Friday, November 23, 2012

4 happy years

4 years ago yesterday Paul asked me out. 

Well actually he asked if I thought we could ever be more than friends and, thankfully, I did  think so. 

To me that date is almost more significant than our wedding date. By the time the wedding happened we were already a couple. I loved our wedding and being married really matters to me, but the amount of life change that happened when we started dating was bigger than when we got married because relationships change us, and they change our plans. 4 years ago by deciding to date Paul the course of my life was altered. Now I assume this is all in God's plan, but to me this lead to a big shift. 

My life pre-Paul was great. It was full. It was missional. It was fun. It was a great life. 
My life with Paul is also great. It is full. It is missional. It is fun. It is a great life. 
It just looks a bit different.

I was now part of a "we", no longer just an "I".
Though Paul had been my best friend for a while he was now my someone special. 
I now had guaranteed moving and oil change help. 
I now had someone special to spoil with food and affection. 

I see how God uses my husband to help me love and serve others to a fuller extent. 
I see how God uses me as part of a couple to minister to others. 
I see how God uses Paul to help me become gentler, softer, more loving and more gracious to others. 
God has given me a loving husband and that gift has changed me. 

When Paul and I started dating I heard very clearly from God that He has given me a husband that would show me how God felt about me. 
That every time Paul told me he loved me God loved me even more. 
That for every action of love and affection Paul offered, God would do even more. 
He used a man to help me understand in deeper and new ways how great His love is for me. 
He used a relationship (and many others) to help me learn even more what security in Him looks like. 

Since we have been married people often say to me, "Marriage suits you". They comment on how confident I am; how much more secure I am. I always want it to be known that while, in fact, marriage does suit me, it's not because Paul is so awesome (he is though) but because God is using our relationship to teach me things about Himself and about me. In a God-centered marriage there is freedom to be vulnerable and honest about every aspect of life and self and watch God move in those places. On top of that God has given me a husband that listens and cares and who had dedicated himself to seeing me be all that God has intended for me to be. 

In the face of the love of God and the people He has put in my life to love me how can I respond with anything other than love for others? I get the joy of loving Paul well. He is easily pleased, so this isn't always too hard but oh, it's fun to treat him with the love and respect God would ask of me. Hard sometimes too, but mostly fun.

So it has been 4 years since we started our relationship. He asked me out November 22nd, 2008. We got engaged August 21st, 2009 and we got married May 1st, 2010. 

In that time we have travelled to 20 states and 2 provinces, played countless rounds of Settlers of Catan, gone through 4 vehicles, lived in 1 house together and 4 houses apart, dealt with 5 combined months of unemployment, lived through 1 back surgery, gone through Kingdom Life Ministry School 2008 and School of Ministry 2012, been made Deacon's and Lifegroup Leaders, watched each weekly SNL since we have gotten married, and we have fallen more and more in love each year. 

We have also changed.
When we met I hated Zucchini, Spinach and Squash.
Now I love all three and cook with them all the time!
When we met Paul dressed like a lumberjack.
Now he dresses like he lives in the city.
When we met I could cream Paul at Settlers of Catan, now I don't have a hope in the world of beating him. 

Paul in flannel, plaid and Kirkland jeans. 
It's his country look now, but used to be his daily look circa 2008

Also when we started to date I had brown hair, then black hair, then orange hair and finally my current natural blonde-ish state. 
When we started to date Paul had just a goatee thing, and now has a chin strap. Wow, those both sound gross written out. I swear he looks good.

1. One month into dating visiting Heather & Mark Foster in Washington.
2. One month into dating in my backyard as Jonathan and Mark built a giant snow ramp off the garage.
3. First new years together just over a month into dating.
4. 6 months into dating at Loreili and Jesse's wedding. 

See the change? Look at us now!

1. June 1st @ Louanne & Steve's wedding in Portland, OR
2. June 16th @ Centennial Park for Swing Dancing in Nashville, TN
3. July 14th @ Carnton House w. Lance and Becky Boer in Franklin, TN

And lastly....this is us now:

I quite like this man of mine.
P. Morgan - lover of history.
Hater of photographs.
I tell you, the energy it takes to get him to pose for these photos is extreme.


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