Growing Deeper into God's Design

Growing Deeper Together – An Anniversary Story

"I'd never marry again, unless it was to my best friend," I said.

It’s been eight years since our wedding day–a sunny and warm September day. A few high puffy clouds slowly danced across the sky, a few colored leaves, dotted among the green, still clung to their branches, and a double wooden swing hung from the limb of a tall oak tree.

white birch chuppah, I thought I would never marry again

He spent the morning working on the edge of a small lake, assembling the chuppah he had built for me from the most perfect white birch trees he could source. Others were setting up chairs and flowers. He took charge of the decorations, making sure everything was exactly to my specifications.

White lights were strung inside the dark wooden pavilion. Lanterns with candles, roses, and sunflowers adorned the tables, and the getaway canoe floated, tied up, at the edge of the lake… I was the idea girl. He fulfilled my imaginings.

We’ve had four kids together since that day, and we’d already had three between us when we married. And not much has changed in the way of my lightning speed idea generation and his desire to fulfill my imaginings.

But so much has changed in almost every other conceivable way.

We are totally different people than we were when we married, and we often look back and wonder how we continued to grow together and not apart.

The truth is, when we first met, I had absolutely no interest in this man. And I told him so on a regular basis. He was bold, loud, passionate, fiery, and intense. He was so intense, he scared me off within the first moments.

The truth is, when we first met, I had absolutely no interest in this man. And I told him so on a regular basis. He was bold, loud, passionate, fiery, and intense. He was so intense, he scared me off within the first moments.

growing deeply together an anniversary storyWe met online, and while I don’t necessarily encourage others to take the same road, it worked for us. But it wasn’t the dating service that led us to each other, ultimately. It was God. It had to be.

Our first conversation, this charmer asked me if I could clean a house. I almost hung up on him. Instead, I told him to get a maid and gave him huge amounts of attitude thereafter in my best attempt to scare him off. Later in the conversation, he asked me if he could pray for me. I coarsely replied, “whatever floats your boat,” and hung up as fast as I could, relieved that I would never hear from him again.

The following day, he sent me a message.

Really?!

I’d pulled out all the stops. Really. I did everything I could dream of to scare this guy off. Then daily I would remind him I had no interest in him. And he would always reassure me that he just wanted a friend.

Who me?

I was not even remotely friendly! I was harsh, blunt, rude and as scary as I could be. And he just kept on–insisting he wanted to be my friend.

My friend, he was. Trials came and this man kept being a friend to me. I kept pushing him away, and he kept coming back. Then one day, while at work, something exciting happened. I don’t remember what it was. I only remember the urgency with which I needed to share my joy…with him.

And then it hit me. Like a boulder hitting me in my chest. This guy was my best friend. My mouth fell open and the blood drained from my face. I knew in that moment that I would marry him. …And I still contended that I didn’t even like him.

And then it hit me–like a boulder punching me in my chest. This guy was my best friend. My mouth fell open and the blood drained from my face. I knew in that moment that I would marry him. …And I still contended that I didn’t even like him.

Moments later on my walk home from work, he rang.

“I was thinking today about what a friend is, and I realized you’re my best friend,” he said.

I almost threw up.

“What are you doing, God?”

We hadn’t even met in person yet. I had only given him my phone number a few weeks earlier. Until I had, in those first months, we only talked on instant messenger. I had barriers.

It wasn’t until weeks later that I finally agreed to meet him in person. We’d arranged a date. This man, who had become my best friend, with whom it had taken many months to even share my phone number, …he asked for a date. And I agreed, but just so I could finally rule him out and get on with my life.

Nine years later, it all seems pretty ridiculous, but I was terrified of all of it.

I’d been through a difficult divorce, a tragic ending to almost eight years of marriage and twelve years together with my college sweetheart that I’d put through medical school, only to have him choose another woman over me when it was all said and done. I’d married a believer, so in the end, my entire belief in marriage was shaken.

 

Then, here came this guy! No matter what I did, no matter what I said, no matter how rude or terrible I was, he was still there. Loving me.

anniversary story, marry my best friend

He’d become my best friend and so, he was God’s answer to my prayer…

“I’ll never marry again,” I’d told God a year or more earlier, “unless he is my best friend.”

But I still didn’t trust. I still wanted to prove the whole thing wrong. I still wanted to be able to walk away, knowing I was just fine on my own. I didn’t want to risk love again… even for my best friend.

Marriage is hard. I knew that then and I know it even more now.

Two imperfect, sinful people joining together to make a life, with challenges compounded by exes and step kids. It’s messy and I like everything so neat and tidy. Nothing is neat and tidy in a marriage, though, and I had to adjust my goals.

Instead of seeking tidy, I’ve learned to seek holy. And when all our differences and challenges, and even our growth, threatens to diverge our paths, we both cling to Jesus, and in the process, we cling to each other.

when things threaten to diverge our paths, we cling to Jesus, and in the process, each other Click To Tweet

The one thing we have learned is that when we align ourselves with Messiah and stick close to him, we, by default, stick close to each other. There is no going our own way, or diverging too much from each other in growth or change when the only change and growth is into Jesus!

Eight years into this crazy life we’ve made, we aren’t without troubles. We aren’t without disputes, bad attitudes, challenges or change, but when we keep our eyes on Jesus, we literally look past each other’s faults and into Him. When we grow deeper into Him together, we only become stronger.

I can’t say it’s always been easy. There’s been some pretty bad days–days I even questioned God giving me this man.

But no matter how awful I am, no matter my attitudes or how much I push him away, he is still there loving me. He remains my best friend, and a gift from the Lord. So, although everything has changed, nothing really has.

We are just two best friends, growing deeper together.

 

See what I gave him for our anniversary…and get your own too!

3 Comments
  1. Heather says

    This is such a precious story!!!

  2. Read. Cook. Devour. says

    Wow that is a really cool story. Sounds like a faithful man. I’m so thankful that God knows what we need more than we do!

  3. Michelle says

    Oh my goodness love this! My husband and I are about to celebrate 12 years in a couple of days. I agree that I wasn’t about to get married again either unless it was to my best friend. Although, I didn’t say those exact words I know God has been in it from the beginning. Now that we’ve made it on the other side of 4 teenagers in a blended family I can truly say the same, “we are two best friends growing deeper together!”

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