My husband Jeff and I lived in the same city, and ran the same streets for a while. I would see him run by with his group of guys and always admired their ability to run early, late, in the cold, the sweltering heat, and sometimes in the sprinkles…but they were just “older” dedicated men. The bald guy was really good looking and the guy with dreads was interesting himself. The group was diverse and dedicated. I saw them pass and we never spoke.
In October of 2010 I was volunteering with a ministry in inner city Knoxville that loved on the homeless community. A pastor who owned a bus would drive around and gather up the homeless, bring them to a church meeting hall and serve them! The ministry offered food, snack packs, a free closet, programs for the children, and a worship service/teaching about God. The pastor loved God and he loved people. He didn’t promote himself but lived out Matthew 25 being a Christ to the “least” people in our city. It was at one of these events I met Jeff. I knew he also worked with a local ministry but had never crossed paths with him. We were introduced and that was that, nothing more! He was “older” and “really good looking” but I don’t know…
Months went by and we never interacted again. He moved back to Ohio and I stopped seeing his running group. That was it until he decided Ohio was not where he would be and he returned to Knoxville. He reached out to me and asked if we could meet for coffee. Ummm, he is kind of old (10 years older than me and I was 22 at the time), but yeah, I love coffee, so sure! So we set a time. Then he reached out again and changed coffee to dinner after I got off work. EEEEkkkkk…that sounds like a date, yikes! But I agreed.
Our first date was on a Sunday October 24, 2010 and it went really, really well! We quickly decided that this was the real deal, our happily ever after. We got engaged on December 17th and were married on March 19th 2011.
I will say that it has not always been an easy journey. When you date someone briefly you continue to find things you love about him/her after you are married, but you also find things that you don’t love. There have been many great times, but there have also been struggles. When we wed we knew it was for life. There are times we have felt trapped, suffocated, and like this was a terrible decision. But through prayer, obedience, and compromise we have also learned to love, respect, and be grateful for the person we chose to marry. Jeff isn’t perfect and I know I am not, but I am so thankful for a God fearing, people loving, sacrificing, encouraging, and dedicated husband.
We have gone on to have three boys and are now expecting our fourth boy!! Our family is a joy and I am so thankful for the man I married. This was never the life I dreamed about as a girl, but what a blessing the unexpected fall has been.
Cheers to a happy marriage!