I have been happily married for almost 4 years. Not saying we haven’t had ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change any of it. It’s all part of growing together. Here is the story of how we met and began dating.
My family had started attending a church in the area around my sophomore year of high school. I was heavily involved in the youth ministry. I went on every retreat, made sure I was enthusiastically involved in the biblical discussions, and began to fall in love with God. I accredited my newly found love of God to the wonderful teachings of our youth pastor, Thomas.
Thomas had a different way of teaching the bible. When I joined the youth group, they were attempting to read through the bible that year. I had read parts of the bible at this point, but it wasn’t the in-depth, try to understand what I am reading way. I would literally read verses and immediately forget what I read. I knew basic stories from the bible, Adam and Eve, the flood, Jesus’s death, but I didn’t retain any new information from the bible or even study it properly as I read.
Thomas opened my eyes to many things I didn’t know were in the bible. Example: Ehud and Eglon. Ehud was a left-handed judge of Israel and Eglon was the fat king of Moab who had gained power over Israel. Long story short, Ehud killed Eglon and Eglon released his bowels as he died. Eglon was so fat that Ehud’s sword buried deep inside Eglon and his fat covered it up! (If you want to read this for yourself, Judges 3:12-30, it’s a great story).
I became heavily involved in the youth group. I wouldn’t miss a night and invited everyone I knew. When there was a trip, I did everything I could to raise the money to go. I loved the youth group and I love Thomas’s way of teaching. I made a ton of new friends and I began to focus on God instead of finding a boyfriend or becoming popular. It was the highlight of my teenage years.
Sometime at the beginning of my senior year of high school, Thomas left the church. We went through a few youth pastors all pretty great in their own way, but the one that stuck around just happened to be the most arrogant person I had met in my life, Zak.
To be completely honest, I didn’t like Zak when we first met. He was argumentative, arrogant, and rude. He would pick fights just to argue (mostly with my mom) he was never wrong in his eyes, and he would interrupt conversations to yell or burp in you ear. So naturally we became friends.
Our friendship grew out of a need. In our church, during your senior year of high school you could join the college group. Zak and I both started attending around the same time and lived in the same little town that was about 20 minutes from the church. I don’t remember the exact details but somehow we began riding to church together, but only for college group nights and college group activities. Through our rides to and from church we became good friends.
Senior prom time came and I couldn’t find a date. I didn’t have many guy friends to ask and I didn’t want to go to senior prom alone or with a bunch of friends. My mom suggested I ask Zak so I did. I won’t go into all the details of how he made sure it was ok with the church and his sister (she was a junior and he didn’t want to intrude on her prom) but he said he would take me.
Prom came and Zak was a perfect gentleman. He bought a corsage, opened doors, paid for dinner, and made the whole night an unforgettable one. We wore our Converses instead of dress shoes, went bowling in formal wear and acted like best friends do.
When the night ended he dropped me off and told me goodnight. I think that was when I really started to think of him as more than that annoying boy who wouldn’t let an argument go.
As the school year came to a close, I started to see Zak in a new light. I began to pray. Day after day I would ask God if I was supposed to date Zak. I kept asking God and kept getting the same answer; yes. I was so scared to date him though; what if he broke my heart?
I remember driving to school one day praying and my prayer changed from should I date Zak to was Zak the man God had picked out for me to marry. Almost instantly God told me he was my future husband. I won’t lie, hearing God like that so quickly scared me, but I knew that I needed to talk with Zak.
Zak was driving me home one night from church and I finally worked up the courage to tell him what God had told me. In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have stated “God says we are going to be married.” The conversation ended with me in tears. Zak said he wasn’t going to date me, that he wasn’t in a place to date. He broke my heart anyway.
I spent the next few weeks praying to God about what had happened, asking Him again and again if I was supposed to marry Zak, and He kept saying “Yes, yes, a thousand times YES!” I didn’t understand why God would tell me that knowing Zak didn’t want to date.
I began to distance myself from Zak. I drove myself or ride with my brother, Dave, to church and didn’t hangout with Zak as I had before. Around May we had a college group get together at the lake. It was the first time I had done anything fun with Zak since we had our talk. He was acting as his old self, joking around, tickling me, trying to throw me in the water. I finally took him aside and told him that he needed to stop. The flirting, touching, all of it. If he wasn’t going to date me then he shouldn’t flirt with me. My heart broke again as I told him, not only because it hurt me to lose him but because I could see the hurt in his eyes as well.
I went away shortly after that for a summer trip, I don’t remember where, but when I came back Zak asked if we could hangout. Honestly, I missed him, more than I had missed anyone before so I agreed to hangout.
We ended up seeing a movie, Wall-E, which is one of my favorite movies to this day. Not because it made me think about how humans are ruining earth or anything like that. No, I love Wall-E because it was the last movie I saw as a single girl. Sometime during the film we started holding hands.
After the movie Zak drove me home and we sat in my driveway in his beat up 1993 Honda that had no AC, talking. We were holding hands in the car too and then I remember the family dog, Dutch, coming to the car. Zak brought him into the car and all I could think was, “Go away so we can get back to holding hands.”
I won’t go into the fine details, mostly because Zak and I fight over who kissed who first, but we ended up kissing and from that night on we were togethe. God brought him to me, no doubt and I would have it no other way.