This was how I felt when I first met my husband. In the Fall of 2003, I got an email from my dad saying that a certain Andy Price had emailed him asking permission to court me. I'd only seen this 24 year old guy one time at a mission's conference 10 months earlier, and from my observation, which wasn't much because I was NOT interested in him, I would have said the feeling was mutual. He didn't so much as glance my way once...(well, lets say twice. I did catch the once. :) Much less speak to me. So when I got this email from dad, I was blown away! The first thing I did was call my sister who was at Bible College and say, "You'll never believe who just asked to court me!" She asked, "Who?" and I replied with a frantic "Andy Price!" She said, "Oh you poor thing" to which I replied, "Yeah! How do I get out of this one???" Dad wanted me to go up to Carthage, which was a two hour drive from where I lived in Chattanooga, TN. for a visit to see what I thought of the situation. Dad really liked Andy and was hoping I'd snatch the opportunity. I told dad to let me pray about it for a week. To be honest, I was buying time. A week flew past, and I begged for another one. After that second week, dad told me he needed to give Andy and answer and couldn't just leave him hanging. He practically begged that I make a three day trip to Carthage to see him. I gave in more or less to get my dad off my back and make him happy. I drove up on a Monday morning. As I pulled into the church parking lot (my husband was assistant pastor at Cornerstone), I sat there for a moment, telling myself what a complete idiot I was for driving 2 hours to a strange town to see a strange guy at a strange church! I ALMOST turned around and went back home. I didn't see the peering eyes of Andy's brother Brad and best friend, Jacob peeking out the nursery window watching my every move an reporting to Andy who was waiting anxiously in his office. :) I mustered up every last ounce of my wavering courage and marched to the side door and knocked. Andy must have been waiting on the other side, because it opened immediately. At first sight, we BOTH thought, "uh oh...have I made a mistake?" Well, that's what Andy thought. I on the other hand was sure of it! I already explained my misgivings, but Andy hadn't seen me in 10 months, during which time, I'd moved out of the house, was on my own and working a job. My outward appearance had changed a little from the last time he saw me at that missions conference. He wasn't expecting a lot more makeup, and slightly bleached hair! But he was positive that God had me handpicked to be his wife, so he stepped out in faith.
We sat in his office for the first hour, exchanging testimonies. He was leaned back in his chair with his feet propped up on the desk and was sitting bolt upright in mine, nervous as a cat! His relaxed attitude made me mad. :) I began to think that he'd done this sort of thing before. I later found out that he was just as nervous as I was.
We spent all day Monday together talking and trying to get to know each other. I was holding up my side of the bargain with my dad. Tuesday went much the same way. I met his pastor's family at breakfast, and his family that night at supper...more extreme awkward nervousness. Wednesday afternoon, Andy took me up to the Overlook above Carthage. Its a high spot on a cliff that overlooks the river and dam far below. You can see for miles! He asked me if we could make this friendship an official courtship. Over the past three days, there was nothing that I could find that I didn't like or agree with him on. We saw eye to eye on practically everything and had developed a good friendship. But courtship????? That was serious! I was raised that you don't play the field. When you court someone, you do so with a possible marriage in mind. Not just to have a boyfriend/girlfriend. But I didn't have a good excuse, so I said that we could make it official. But I drilled him first for one last attempt at a red flag! I asked him how many kids he wanted. I wanted a lot and if he didn't, well, it was over. I asked him how much money he had in the bank, could he support a wife and family. He replied that he had a couple hundred dollars, but that he'd been trying to save and that he didn't mind working hard. That impressed me. At least he was honest and didn't make any excuses for himself. I told Andy that I didn't love him or trust him and that he had to win both. I told him I only wanted to tell one man that I loved him, and that would be my husband. I made him 'win' me.
That night at church, while Andy was busy with the kids in his Master's Club, a lady came up to me and asked if I was a visitor. I still remember the look of complete shock on her face when I told her I was "with Andy". Andy was an eligible bachelor, never had a girlfriend, and now all of a sudden a strange girl shows up and says she's with Andy? I'm sure every woman at church knew I was there within just a short time. :)
It was November 11th, when I agreed to court Andy. We spent practically very day together when he wasn't working. We talked, and talked, and talked some more until we knew each other inside out. But, I still didn't love him. I had none of those fluttery, heart-pounding feelings every girl dreams of having when she finds her Mr. Right. This scared me. I wondered what was wrong. I thought a lot of Andy, and could honestly say he was my best friend, but I didn't have any gushy feeling when I thought about him. A couple weeks later, Andy asked me to marry him. I told him I needed a little time. He said, "Lets not drag this thing out. I'd like an answer soon." I thought, "Drag this out?!?!?" We'd only known each other for about 4 weeks! This is hardly what you'd call 'dragging out a relationship"! But I knew what he meant. The longer you go, getting more and more emotionally involved, the harder it is to break it off if you come to a snag. We'd talked about everything, hashed out all the important issues first, before emotions got involved. Now we were simply enjoying becoming close friends. This is the way it should be. Andy knew we were to be married, but I needed some assurance as well. And I was scared. I thought I could spend my life with this man, but the lack of gushy love scared me greatly. How can you marry a man you didn't love was the question that plagued my mind and heart. I told Andy to give me three days to fast and pray. My plan was to give him his answer on his birthday, good or bad. And this time, I DID pray...hard! I laid out my fears to God. I looked over the past few weeks in my mind and saw God's hand in everything, drawing us together. I searched the scriptures and God gave me verses, answered specific prayers. And by the end of the three days, I was absolutely sure of my answer. I told the Lord I would go ahead with this thing, but He would have to bring the love later. Its a hard thing knowing that you are going to marry a man, but that you do not love that man. I went to my pastor and asked him, "How do you know if you love a man?'' His reply was, "What has that got to do with it?" He was half joking, but half serious as well. The relationships of old lasted til death, the ones that were not built on the world's idea of ooey gooey love. They were stronger and lasted through the hard times because of the commitment behind them. I was about to make such a commitment. Oh I was going to marry a good Godly man, who loved me very much. I had no doubt he would take care of me and treat me right. I also had no doubt that this was the right thing for my life. I just hoped God would give me some of that gushy love and attraction as time went on.
I told Andy I would marry him on his birthday. I saw tears in his eyes and asked him if everything was okay. He told me that when he was 18 he'd told God that he would serve Him single til his 25 birthday if that was what He willed. He wanted to give God those years for preparation for whatever God had for him. God honored that and blessed him with a wife on his 25 birthday. I did not know about this when I gave him his answer. This was a week before Christmas...
So we began planning for a wedding. During this time, I became very sick and had to quit my job. Andy sat by my bedside for hours at a time, talking and praying with me. We grew closer through this. I could see the love and concern in his eyes for me. I knew this man loved me greatly. I begged God to help me return those feelings.
Just a couple weeks before our May 15th wedding, God answered that prayer and I finally realized that I indeed did love this man I was about to marry. But God let it happen this way for me because I was always the emotional "tall, dark, and handsome" type of girl. I needed to fall in love with his HEART first. I saw that Andy had a heart of gold, and that made me love him in the end. Outward appearance can fool an emotionally unstable girl, and by that I mean, a heart that is easily taken and wooed. When I saw the real kind of man he was on the inside, when I saw his heart of gold, then God gave me the outward love I desired. Andy won me fair and square! :) Slowly, a little at a time, and through a lot of patience on his part.
We were married on May 15th, of '04. I married my best friend, and the kindest, gentlest, sweetest man on earth. We didn't argue or disagree for the first three years of marriage! They were absolute bliss! We did everything together. People said of us, "Wherever one is, the other is somewhere nearby!" :) We had some very tight spots financially, we went through the death of our firstborn, the birth of two more, several moves, and many other trials and tests of our love and faith. The devil tried to come between us many, many times, but by the grace of God, that God-based, God-built love has stood strong. This kind of love will stand the blows of time and trial. Its not the shallow love the world gives. Its well worth waiting for! Andy is truly my best friend, and I love him dearly! He's much more than I deserve and far more than I ever dreamed I ever get in a husband and friend. I watched him hold our baby girl as she took her last breaths and say, "We will not quit! No matter how hard it gets, we WILL NOT quit on God." I can rest in his love, his faith, his trust in his God. I can rest in the God who so greatly blessed me with a treasure like this.
I love him....I love him not....Oh Yes, I DO LOVE HIM!
Happy Valentines Day!