You don’t get to choose your family – you just get whoever you were born into – and I’ve been amazingly blessed with mine! I love my parents.
But a wife? I got to choose her! You get to choose your spouse, too, and you’ve only got one shot at it (barring the messiness of separation or divorce). So, my advice: take it slow and choose wisely. Talk about pressure!
My family fist met Deanna at a hotel buffet line shortly after we had transitioned to the new-to-us city of Pierre, SD. I was going into my sophomore year. Deanna was a senior. We had an interesting first interaction my first week of school and I was immediately smitten. She had invited me to the homecoming dance with a group of her friends and there was something about her infectious smile, room-filling laugh and fun-loving personality that grabbed hold of me instantly.
We might of seemed like an unusual pairing, but we got to be quick friends. I was the quiet, shy, artsy new kid and she was the good-looking, outgoing, fun, athletic starter on the basketball team.
Early on, Deanna invited me to her youth group’s before-school devo-worship time at a church right across from the school. I was excited that she loved Jesus and was eager to meet up and get to know her more. I went to the first church I saw right across from the school the next morning and, about half-way through, realized that I was in a Mormon church. Doh! I was devastated, thinking that maybe we weren’t the same faith — and I had already had my eyes on her as potential girlfriend material. When we saw each other at school we both blurted out, “WHERE WERE YOU?!” Turns out she was in the church building just next door to the one I had ventured into. Phew! I started attending right away and fell in love with her pretty quickly. Her friends and youth leaders were pretty great, too.
By that January, I had asked her if she’d be interested in a romantic relationship. It was the first time I had ever pursued a girl — and the last. She said, “Yes!”
We dated for four years. I fell hard and fast. I felt like this was God’s one for me and, in my heart, knew that I was going to marry her someday. On the other hand, in her wisdom to not rush things, Deanna was pretty slow to trust me… and even tried to gracefully ditch me three times! But I wouldn’t have it — I kept on relentlessly pursuing and I’m glad I did. She has been my greatest treasure.
One afternoon, when Deanna and I were on the phone with Mom (we were both students in Dallas at the time), she challenged us to “just get married and stop burning in lust” — haha! Wow. We got off the phone. Had a quick conversation that resulted in “Yeah, we should get married! What are we waiting for?!” It was elated — didn’t get much sleep that night, I was SO excited! But Deanna did caution me, saying, “You still have to propose to me, and it BETTER be good because I’ve already said ‘yes’!”
That’s a story all on it’s own. But I planned the proposal. And it must have been GOOD because she said “yes” again!
We married. I was 19-years-old at the time. And I have fallen more deeply in love with her ever since. We’ve walked through some really tough stuff together. And, well, having 5 kids is no piece of cake some days. Neither is all of the moving and transitions we’ve made over the past 5 years. Marriage, in and of itself, is not easy. Loving Deanna is, but not always marriage. And I know I’ve fallen far below the bar many times as a husband. I can be pretty good on my good days, but pretty darn low on my low days.
Thankfully, Deanna has put up with it all. I mean, how blessed am I? It’s no joke that I feel like the luckiest man alive. As I start to see more grey hairs on my head every day, I keep coming to the realization of how amazing she is to me.
No particular reason for this post today. Just reflecting and feeling thankful for mi amore. Sometimes in life that I’ve made poor decisions, but Deanna wasn’t one of them. When I chose her, I made the best decision of my lifetime.