It was a freshman relationship, so we honestly hardly hung out at all. At any rate, I had a boyfriend, but my best friend, her boyfriend, Gabriel, and I began hanging out a little and becoming really good friends.

The four of us laughed together and made a lot of memories.

Then, my boyfriend and I broke up and suddenly Gabriel was even more interested in hanging out with me. I guess you could say he had a bit of a crush.

I, on the other hand, was not ready for a new relationship. I couldn't see Gabe as much more than a best friend. So we continued to hang out until Gabe started making moves.

We held hands a bit. Sent some texts, and I have to admit that I led him on a little....or a lot! Our friendship went on this way all the way up to Valentine's Eve...... The night it all came crashing down.

For some reason, it just clicked in my head that night that I was not interested in a relationship with Gabriel anytime soon and that it was not fair for me to continue leading him on. So that night, I not-so-gently pushed Gabe away and made it clear that I just wanted to be friends.

Gabriel, however, informed me that we could no longer be friends the way we were before. We needed to move on and avoid each other for a while.

So we did just that. I didn't see much of him for about a month. Then, one night after church, the four of us hung out once again. I really cannot explain the way my feelings had changed for Gabe in just a mere month. Suddenly, I was extremely drawn to him. Our personalities just clicked perfectly, and I realized that I had deeply missed our friendship.

.....And the rest is history!

We continued dating for the next two months, but then we were thrown a curve ball. His family was about to pack up and move back to Asia where they served as missionaries. We were faced with a lot of complicated questions during this time. How long until we see each other again? Will we date anybody else?

A couple of weeks before he left, we decided to try dating long distance. Over the next two years, we Skyped, text, and sent airmail. I was always dying to get that next package or that next call. Sometimes it would be a week or two between calls or Skype dates, but we did it!

Gabe has been back in the states now for almost a year and a half, and of course, now we are engaged.

Dating long distance for two years is the biggest test for a relationship. It really brings out how dedicated the couple is and how truthful they are. Being apart was a lot more than just not cheating on each other. We constantly thought about whether what we did in each other's absence was truly honoring to each other. I didn't want to be put in any situation that would be embarrassing for Gabe to find out about.

In the end, I wouldn't trade a thing about our story. We learned so much about honoring one another and trusting one another through that time. Our relationship was definitely worth the wait! This is only the beginning of the story that God is writing for us. My prayer is that we would constantly be growing closer to the Lord and closer to each other through each season of our lives.

What is THAT??!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

What is that magnificent, shiny, antique, and precious thing on my left hand? Why it is nothing less than a token of one sweet boy's affection. That's right, I will soon be a "Mrs."

Words cannot explain the excitement that overcomes me when I imagine marrying my absolute BEST friend! He is everything I could possibly ask for and more. 

So now for the story of how he proposed.

I was lucky enough to be a Senior model for the talent photographers, Matt and Michelle Little. I referred few friends to them, and in return I received a best friend photo shoot. I decided to take Gabriel and get some good pictures together. We dressed up and hit the road. In my mind, we were just going to get some good pictures of the two of us, but Gabriel had something different in mind. 

Just look how clueless I was.

Gabe was acting a little nervous, but to me that was normal. I always get very nervous for photo shoots. Then all of a sudden, he takes that position that so many men have.

How can a person even describe this moment? It is completely impossible for anyone to look at this photo or to hear our story and truly understand how much this means to Gabriel and I. 

People often comment or allude to how young we both are. To be honest, I have no idea why this should even concern us. To be absolutely certain that you want to spend the rest of your life with a person is a feeling that is undeniable. Once you know, you know. I don't know of any married couple in love who wouldn't want a few extra years with their spouse, so why not start our life together now?

It sure is going to be a great one.

"Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken."
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

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