It's 2005, and I'm a nervous high school senior with a serious crush on the prettiest girl at school. Likelihood of feelings being reciprocated are hanging somewhere between not likely and absolutely not. Try as I may to focus on other things, to be mature and not let this silly little crush end me, I can't seem to shake the feeling. We don't talk that much, but when we do, it just feels special. At least it does on my end. I want to get to know this girl. I want to be the one she calls when things are good, and not so good. But it's all just a pleasant fantasy, I'm sure.
In a flash, I'm sitting in the back of my family's van, five years later. Suitcases packed, it's obvious we're heading to Florida to see the relatives. It must be Christmas time! I'm aware of the presence of someone in the backseat with me, curled up and sleeping. But with my eyes forward, I see the rest of my family first. Dad driving, mom shotgun, my two siblings just ahead of me. So who is next to me?
I slowly turn my head to find that it's Her, asleep. Her hair is a holy mess, the result of some serious bedhead, but she looks like an angel. Why is she here?
I am then keenly aware of a slight pressure on a finger on my left hand, my ring finger, specifically. I've never been one for jewelry, so that piece of white gold must have some serious significance. I start to put two and two together, and all I can think to think is: "How on earth did I get here?"
Sometimes, it's fun to do this, when something otherwise mundane is going on- Take myself out of the scene for a second, and pretend a 17-18 year old me has been thrust into the very moment I am currently living, transported multiple years with no real explanation. What would I think? Would I be able to comprehend all the changes?
Only one thing is really for sure: I would be so thankful. I wouldn't be able to get over how thankful I was.
In his fantastic book Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?, Gary Thomas spends a lot of time stressing the importance of remembering your sacred history with your spouse. It sounds a little corny when you read it out loud. But, four months into this thing, it's already hugely apparent that this is vital!
Remembering your sacred history keeps you humble and honest and, most importantly, clear minded. There are times when the shimmer wanes and all the flash of being newlyweds disappears and being married is just... normal. I'm pretty sure that being married should never be normal.
So when Kelli and/or I threaten complacency in our young marriage, I grab her close and remind her of the time we had our "movie moment" in front of prom in 2007, or the night we finally talked about our feelings in 2008, or just how long and confusing and breathtaking our young friendship was for the first few years- all the things that make it apparent that there's a divine plan and an unmistakable romance in our relationship that is so, so special.
Oh, how thankful I am that long before we were even together, the story of our first meeting was so deeply ingrained in our minds, and was retold often, almost as though Yahweh knew our meeting needed to be just like a movie. It's for this very reason that I asked Kelli to date and marry me in the same place we first met! There is a reverence and beauty in the sacred history He has written for us, and it must not be forgotten, but celebrated. It is worship, after all!
So when we're old and our grand kids want to know the moment I knew I was going to marry their grandmother, I'll smile with pride because I'll remember exactly when it was. Because Kelli and I retell those stories to each other all of the time.
Because that stuff is important.