Natalie and JJ as young little pups back in 2003…
I knew as soon as I heard your voice when I answered the phone.
You asked for Natalie.
I knew it was you. I had been waiting for your call.
I paused for a moment because your voice took my breath away.
You were watching “Tomb Raider” with your roommates. I don’t know why I remember this but love does funny things to a person’s memory.
Three hours later, we hung up and I wondered aloud to an empty house as to what just happened.
We made plans to meet the next night because a conversation that electrically-charged with a chemistry powerful enough to reach through the phone lines piqued both of our interests and we just couldn’t wait for the weekend.
So we went out for the first time on a Wednesday night.
And when I opened the door and my pale blue eyes met your almost black, I knew immediately.
You were my next husband.
And sadly enough, you were a next husband and I was a next wife. Yet at the same time, if we had not traveled those first winding paths, the paths with the ex-husband and the ex-wife before there was an “us”, we would not have been in a place to be ready for “us”.
So God drug us through some stuff and forced us to grow up a little bit because really, we could have met one another at IU since we were both there as undergraduates at the same time.
But again, God knew we weren’t ready for each other yet.
How many times did I walk by you in the “birth canal” of Kilroy’s? How often did we lock eyes at the Union?
Me a sorority girl and you a “GDI”, one who eschewed the Greek system and thought girls like me were shallow and lacked depth?
God knew. Doesn’t He always?
And me, a girl who possessed a little bit more wisdom than I cared to have at 26, a wisdom that comes from a broken heart, a heart that had already been down the aisle and had been broken, who found another wounded heart that had walked the same path.
And those hearts connected.
So here we are – nine years later, seven years married. You joke about “the itch” but I know better.
I wish I could say it’s been as blissful as the first night of our three hour phone conversation, the dinner at Mama Carrolla’s, the drive to the airport as I was about to accept a job in Chicago just two days later.
The moment I said “no” to that same job because though I had only known you for three days, I knew you were special enough to turn that fat job down for the life we have now.
And do I regret it ever?
Though maybe it hasn’t always been as magical as those first few month it’s real. It’s authentic. It’s life.
On our worst days, when I can’t stand you and you can’t stand me, I still love “us” and am so thankful that God crossed our paths at just the right time because really, if I had taken that “fat job”, we would never have been given the chance to really get started – it was 80% travel.
I love that you know I’m a fan of curled tortilla chips and when we are at our favorite Mexican joint without even discussing it, you lay them on the side of the basket just for me to sink into the bowl of guacamole.
I love that you leave the front porch light on when I am out with my friends, a lighthouse to ensure that I know my way back to my true north.
I love that you can see right through my coping mechanisms. Damn you.
I love that there have been so many times when you could have left, when you would have been justified in doing so because really, this girl here might have a load of baggage or two.
And yet you don’t. You don’t feed into my biggest fear of abandonment because you are too much of a man to do so.
So on this day, this day when we also celebrate our youngest son’s third birthday, I write to you first. I write to you because God is first, yes. But you, my sweet, beautiful, best friend of a husband, are a very close second.
And those three heathens we have produced? Yes. They are a very close third.
But you…you are right behind God to me. Even when you don’t feel it, which is often in this house of three kids six and under, you most certainly are.
Happy Anniversary tomorrow to my “Seven Year Itch”, my “true north”.
Ever thine. Ever mine. Ever ours.
And now…Eight years later from the photograph at the top…
“to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…” – Isaiah 61:3
Linking here today…
I love your story! Thanks for sharing….we recently shared an anniversary, too. Happy Anniversary. Love, Kathleen
Brought a tear to the eye of a hopeless romantic :)
Congratulations and happy anniversary! This is the real stuff…I love your beautiful tribute. Hope you have a super weekend celebrating!
Really an admiring love story. I wish you a very happy anniversary. I wish to read more about your love story because I love reading real stories than a dramatics.
Love this, love you both, and love you all!
Wow! What an amazing journey you have both been on. God truly knows all, doesn’t He? Have a wonderful anniversary and happy birthday to your son.
I was wiping tears away reading this, seeing the picture up top and the blessings so apparent in the picture below. My husband and I have been married for seven years as well, and I was a “second timer” also. He and I also passed one another many times before we finally began to talk and hang out, and then, later to date and finally marry. I can see now how God was working everything out. Now, seven years later, I love him more than ever, and I was a little bit offended recently when someone commented that we’re about due for the “seven year itch” to arrive. I don’t believe it, though. I believe if our eyes are firmly on God, they won’t be likely to stray toward anyone they shouldn’t be. And our marriage today is a convenant, a walk together with God through everything. Many blessings to you and your family!
Happy Anniversary and thanks for sharing part of your story :)
What a beautiful tribute! You both are blessed to have found each other. Happy anniversary!
Happy Anniversary. What a beautiful real-love story! ~Jessica
You guys are awesome! I am jealous, Happy Bday Spence and Happy Ann’y to you. You have something to cherish in both your love for each other and the joy of those 3 (4 w dog) blessings!!! :)
Wiping away tears…of joy and fond memories. We adore your family and what you stand for. xoxo
Oh Nat. This is beautiful. Happy, Happy Anniversary my friend. What an encouragement you two are. <3
Your husband is blessed to have an amazing wife like you! You have such a beautiful family!
“On our worst days, when I can’t stand you and you can’t stand me, I still love “us”” Love it! It’s true to us as well.
What a wonderful post. You two make make me so happy.
Thank you for sharing this. Very inspiring. Happy anniversary!
This is really beautiful Natalie~
I love how this feels like God was at work redeeming both of your pasts through the sweetness and trials of your early relationship.
I too have a husband who I knew was perfect for me, and is exactly who I needed to show me God’s love and mercy.
I am so glad Amy from Amy in Wanderland introduced me to your site. Your story is similar to ours. I was married, divorced, married again and then divorced, and am now re-married to my 2nd husband. We have been together 7 years. God is amazing and can save any marriage. Thank you for sharing your story. I pray many more are touched by what they have read here! Blessings
Brandy, what a wonderful story! Thank you so much for visiting “Mommy on Fire” and for sharing a piece of your heart in this soft place to land. Blessings to you and thankful to Him who makes ALL things new!!!!