Thursday, February 20, 2014

A Love Story (Part 1)

"...try to write in a way that scares you a little."  - Holley Gerth

This is the first of a series of posts about our marriage.  Writing about this scares me - mostly because I want to come across as honestly as possible, without making the assumption that my story is any more important than anyone else's.  And how honest is too honest?  I don't know.  I just know that we all have a story and maybe the telling of it is more important for the writer than for the reader.  And maybe the reader can relate.  Or maybe others need permission to tell their story too.  So, here goes...

Next week Scotty and I will be married for twenty-one years.  That's a lot of time to learn about each other.  A lot of time to hurt one another.  Deeply.  We have done plenty of that in our marriage.  Enough so that, a few years ago, neither of us was sure if we were going to make it.  We always said it would never be an option, but at the time, the 'D' word seemed a whole lot easier than the turmoil we were living in.  The death of a marriage is often subtle and slow.  Our troubles were a long time comin'.

I was a child bride.  Saying it makes me cringe a little inside.  I had no idea how marrying so young would affect me as I became an adult.

We got married on a cold Sunday on February 28, 1993.  I was 16, in love, and happier than words can say.  I was not forced into it.  It was my choice - a choice I was too young to make.  That being said, I am so thankful that it was Scotty.  As my daughter nears the same age, I can't help but wonder how the adults around me were okay with it.  I cannot imagine allowing my little girl to make such a grown up choice at a time in her life when she is still trying to figure out who she is.

We met at church.  It was just after my 16th birthday in June.  He was in the military and had just been recently stationed at our local base.  My first impression of him?  I thought he was sort of nerdy!  But he was the nicest guy I had ever met.  A group of us would often go to a restaurant after Bible study and Scotty and I would end up talking the whole time.  We talked about his time in Germany, about our families, about God.  I learned that he was the youngest of six children.  He loved Cherry Coke and he was a fairly new Christian.  A few months later, after receiving my dad's approval, Scotty asked me to date him.  He made it clear that his intention was courtship and marriage.

We went to PoFolks for our first real date.  I told my best friend that I hoped he wouldn't wear his suspenders and hiking boots.  Like really.  I'm talking Napolean Dynamite shoes.  Don't you know he wore exactly that?  Yup.  Stone-washed jeans with the knees busted out, a flannel shirt, suspenders and Napolean Dynamite shoes.  Both the suspenders and the shoes "mysteriously" disappeared after we were married *wink*!  We talked about our hopes for the future over chicken fried steak and soda in mason jars.   

Things moved very quickly.  We began dating in November - the week before Thanksgiving, and were engaged before Christmas.  Scotty gathered my family and friends in the middle of my parent's living room, got down on one knee and said, "Olivia Christine, will you marry me and promise to serve God with me for the rest of our lives?"  I beamed as I said yes and he slid a ring on my finger. 

Our courtship and marriage three months later were quite a scandal, I am sure.  Some of my peers asked me how I knew he was the one.  No one could have convinced me to change my mind, even if they tried, because I was confident that God had a special plan for us.  We both felt that we were called into the ministry and we were anxious to begin walking in that direction.  So I dropped out in my junior year of high school.  I dropped out of high school to get married because God had a call on my life?!  I realize the absurdity of it, even as I type it out.  The school counselor asked me if I was pregnant as I filled out the paperwork to un-enroll.  I wasn't.  I was saving myself for our wedding day.

Here is where I look back and marvel at the grace of God.  First of all, that Scotty did not turn out to be some psychopath (sorry, Babe), but also that I fell into married life very easily.  In fact, I loved it.  I enjoyed making our little apartment feel like a home.  I woke up early to make breakfast and pack Scotty's lunch before kissing him off to work.  I waited anxiously for him to return home, dinner ready to be served.  I read books on being the Proverbs 31 woman.  I felt the need to prove that I was a mature and capable wife, no matter my age.

Scotty left the military and we dove into ministry.  We were both in bands for a coffee-house type music scene our church put on every Saturday night.  Scotty led worship, oversaw the Saturday night music scenes and was on the pastoral council.  I was the nursery coordinator and church book keeper.  We were all that.  Or so we thought.  We were on our way to becoming pastors one day.

Our son, Taylor was born when I was 19.  He was the most adorable, smiley, bald baby boy ever.  Two and a half years later, Celine came along.  She was tiny and graceful and beautiful.  I was 21.  I loved being a mom and was happy with my life and our little family.  Scotty had a good job and I was able to stay home with the kids.  We laughed in the face of the statistics that said one in three teen marriages would end in divorce.  It seemed our lives were going exactly as planned.
We make our own plans but the Lord decides where we will go.         Psalm 16:9 CEV
 We could never have imagined what was next for us.

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