If God is calling you to a vocation that includes marriage, know that He will bring you to your spouse in His time. It is not as important where you meet your spouse as it is to start praying for him or her now. Even when you do not know him yet, he is out there and needs your prayers now.
So hear it goes...
I had moved out on my own for the first time, moving 60 miles away from my mama and papa bear, and I was so stinkin' excited to feel real freedom. Attending college 400 miles away from home (with NO car) does not count as a real freedom. The freedom I'm talking about is more like true independence which happens to include rent, utilities, food, car payment, car insurance, and school loans...but I was my own boss, a teacher, and totally on my own.
I had searched the for rent section of the newspapers, and moving to a college town, I soon found myself renting a town home with three other girls, (they were upper class college students), whom I had never met! We were all so different, but managed to get along except for the one. The one that would eat my hard-earned, meager groceries without my permission got under my skin pretty easily. There's one in every bunch, isn't there?
I was so thrilled and so completely broke, (what can I say, I had been a parochial school teacher), but I was "going to make it" come hell or high water. I was 24 years old, and even though I was madly in love with the notion of "love and marriage," I never seemed to find the same path my sisters and friends before me had found. The path that included a wedding within months of graduating from college. No. I was that perpetual bridesmaid. I'm talking 9 or 10 times (in about three or four years.) And all of those bridesmaids dresses? I donated to my High School drama club! Ha ha!
(In Chicago with old, college friends the night before our friends' wedding. I'm the blond.)
Don't feel bad for me. God just had a different path for me, and I needed to find it. My sisters had the science brains. I had the other type of brain. They were more shy and studious, where I was outgoing and ready to take on the world. They liked one steady beau, I preferred to mix it up a bit, (there were just too many cute ones, for Pete's sake!)
I have to admit, there were some odd beaus, too. I now realize how many years I had taken off of my parents' lives when they saw me come home with a few characters at one time or another. As God is my witness, I have no clue why I threw common sense out the window more times than I'd like to remember.
Maybe it was wanting to "keep up with" my sisters and friends when I thought getting engaged would be the right choice. So when the fella that did propose planted a diamond on my finger, my mom was...ahem...upset to say the least. Her mouth hit the floor, and I think she had a silent heart attack on the spot. I was 20 years old going on 13.
Thank God for guardian angels. Listening to the priest's homily during the wedding mass of a brother, a lightening bolt came out of no where and knocked common sense back in its rightful place. With every word the priest was saying, I was brought to realize just how wrong my "engagement" was. I came out of that wedding ceremony sweating like a mad woman, knowing exactly how close I came to dodging a bullet. Clearly seeing the whole picture at that point, I ended up leaving the wedding reception early with my fiance in order to break it off with him. He didn't take it easily. I, on the other hand, was never so relieved in all my life.
But I regress...
Back to the ripe age of 24. I ended up having the best summer of my life experiencing the tastes of true freedom with only myself to report to. The roomies and I would hang out together, like room mates do, and I had the gym that I joined.
The gym. That's where I first saw David, who appeared to not take much notice in me. That entire summer I longed for the moment when I would go to the gym hoping to catch a glimpse of him, and maybe muster up the courage to say something other than a quick hello. There were days where I'd finish my exercise routine only to realize he was a no show. Sighing, I'd head to the door only to see his car pull up in the parking lot. On a dime, I'd spin my bum around and go have one more work out, hoping he'd finally see me!
I know how pathetic that must sound, but it wasn't all that bad. Even with that silly, untamed, boy craziness of a past, I never ever had the courage to go up to a boy first. Ever. I never knew what to say, and all attempts ended up in complete failure with my face turning bright red and some incoherent words tumbling out of my mouth. Beside, with all of those double work-outs, I was actually in the best shape of my life. Ever!
Desperate times call for desperate measures. It was the end of summer, and being a college town, the students were starting to come back creating a social scene buzz. I was out at a nightclub with one of my room mates one night when I laid my eyes on my dream guy. My heart skipped a beat only to have it completely crash seconds later. For what I saw put me in a state of panic. "My" David was on the dance floor with another girl, and she was a cute girl, and they appeared to be friendly with one another. As in girlfriend and boyfriend friendly. I needed a plan and fast.
I was pretty upset with my inability to "flirt". Waiting all summer to make my "move", only to find with one swift dance, this Jane Doe, took the lead. I needed to clear my head the next day, and even though I knew his work out days never included a weekend, I still went. I was so depressed and mad at my lack of courage.
It had to have been my guardian angel, on a directive from God, who got me to that gym at that moment. You could have knocked me over with a feather when I walked in the gym to find my dream boy there...and no one else. Just the two of us. He saw me, we smiled and exchanged our hello's. I tried to appear confident and poised, but the entire time my hands were sweating like crazy and I could tell I was turning beat red. I hate blushing!
In this perfect storm, I heard my guardian angel whisper, "Do or die time, girl." So I opened my mouth, and at this point I want you to visualize the character Phoebe from the sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and her running abilities. Remember that? Okay. Her physical abilities and my oral abilities paralleled one other. Well, somehow, I found myself in this out-of-body experience. I could hear myself saying something pathetic like, "I saw you dancing last night. You are a good dancer." Ugh! I still slap my hand over my eyes as I relive it. Pass me the puke bucket now, please! I think he smiled nicely, laughed a little (as though he was taken back) and said, "Thanks!" And that was it.
Years later, he told me he thought I was "cute" and "sweet" at the moment and had NO CLUE I was trying to even flirt. Ever. Seriously? I honestly don't remember much after that. I was too traumatized. My quest for David was nil. Finished. Done.
The following weekend, another room mate and I went to the same club. I had convinced myself that whatever chance I had with David was gone. We went out early that night to beat the crowd and found a great seat at the bar. Our dancing queen modes kicked in when one of our favorite songs came on, so we boogied our way out to the dance floor, relaxed and having fun. We had no cares in the world about how Elaine-ish (Elaine, from Seinfeld) we may have looked. Ha ha!
Weaving our way back through a growing crowd, we got to the bar only to find that our seats were taken up by none other than David and a bunch of his friends. My friend and I where stunned. I grabbed her shoulder to steady myself and said, "There is a God!" (Of course I have never doubted that! Ha ha!) Taking a very deep breath, mustering up all the courage and charm I could, I tapped him on the back, and before I could open my mouth, he jumped up and made some comment like, "Oh! We have your seats! Here you go!"
And I never had to speak. He did all the talking. Somewhere in there, I remembered to breathe!
As soon as he gave my seat back, I became engrossed in this amazing conversation with David. He never left my side, stood there talking and laughing with me while I miraculously eased into a mode of total relaxation and confidence. And the hours passed too quickly! We talked about so much.
I found out later that he had a plan. You see, years earlier, he had also been previously engaged, realized the seriousness of that mistake, and called it off. (Lucky me!) Over the course of time, he realized he didn't want to make that mistake again, and was enlightened on what he was looking for in that "one" he would eventually marry. Praise be to God!
David had his act together much sooner than I did. In the course of our conversation, he had realized that I met his three main criteria he had at the top of his "future wife" list. Don't laugh. He was mature and knew what he wanted. I was not at that level yet. In an inconspicuous way, he learned that I was Catholic (a must), that my parents were still married (the sacrament was not to be messed with), and that my political views were similar to his. Seriously. The man knew exactly what he wanted, and it was only through the course of our conversation that I realized, (duh), how important all that was. How lightly I had previously looked at it, even though my parents were fantastic Catholics and modeled the married life in such a wonderful way!
But back to that story...
My friend was ready to leave, (how dare she!) and I wasn't going to be driven home by some "dreamy" stranger :) Even though it would have been nice. He told me about this great air show party that he was having the following day at his house. (His house ran up to the airport property, and he had these great parties each year.) He wanted me to attend. He said it was "safe" since his parents would be there, and I already knew his parents would be perfectly wonderful to meet from the way he described them. And so we parted with me promising that I'd attend his party the next day.
I had never gone to a party by myself. Ever. That was always completely outside my comfort zone. (Unless it was just all girls.) Being caught up in this daring girl moment, emotional high from the night before, I gussied myself up and headed over to his side of town feeling totally liberated and free, and loving my guardian angel! And it turned out better than I had ever expected.
The party was safe and fun, just like he said it would be. I was introduced to his sweet, elderly parents (David is the baby in his family), and they were just like what I had imagined. Even better.
It was during our introduction that things took a huge twist. To this day I think it was God blessing me abundantly since He failed to gift me with the ability to communicate in a flirtatious way. Ha ha! In less than 24 hours, I had gone from thinking that my chance to know David was tossed out with the puke bucket to marriage talk! I kid you not.
It went like this... "Mom and Dad, this is Patty. She is Catholic, comes from a family of 9 kids, her parents are married, and she is conservative. Should I marry her?" He laughed hard, his dad laughed, his mom looked shocked for me and smiled nervously with me (knowing what I was probably thinking) as I turned 8 shades of red. Have I mentioned that I hate blushing?
He was only "partly" joking.
We began to date, and one month later I was yet another bridesmaid, ha ha!
(Another bridesmaid at the wedding of another brother, fall 1994.)
The word soul mate sounds strange to some, I realize that, but I would be less than honest if I told you we weren't. Actually, it would be a total lie. We saw God working in our relationship, clearly and methodically from the beginning. Where I was weak in my faith, David was strong and carried me spiritually. When he fell down, I was there to pick him up. Only through the grace of God did we grow in maturity together, loving and forgiving one another, and always being fans of good communication.
"First comes love, then comes marriage..." you know the old song. Well, seven months later in March, David proposed to me while on his boat fishing together. As you can imagine, I was so incredibly nervous to break the news to my folks being that they saw me go through that years before. But we knew. We knew we were suppose to be together. It wasn't the "in love with love and marriage" notion. Oh my goodness. No. We completely felt God's presence in our relationship.
He had wanted to marry me, but the actual proposal was not actually planned out. His follow up plan, however, was a grand slam! He took me up to a little antique shop that a family friend owned, and together we picked out an antique diamond solitaire.
(Our parents meeting for the first time.)
We were married four months later on a very hot, humid Friday evening in mid-July, (eleven months after we started dating.)
(Exchanging our sacred vows, July 1995.)
(I was the recipient of a whopper, "You may kiss the bride" kiss! )
(The happy couple :)
Our home is inside our hearts. We are completely one. We are soul mates. Life's journey has taken us down so many roads, and even when we fall off the path, we always manage to come back to our faith. Our faith will always be the cornerstone of our marriage. Our faith is strong and steady and welcomes us home.
I read an inspirational quote on Facebook and it hit home ~
"Every time I count by blessings my love for God grows bigger...and every time I count my struggles my faith in God grows stronger!"
I pray for a long life with "my" David, and that our children, if called to a vocation of marriage, will pray for and find their soul mates that God has picked for them.
P.S. The Jane Do dancing with David? She was just that. Nothing more. And that entire summer he didn't think I'd be interested in him. Ugh!
~ Patty ~