Category: romance

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My friend Melissa writes the best love stories. Her tales are enchanting not just because they’re real and true, but because her wonder of Love seeps through every word. For her birthday recently, she asked all the humans of the Internet to send her their love stories. Seriously- she really did that.

My sentimental, nostalgic heart jumped at the chance to write a love story of my own so I took her up on her offer. Husband and I went out that night, and over drinks we sat in a booth for hours recalling and retelling our own version of what happened between us 15 years ago. It was quite possibly the best date we’ve had in years.

I rushed home, typed it out, and sent it off to Melissa. She wrote me back at 5:30 am to say that she was crying on an airplane somewhere, because this story was beautiful and she thought that I should share it. I decided to leave it here for you guys because I think she’s right.

I think all love stories are important and worth sharing.

Here is what I wrote her:

“Dear Melissa,

I suppose if I’m going to tell you my love story, I should start by telling you that I too, have always been a lover of Love. I was a hopeless romantic with big ideas about what my story would look like, but one thing was for sure: I always took Love very seriously. In high school when my friends were trying on different loves like they were outfits, I was always too cautious to let myself go all in. Read More…

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“I’m sorry I’m ruining our sunset cruise” I said as I leaned my greenish face against the ropes of the banister.

“It’s okay, honey” he said, patting my back until he remembered that the last thing I want is to be touched when I’m feeling like I’m about to die of nausea.

It was our 15th anniversary so we decided to splurge on a romantic sunset dinner cruise.
I’d managed to sit up and applaud for the couple who’d just gotten engaged on the bow of the boat (or maybe it was the stern?) but then I crawled right back into the coffin sized bathroom below deck to wretch and sway while everyone else slow danced on the deck as the sun went down.

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He waited outside the door, gently asking if I needed anything at 5 minute intervals.
It was maybe the most romantic thing he’d ever done.

One of the newlywed couples with us on the boat mentioned that we struck them as “a couple who seemed to get along really well”.

img_6256We looked at each other and smiled because it’s true, we do, but it feels hard-earned in a way worthy of acknowledging.

Last year I wrote about how sometimes love is like a battlefield, but that’s okay as long as you’re fighting your way TOWARDS each other.

This year our love feels more like a garden, with beauty springing up out of tender places.
And so it goes.

This is real life.

Some years you get sick and ruin your romantic celebration.

Some years you struggle and you wound, but you refuse to quit fighting for the best version of “us”.

Some years you laugh more and kiss more and you make new inside jokes.

Some years you celebrate your anniversary with little fanfare- at home, over takeout on the back porch. But some years feel special so you run away together to celebrate all the good, the hard, the new, and the old.

Because marriage is all of it together. Forever. Amen.

Photo By Richelle Photography

Today I’m over at The Mudroom, sharing a personal glimpse into the real truth of (our) marriage. I’m only posting part of it here, but I hope you click the link and read the rest of it over at Mudroom, because I think the ending is important. I really bared my heart in this one and I hope that you find it useful.

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This morning I sat down with my coffee and some old photos with no other intention than to reminisce. Today marks 14 years of marriage for my husband and I, and to celebrate, I decided to take a little trip down memory lane. Because if there’s one game in life that I enjoy more than “Name that movie”, it’s “Remember When”.

Everyone close to me has grown accustomed to my random blurting of (completely out of context) sentences that begin with “Remember When…”

“Remember when we all snuck out of bible college to pull an all-nighter at Taryn’s house and Danny and John climbed through the window to scare us at midnight? Remember how we all panicked and thought we were going to die, but Amber B. was the only one smart enough to run out the front door?”

“Remember when you had giardia, and you were high on pain medicine and came into the library where I worked at 11pm in your sweatpants loudly demanding some kind of meat, preferably jerky?”

“Remember when we were dating long distance, and you’d call me every night at the same time, and you’d always be wearing that same noisy jacket that crinkled in the background? I still have that jacket.”

I could go on, but you get the picture. I like to relive the past. There is a whole compartment of my heart dedicated solely to nostalgia. Usually the memories I find myself returning to again and again are the happy moments, the funny moments, or the unbearably tender moments. But today was a little different. I found myself looking through old photos, scanning to find an echo of some of our more difficult moments.

Because, can I be honest? This last year was harder on us than we expected, and today I found myself simply needing to remember another time like this. A time when we overcame. A time when we burrowed down into the foxhole together until the storm passed. A time when we learned to tear down certain walls in order to strengthen our foundation.

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While we’ve always been a couple that generally gets along, we’ve certainly had our share of trying seasons before. (Side eye to you, colicky babies.) But if pressed for a reason, I’m not sure I could even tell you why this year was harder on us than most others.

Maybe it’s the fact that after 14 years, we’ve been married just long enough to actually have baggage. Old wounds that have been healed and forgotten can be pricked right back open again in an instant.

Maybe it’s all the new dreams sprouting in our hearts, and the fact that those dreams require a bravery and vulnerability that have left us both feeling fragile and exposed in our own ways.

Maybe it’s all the outside pressures of work, money, schedules, and ministry that press in and down on us at times, threatening to burst our happy, intimate little bubble.

Or maybe?

Maybe it’s just growing pains.

After all, growth means change, and change can be rather uncomfortable at times.

READ MORE HERE:

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Today I’m inviting you up onto my blog porch, pouring you a cup of hot coffee, and sitting down beside you to hear from one of my favorite people. When I say “favorite” I mean it in the sense that I have always admired her coolness from afar, not in the sense that we hang out all the time in real life- although I’m fairly certain we would if we still lived in the same city. I have known Bruk for well over 10 years, and watched her grow from a confident, self-assured teenager into an effortlessly cool, relentlessly authentic, stunning-from-the-inside-out, grown up lady. It seems that Bruk has always known exactly who she is, and as a fellow woman, I find that to be both refreshing and inspiring.

She does interesting things like make jewelry, write songs, and take pretty photographs, and she does brave things like live in Africa for a year. The words she wrote here are just one small part of her big story.

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“When she reaches for him, you reach for Me.”

Those words changed my perspective the teeniest bit.

You know… when you know that God has the best plan for you, but you don’t entirely believe it until He gives you a fresh look? Maybe you don’t know. In my mind I’m the only person that doesn’t always trust God, but go with me here. I’m about to get real open about some stuff that I just don’t like getting real open about.

I’m 28 and single. When I say 28, I actually mean 27 and turning 28 next week, which is weirdly freaking me out. And when I say single, I mean it in every sense of the word.

Always. Forever. Single.

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It’s recently been pointed out to me that being single isn’t really the thing I struggle with, so much as the fact that I’ve never had a relationship. While I almost think that’s true, it’s also sort of not.

I’m good at being single. That’s the thing that scares me a little bit. I live mostly on my own. I’m great with power tools. I support myself, move as I wish, travel as I wish, shop as I wish. When I have a date I’m not thinking “Oh man, I hope he likes me!”, I’m thinking, “Oh crap, what if he likes me?” and the self-sabotage sort of starts there. Read More…

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A few weeks ago I turned 34. As far as I know, there’s nothing spectacular or significant about this age. Although People Magazine did once report that women are the most comfortable with their bodies at the age of 34, so…there’s that. I wonder if it’s true? I’ll be sure to report my findings on the subject here (because I am me and I tend to report all findings here, whether relevant or not).

To be honest, it’s been an interesting year. A season of upheaval, if you will. A season of familiar markings in the landscape of my life cracking and breaking apart so they can be rebuilt again. It’s been a season of discomfort and growing pains. A season of new, scary, and exciting opportunities.

If anything, I am learning that God doesn’t write boring stories.

They are full of adventure and romance, rise and fall, trial and triumph, and good and evil. Yet as exciting as that all sounds, I’m finding that I don’t always participate in that story. I sometimes miss out on the best parts of God’s story for me because I’m too busy trying to manufacture the story I’m writing for myself.

A safer, more comfortable story, if you will. Read More…

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“You have to be willing to be hurt by me.” His body language was casual as he said it. He leaned back against the kitchen counter, his hands folded in front of him. But his words were anything but casual. Almost like a plea, they hung in the air between us for a long moment as I froze, absorbing his meaning.

I sat across the room from him at the dining table. The distance between us was short but full of emotional wreckage- the kind that quietly builds up over years and then tumbles out everywhere, touching everything. The tears collecting in my eyelashes finally spilled over onto my cheeks.

My husband is a man of few words. He thinks before he speaks, whereas I tend to throw words around like confetti at a parade. I knew he’d considered his next words because he said them gently and with care.

“I will never intentionally hurt you. But I’m just a man. I’m going to get it wrong sometimes. You have to be willing to GO THERE with me. You can’t close yourself off and leave it all up to me to draw you out. I can’t do that all the time. I can’t be the only one. It’s too much pressure. I want more. I want your vulnerability” Read More…

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Tonight is date night. I love date nights. It’s kind of a big deal to me. Maybe it’s the prospect of eating food I didn’t have to cook, or the opportunity to put on some lipstick, great shoes, and feel to pretty, or maybe it’s just the promise of an evening out with my person, but even after 13 years together and countless dates, it all still makes me a bit excitable.

I will be the first to admit though, that sometimes my expectations get a little lofty. Sometimes I hold Date Night with such a high regard that I darn near expect it to be some kind of magical, mystical experience. Why do I do that, I wonder? Expectations are tricky little buggars.

It is at best, unwise, and at worst, dangerous when I let my expectations dictate my actions- in marriage, in work, in friendships, in just about anything. An attitude of “I’ll do this for you, if (or because) you do that for me,” or “I’ll work hard at this, only because it might get me that”, or “I expect you to be A, B, and C to me, and if you aren’t, you are letting me down,” is very dangerous ground to tread, especially in marriage.

I’m guilty of this. Whether I realize it or not, I often let selfishness lay the groundwork for my expectations of others, which in turn lays the groundwork for disappointment, resentment, or hurt. Read More…

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Last week I wrote a post about sex, marriage, intimacy, seduction, habits, and courage. It was definitely one of my more personal posts and I will not lie and tell you guys that I didn’t have a hard time hitting “publish”. Luckily, just two days before that I wrote a post all about bikini waxing so I guess I was still feeling some residual bravery.

Apparently I’m becoming conditioned (or maybe you guys are) to just going ahead and telling you guys everything. It’s like my internet-self has gotten confused with my that-third-drink-may-as-well-have-been-truth-serum-self and I just say it like it is now.

Either way, I did hit publish and I was quite surprised and encouraged by the response. It was the most read post I’ve ever written and I got a lot of private messages and comments of the “Me too!” and the “Yes. Thank you for saying this” variety. Which only confirms that you guys are seriously the best and coolest and we really do get each other. I knew I could trust you guys. I just knew it.

One of my writing friends, Melody Reid, who happens to be a fellow Clumsy Blogger wrote a post in response to my own, sharing her perspective and insights on the subject and I wanted to share it with you guys. Melody is wise and she has quite a few more years of marriage under her belt than I do. She handled this delicate subject matter quite gracefully, while still being honest and vulnerable. I enjoyed hearing her thoughts and I think you will too.

Here is a bit of Melody’s response- it’s just a teaser really, so I encourage you to read the full article here

Read More…

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We said nothing was off the table, right? When we started this writing challenge we said we’d keep it real. We even said we’d talk about sex…

While I wouldn’t exactly qualify myself as a sexpert, I have been having sex with one person for a very long time. Thirteen years to be exact. There are a few things I do know. So let’s talk.

In the spirit of transparency I suppose I should tell you that the first time my husband and I had sex was on our wedding night. We were both virgins until then. Maybe you find that storyline to be antiquated or shocking or unbelievable. Maybe you don’t. Either way, it’s our real story so we may as well start at the beginning.

Of course it wasn’t even remotely easy but we did manage to wait, and there is really only one thing I want to say about that: It can be done, and it can be beautiful. We were able to freely give ourselves to each other without one bit of doubt, guilt, or hesitation. There was only passion and an unflagging joy between us that night. We belonged to each other in every way, and the fact that he is only for me is something I treasure still.

As you can imagine we spent the first portion of our marriage making up for lost time. There was no shortage of seduction on either side. We were finally here, and we were ready to party if you know what I mean. It was simple. It was good.

Cue video montage of life happening in fast forward. Moves. Jobs. Kids. Pets. Different jobs. More moves. If you’re not careful your regular life will take over your sex life and you’ll be less busy gettin’-busy, and more just busy in general. And, well, that just doesn’t sound like very much fun, does it?

Much like any other married couple, over the years we’ve had ups and downs and over time we’ve fallen into patterns. After all, we are creatures of habit, yes? After a certain amount of time, we became a foregone conclusion with each other. We know each other’s signals. We know what to expect from each other. We know each other’s bodies and how they work.

This can be a double edged sword. Read More…