Monday, March 24, 2014

30 in 30: My handsome chili slinger

This is the sixteenth article in my 30 in 30 challenge, where I write 30 things I'm thankful for in the 30 days leading up to my thirtieth birthday.

I hope to not go all Hallmark Card on everyone, but now is your warning. Mushy love post ahead. Also, Some of you don't know how Doug and I met or even began dating, so I am going to quickly go through the early years :)

I was just a teeny tiny 17-year-old when I met Doug for the first time. He was a manager at your friendly neighborhood Skyline Chili and he was my sister's boss. I would go in occasionally to visit with her, but always found myself striking up a conversation with Doug too. After a few months of this, I found myself staying longer at Skyline, and when my sister would finish up her work and head home, I stayed, loitering the chili parlor. I'm a big risk taker, you know! I couldn't bare to leave, Doug was such a sweet guy and he was unlike any guy I have ever met.

Our relationship began as a friendship. He would take me out on friend dates and we would often make midnight trips to Meijer (too crazy to handle, right?!) I think we just began finding stuff to pass them time because we didn't want to have to say goodbye. But we both convinced ourselves that a relationship further than friendship wouldn't work. He was interested in someone else, and I was heading to college.

 Fast forward...

Towards the end of the summer we decided that we both wanted to see what would happened if we did try to date. We crammed in as many dates as we could before I left for WKU and when the time came for me to pack up and head school it was very bittersweet moment. I had empty pages that were waiting to be written, but staying behind was a life I already knew and was comfortable with. Doug was also staying behind, too so that added to the discomfort. "Was I falling for this guy?!"

I did fall for the guy and I really began to understand what love really was. As much as I disliked WKU, I am thankful for the experience. If Doug and I weren't challenged with trying to get through a long distance relationship from the beginning, I don't know if we would have been able to stay together. Let's break it down: I was 18 and really had NO what a relationship was. Plus, there is an age gap of nine years, so we were operating on two totally different life experiences. Also, I didn't really know how to communicate in a relationship, so being away at school basically forced us into conversations and as a result, we really honed in on getting to know one another. WKU wasn't the school for me, so I transferred to NKU and it was great to be closer to home, near my family and also near Doug.

Fast forward again....

We got engaged in 2004 and were married in 2006. I could talk for days about the engagement, because there is quite a hilarious back story. What I will say is that there was a miscommunication between Doug and my dad, so Doug was going to put my engagement ring in a safe deposit box at the bank until he was "allowed" to propose to me. How adorable is that?! He might not have been able to propose to me the way he wanted to, but he came up with an amazing "Plan B" and his proposal was so sweet and genuine--it was perfect.

On the day of our wedding, I looked down the aisle and thought that the love I had for Doug was at its highest point. Silly, silly girl I was. I am so glad I don't love Doug the way I did on the day of our wedding, because I love him 50 times that amount. 

The first look!

Aug. 4, 2006

I get to spend a lifetime being silly with this fella

During the past seven years Doug and I have worked really hard at our relationship and I know we still have a long way to go! What we figured out is that love is merely a feeling, and it only has the power that we give it. We have to feed our feeling of love through action, kindness, patience and care. That is what I am thankful for; that Doug and I marry each other today and every day. 

 I am thankful that Doug made a lifelong promise with me that we would get each other to heaven, that we would work together to make ourselves better people and show the world what selfless love is. 

My marriage with Doug is not perfect, believe me! I can be terribly mean to him—very selfish, and my patience—well, scratch that—I do not have any patience. Doug can be stubborn and internalizes everything until he boils over. Yet, because of our promise we made, we can get through “for worse” part of our vows. Plus, the weaknesses we do have are balanced out by one another's strengths.

I am amazed by Doug's kindness, patience, spirit and strength. I am humbled by his compassion and dedication to our family. I learn how to be gentler and more kind by the way he holds strong onto his beliefs, the way he speaks and how he really is love in action. I am blessed to be in a partnership that allows me to trust, share and confide. I am grateful for the ways we are different and feel united in the ways we are the same. I am honored to live a simple life and feeling happy in the togetherness of one another, instead of material possessions. 

Watching him grow into fatherhood has made me fall even more in love with him. I love how involved he is with our children and the memories he makes with our children will stay with me always. My heart melts into a puddle when I creep up the stairs only to hear Doug and the two boys saying prays before bed and reading books--it's magical, really.

Finally, I am most thankful for his unending, never failing love and I can only hope that I give half of that love back to him.


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