A LOVE STORY: by vickie hughes
Dave and I had been hearing about each other for about six months from a mutual friend at our church in San Jose. Neither of us were eager to be “set up” but finally we could no longer avoid the schemes of our well meaning friend. She literally grabbed us both during an evening service and stood right by us as we introduced ourselves to each other. We were both 24, recently graduated from college and working at our first career type jobs. Dave left for a missions trip to the Philippines (with Phil Comer) and when he got back we started dating. We had a few false starts and one separation due to Dave’s cold feet but we married almost exactly one year from the date of when we first met.
Our love story is so different from Fallon and Alex and from Anna and Matt. Dave and I started marriage as very young Christians, full of selfish desires and unrealistic expectations.
Neither of us grew up in homes where we had great models of a strong, vibrant marriage, so we packed our bags full of wrong thinking, worldly ways of dealing with conflict, pride and completely self-centered motives and started our life together. Our first few years were full of arguments and frustration.
We realized that we had shown each other who we wanted to be while we dated but neither of us truly knew the other one when we got married. I was very much the woman in the second half of Proverbs 14:1 “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” I was so busy trying to manipulate Dave to become who I wanted him to be and trying so hard to change him that he never felt honored or respected by me. As a result it was difficult for him to really know me and learn to love me. If we hadn’t believed so strongly in God’s Word and known that God hates divorce, we would have been very tempted to take the easy way out and give up.
So the best part of our love story really begins later down the road as a result of trial and heart break. We finally realized that we had absolutely no tools to work with to build a strong foundation for our marriage. We began to pursue resources like marriage conferences, good books and especially couples with good marriages that we could learn from to begin to learn what it meant to be married the way God meant it to be.
Slowly over time we started to understand how selfish we were and worked hard to make changes. Not being able to have children at first, was excruciatingly painful for us. We tried for years to get pregnant but were not able to have children. The Lord led us to adoption and blessed us with Ashley. God used that experience to shape us and change our focus to HIm.
Later God allowed us to have Jordan and then Rachel who has Down Syndrome. We walked through cancer with her and now Crohn ‘s Disease and dementia. Over the years, watching Dave lovingly guide our children and gently care for Rachel, makes me fall in love with him more every day.
God uses those hard times to bring us closer to HIm and closer to each other.
Now I would say our love story is better than it has ever been. We truly are one, I love and respect Dave more than anyone I know and he unselfishly loves me like I had always dreamed of years ago. I’m so grateful for God’s grace to bring us together in the first place, but even more to keep us together long enough to really find the joy and fulfillment that is possible in marriage. If we had given up and not persevered we would have missed the best part of our lives and the amazing joy that we now have in our family and in serving Him together.