Once up a time, in a galaxy far, far away…oh wait, I got distracted for a minute.
The story of us. Guess I’ll start at the beginning.
“Us” had quite the interesting start, for sure. Danielle and I were acquaintances in college for probably a year or so before we got together. We both attended at various times Campus Crusade for Christ and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In the fall semester of 2002 things were not going well with my current girlfriend. As Danielle mentioned in her post, we started chatting on IM shortly before Theresa and I broke up.
I won’t get into all the details of what happened after the break up, but looking back on it now, it was probably preparation for some other hard “break ups” (with churches, friends, etc.) that we’ve gone through in our married life, but those are stories for another day.
Danielle and I began dating not long after Theresa and I broke up. I totally (or totes, if you prefer) invited myself over to Danielle’s brother’s (Derek’s) soccer game during the middle of the week, and my mom kinda flipped out on me a bit. I mentioned I was going with a friend and that the friend was a girl. I definitely got the, “Jared – what are you thinking?!?!?” from Mom on that one for sure.
I was pretty nervous as I sat in the car in Troy waiting for any sign of Danielle and her sister. And then meeting the parents. You never know how that’s gonna go, but we hit it off from the get go. I think her dad (Will) had me at “Mountain Dew” and “video games”.
I could just say the rest from there is history, but what fun would that be?
I continued to follow Danielle around like a love sick puppy dog, from that point on.
I guess I should back up and mention that Danielle always had this “mysterious” vibe to her. She wore tall boots (sometimes) and darkish clothes, and was super confident. No, she wasn’t dressed like Trinity from The Matrix, but there was definitely something more to her, I just wasn’t sure what that something was.
I’ll never forget the night she spoke at, I believe, Campus Crusades. I couldn’t tell you what all she said, but I remember it made a huge impact on me and was sort of the spark of the “hey, there might be something MORE to this girl” for me.
Also, Danielle mentioned she came to borrow some movies from me. That’s true. What she failed to mention is that she basically threw herself in front of me (the movies were on the shelf above my desk) while I was working (or probably playing) on my laptop. Totally innocent, I’m sure, but I just figured I’d throw that in there.
From then on, Danielle and I were pretty much inseparable, which was good, because a lot of friendships were lost or severely strained for a while, so it was pretty much “us against the world.”
I proposed almost a year to the day we started dating, and we were married a few months later (GREAT stories for another post).
And now, here we are, almost 8 years of marriage later. I won’t rehash everything we’ve been through as a couple, but I feel like we’ve seen ALOT, especially for the (relatively) short amount of time we’ve been together. From day 1 we determined that the “D” word was NEVER on the table, and I’m so glad we did that. There were moments when throwing in the towel would have been super easy, but my life WOULD NOT be the same without Danielle, and that would be awful.
Even after almost 8 years of living together, it’s still hard work. Even on the little things. Sometimes (a lot of times) I forget the mundane stuff (where shoes SHOULD go, trash, you name it), and I know it drives Danielle crazy to no end. Sometimes she wants stuff done RIGHT NOW, when, in truth, it can wait a bit (even if she’ll tell you otherwise ) Sometimes I just need my space (probably since I’m an only child), and Danielle wants to be together all the time (probably something to do with coming from a bigger family).
We both have our quirks and things that drive each other absolutely bananas, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Adjusting to life with a baby has been HARD. There’s no two ways around it. Unfortunately for all of us, I spent about the first third of Fity’s first year fighting severe anxiety and depression (yet another post for another day), and while I was “there” I was pretty much checked out for that time, and that really sucks. I know already it’s been used for a greater purpose, but I wish that hadn’t been the case. I’m working on learning how to be a good dad, how to play and interact (I’ve never been a huge small children fan), learning to help out, learning to adjust to it being “the three of us” instead of “the two of us” and so many other things. But, again, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Danielle mentioned we’ll cover the gamut of topics on this blog. Some you will identify with. Some you won’t. I’m sure there will be times you disagree. Please keep reading anyway. And please give your feedback. The blog will be better for it, and we will all be better for it as well. We’ll step on some toes, but that’s ok too.
So, there we are. That, in a nutshell, is the story of us.
Might as well start at the beginning right?
Jared and I met early on in college. We both attended the Christian groups on campus. Jared had a girlfriend and we didn’t really hang out with the same “crowd”. In September of 2002 we had a camp out at his parents property – FCA and CCC together. We didn’t talk much during that trip but I remember taking a picture of him!
At the end of the camp out – Jared and his cousin Cody needed a ride back to campus – and I had two seats in my explorer. It was one of the first times we ever really talked. But I still didn’t think anything of it. You see – Jared had a girlfriend – of two years-ish. And I liked another guy and was just waiting for him to “like” me back. Jared wasn’t on my radar or in my plan. AT ALL. Later that week – this friend and I were hanging out and I noticed he was talking to Jared on IM (oh IM) – I thought that maybe Jared would have some movies I could borrow – so I told him to tell Jared I was running up to get some. I borrowed LOTR – Jurassic Park – Gladiator – among other typical “guy” movies.
I got his IM name and we started talking. STILL NO ULTERIOR motives on my part – pretty much just to return his movies. We got talking and he said something about fighting with his girlfriend. I asked him where their relationship stood. Do you love her? Yes. Are you planning on marrying her? He said – well – I guess. I said – YOU GUESS? It’s either YES or NO and if it’s a NO – why on earth are you still dating after 2 years – that’s not fair to anyone – YOU or HER? They were fighting or something – having issues and I encouraged him to get them taken care of and figure out what he was doing.
Fast forward a week or two. We had been talking over IM and emailing – he had broken up with his girlfriend. (I’m gonna leave out the DRAMA that ensued. I am sure you can imagine. Feelings were hurt – things were assumed – we didn’t handle it like we should have – and Theresa – if you are reading this – I know it’s 10 years later but I am SO SORRY for the heartache and hurt you experienced – I’ll be writing about my own jealousy issues and I was thinking of you and what you must have went through – and I’m so sorry.) (It does make me happy to know that Theresa is happily married to her love and expecting their first baby soon! And I know that because I read her blog!) ANYWAY – Jared asked to come to my brother’s soccer game with me. He met my family that night. We went to the movies. I was SO confused. I really really liked him but I really really liked this other guy. I called my mom and asked her what I should do. Should I pursue this “thing” with Jared. She said something that changed the course of my life. She said – Danielle – you’ve been waiting for two years for this guy to “like” you back. If you miss out on this chance with Jared you might be missing out on the rest of your life! So I took a chance. But I told Jared – listen – I still have feelings for this other guy. This might be weird. He was awesome. Jared will tell you that he knew within the month that he was going to marry me. It took me quite a bit longer. We were engaged on our year anniversary and married eight months later. We just knew.
Jared isn’t what I expected AT ALL. He isn’t what I was looking for at all. He is exactly what God knew I needed. He excels where I fail. He is strong where I am weak. And vice versa. We are so good for each other – and God knew that – but I didn’t. Jared challenges me and I him. He is the only child while I am the oldest of three. He is ALWAYS right. I am ALWAYS right. He loves me but he loves Jesus more. He encourages me.
Jared’s love languages are words of praise and encouragement – mine are time and service. I suck at his and he equally sucks at mine. We are trying though – especially lately! It’s hard work. I don’t think I should have to thank him for taking out the garbage EVERY week – going to work to provide for us EVERY day – for loving me ALL the time. I don’t need those so I’m not as sensitive to the fact that he does. He doesn’t get that doing things like remembering to take out the garbage or picking up his shoes are things that show his love (respect) to me. I was at a MOPS meeting recently where the speaker talked about the continuous cycle of (no) love – (no) respect. Men crave respect over love – women crave love over respect. So when I respond to Jared with no respect he then responds to me unlovingly and I continue to respond to him disrespectfully and so on and so on. But when he responds to me in love – I in turn respond to him in respect and we can continue that cycle.
I also tend to throw around words like ALWAYS and NEVER. You ALWAYS forget to move your shoes. You NEVER fill the car when you return it. Why do you do this EVERY time! Disrespectful. Automatically it puts Jared on the defensive and he doesn’t want to talk to me or even be near me – which is what I need – time and service. But I’m not giving him what he needs – words of encouragement and respect.
Here’s the thing – I have a certain way that I want things done – and most of the time I don’t understand why it’s SO hard for him to figure out those ways. If he would just adjust to MY procedures – life would be SO much easier. But here’s the thing – if it gets done – does it matter how? In grade school – my sister learned her times 8 multiplication on her fingers – and I never understood why she counted on her fingers to get the answer. I just knew it in my head. Did it matter? We both got the same – RIGHT – answer. But it mattered to me. DUMB – I KNOW. I’m a control freak – as you will find out. I’ve gotten much better and am trying every day to give up little bits more. This doesn’t just affect my marriage and my relationships with almost everyone but also my relationship with God. He is in control of my life – right – RIGHT? Oh – I don’t know – I like to pretend He is – but I’m holding onto SO many things.
So – we will be addressing the issues – control – being unloving and disrespectful – practicing love and respect – communication – self esteem – living a happy life with a healthy marriage in a sinful world – love is patient love is kind – trust – criticism – being a better mom than a wife – being a better husband than a father – miscarriages – life as we know it (with a baby) – jealousy – forgetfulness – i don’t know (it’s NOT an answer) – men and their nothing box – time together and time alone – praying – being equally yolked – knowing what your vows REALLY mean – putting Jesus at the CENTER of your marriage – forgiveness (seventy times seven – times seven hundred) – dealing with anxiety and OCD and depression and chronic pain – and yes even sex (mom and dad might want to NOT read those ones – although we promise to not get into details) – and so many more …