Wednesday, March 4, 2009

3 Years and Counting!

If you're joining me today, be prepared for a long post. I can't let the day go by without sharing about the best gift God ever gave to me, second only to my salvation. Three years ago today I was all twitterpaited and anxious, hoping for no rain and praying that my dad wouldn't embarrass me at the altar.

What a happy and holy fashion it is that those who love one another should rest on the same pillow. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

I met Russ 15 years ago at a Phi Delt date party, a camping date party no less. He was there with a pledge sister of mine. He seemed nice. His date broke her leg whilst at said party. He was quite the gentleman, making sure she got to a doctor to get a cast on and then bringing beers to the tent where she continued to stay and drink. (Oh, Texas Tech.) Russ was a good guy at Tech. I'd see him occasionally: "hi!" That was about it. (Isn't it interesting to think back on the beginnings of what would someday become the most important relationships to you?)

Several years later I looked the best I'd looked on the outside: tan and thin. We ran into each other at a bar in Deep Ellum. Russ tells me he wondered then if he should ask me out. For whatever reason it didn't happen. That was a blessing - because though I might have looked good, I was a wreck inside: depressed, anxious, suicidal, keeping it all together for the watching world.

In 2003 I began seminary and my counseling degree while Russ was well into law school at SMU. We got reacquainted and began to spend a lot of time together. (A swift thank you to Michael Aars here.) We really became friends. He was someone who I thought about setting others up with - but never did. He got into a serious relationship while I continued to pine for guys who weren't interested in me. We both suffered from a bad case of romance addiction and unrealistic expectations - the plight of those who believe what the movies tell you.

By spring of 2004 Russ had gotten out of his serious relationship, I had spent enough time in counseling and recovery to know I wasn't any good at choosing a mate for myself. We had a conversation while at a Country and Western dance hall. I was doing my typical "I flirt with my guy friends to get attention while clinging to the safety of simply being a tease." Russ brought me a beer and I said something like, "now, why haven't we ever dated?" And then God smiled. Russ began his best lawyer's argument about why that truly was a good idea and proceeded to share that he was interested in me. GULP. I didn't like not being in control of this conversation. I tried to shut that kind of talk down and suggested we just dance. But damn if he wasn't the best dancer. I will never forget that I cried on the car ride home because I felt angry with God for springing that entire night on me. I was so confused.

And hey! It only took about 8 more months of that kind of back and forth for us to get together! Bless him, Russ exhibited true faith during those months. I tried to cling to my own spiritual pride: but! He's Presbyterian! He didn't do Young Life or Kanakuk! He doesn't play guitar or lead worship! He's gonna be a lawyer! My, how patient God was with me during that time. He gently showed me that those things were all just THINGS and hadn't I sworn to Him years before that I was trusting Him to show me who my husband would be? Miraculously, and not without quite a bit of struggle, sin, and pain, we finally began dating in December of '04. We knew then that we would marry each other.

We never really had that honeymoon period that people talk about in dating and marriage. From the very beginning Russ and I were always talking things out, negotiating our hearts with each other. We can both be very intense. Our fights were painful. We'd never really gone the distance with other relationships we'd had. Certain well-meaning friends told us, "maybe it shouldn't be this hard." But we knew we were supposed to be together. We had to work hard, even in dating. We had to pull back from our social network to avoid running into exes and all the insecurities of our single lives.

We had to be around people who had more "seniority" in relationships, who had fought and learned how to stay together. We needed to talk with folks who would tell us, honestly, about their hardships and then give us hope! We went on a wonderful trip to Colorado with Jonah & Ruthie Werner and we all just talked about our junk. It was so refreshing and so confirming.

We would later come to realize that it was that kind of marriage that we wanted to model to other people: vulnerability and honesty as a means to encourage. However, the spiritual pride was still present. When one couple, Sarah and Cary Tucker, mentored us through premarital counseling, we clung to something they told us: "You guys really seem to have worked through so much!" We took that to mean: We rock. We're gonna hit this marriage thing outta the park!

Wellll, we didn't quite do that. The first year was HARD! Russ was traveling constantly with work, and wondering all along, "do I really want to do this for the rest of my life?" I was still doing my own thing, graduating from seminary and working on acquiring hours for licensure. We were living life with the focus on ourselves. We really didn't know that it was death to self that God was calling us to...We had to learn how to become one. No small task, by the way.

Love seems the swiftest but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century. ~Mark Twain

Nothing will put both a strain and a bond on your marriage like a baby. I remember being awake at 2am in the hospital the night after Davy's birth and feeling such an overwhelming love for the guy asleep there on the chair next to my bed. At that moment, I could not have been more grateful to Jesus for choosing him for me. God knew what was to come for my life, and for Russell's, and He waited for the perfect moment to reveal it to us. God is so faithful in romance: He is the Author of it, the Sustainer of it, and the Perfecter of all it is meant to do for us.

Russ, I am so, so thankful for you. I can't even write this without the tears coming. I truly love you more today than I did on that day 3 years ago. Thank you for staying committed to me, this mess of a person. Thank you for being such a good father, provider, friend and husband. I am your biggest fan. No one loves you like I do, baby.

12 comments:

Mike and Jess said...

What a sweet, sweet post Becky.

I loved your line about wanting vulnerability and honesty to encourage others in marriage...it is so refreshing to hear that y'all have struggled to make it work sometimes, and that you have fought hard to become (and continue to become) one. It reminds me so much of what Mike and I have fought for too, and how worth it that battle is. Thank you for sharing this, I take much from it today.

Katy said...

Happy Anniversary! What a wonderful day to celebrate how God has worked in both your lives to bring you together. So many obstacles, so much pride, but most of all, two hearts that desired God and His will.

I love you both so much and am so thankful to have shared in this journey with you and that amazing day three years ago.

lindsay said...

LOVE YA!
THE BOTH OF YA!

mel said...

that was so fun to read! thanks for sharing such a fun story & journey!

happy anniversary! may God continue to bless your marriage in the years ahead!

p.s. Presbyterians aren't that bad, are we? :)

Noelle said...

Oh Beck, a tear might have glistened in my eye when I read this. I'm so glad I was there to witness the development of this relationship. I even remember being at said Country and Western Bar watching the internal struggle! My, what 6 years will do.

Love you both!
Noelle

J. Page said...

Hard to believe it has already been 3 years! Loved this wonderful post of your love journey...a great testimony. Sutton and I are so thankful for you both. You are a blessing to our life! Hope you are having a wonderful day celebrating today and we can't wait to celebrate with you in person in a few weeks. Love to you both and sweet Davy.

Beck said...

Let me just clarify that I LOVE the Presbys! I just didn't know much about the denomination until Russ and seminary...no harm, no foul? Hugs to all my Presby friends & family!

life with the wisners said...

oh bm. i love, love, love this post.

so fun to be there on this day to watch you two become one. you looked radiant.

and i love your transparency. it's beautiful. it's refreshing. it's contagious.

thanks for being open and honest. boy, that russ-kid is one blessed man.

mel said...

no worries becky :) I was just giving you a hard time about Presbyterians...I think I was one of the only Presby's on Kanakuk staff. LOL.

dianeroutson said...

Happy Anniversary, Bec and Russ. Although I didn't meet Russ until the wedding, I liked him immediately. I knew he'd be a good husband in every sense of the word. Reading your post brought tears to my eyes, and I'm so happy I was in Texas on your wedding day. Love to you both.

Davidson's Diary said...

You two are truly meant for each other! Great story, fun to go down memory lane!! Love Chels

The Mitchells said...

ah, honesty...you can dish it and you can take it...I love your marriage, and I love your love for your Lord and family.