Saturday, October 23, 2010

Cindy ♥ Doug, A Marraige Made in Heaven

I've been promising a post about marriage for sometime.  Since I've been thinking A LOT about Doug this week with him working out of town, I thought now would be a good time to go ahead with it.  First, let me say up front, I'm not an expert on marriage, but I am experienced. :)  Doug and I have been married for 22 years.  We have experienced the wonderful seasons where we were on top of the world taking in the views from the highest mountain peaks.  We have also experienced the lowest valleys we could have experienced in a marraige and still came out with the rings on our fingers and the promise in our hearts.  So while I'm not an expert and will never claim to be, I have lived a gamut of experiences in my married life.

♥ Our story ♥
I never tire of telling our love story for it truly is a story of a marriage made in heaven by our One True God.  Doug and I met at church when we were in early elementary school.  I was in first grade.  He was in second grade.  By fourth and fifth grade, we were 'going together' and holding hands under the hymnal or church Bible.  (I don't advocate that for children. :)  However, it truly was innocent.)  We were best of friends.  We talked all the time.  We liked spending time together.  Our sisters were friends.  Our parents were friends.  We went to the same church.  We went to the same school.  We lived down the road from each other.  We rode the same bus.  In other words, we were able to spend a lot of time together.  We knew each other.  If anyone asked me at the early age of 10 or 11 who I was going to marry, I could have instantly told them, "Dougie!"

In middle school, we would 'like' each other off and on.  However, being middle schoolers, we also liked other people, too.  We remained close friends, but we were becoming two very different people.  Then, one awful day in high school I learned that Dougie would be moving to Texas.  I was a freshman, and he was a sophomore at the time.  There was no warning.  They were moving, and there was nothing I could do.  That was a very sad day in my life.

I went on living, of course.  I liked other boys.  I know he liked and dated other girls.  Then, in December on my sixteenth birthday, I was at a BC basketball game with some friends.  One of my best friends came running down the bleachers toward me yelling, "Cindy...Dougie is here.  Doug is looking for you!"  I thought she was just messing with me.  After all, he had moved more than a year before.  Why would he be there? 

I looked up and THERE HE handsome as ever...walking toward me.  I'm sure my heart stopped beating for just a moment.  I'm also sure there was a smile as big as Texas on my face.  What a wonderful birthday present!  Well, we dated for about a month and then, he just disappeared.  I tell him often that he was quite the jerk!  I was so hurt!  My heart was completely broken.  I questioned why God had brought him back into my life (which I truly believed then that he had and I still believe NOW that he had) just to rip him out of it.

Again, life went on.  I dated again.  This time with the determination that D.F. would never hurt me again.  I would give my love to someone else.  I enjoyed the rest of my junior year of high school and began my senior year.  I was working at what was then Otto Drugstore. 

One particular day in September I was working the cash register up front and got a phone call from my sister.  She was at Doug's sister's house.  She said that he wanted me to come there when I got off work.  I said, "NO!"  Later, he called.  He was persistent.  I told him that he had hurt me enough and that I would not come there to see him.  If he wanted to see me, he'd have to come to Shepherdsville.  I told him what time I was leaving work.  He was there waiting when I went to my car. :)  That was September 6, 1987.

We went on our first official date that day.  He wonders why I love Mr. Gatti's so much.  That is part of the reason, I would guess.  We sat at Mr. Gatti's for hours that day.  We talked.  He apologized profusely.  We talked some more.  It was that day, sitting in the party room of Mr. Gatti's all by ourselves, with Doug writing sweet stuff on a helium balloon, that I fell head over heals completely in love with him.  Oh, I already loved him, but that day sealed the deal. 

On March 15 of the next year, Doug proposed.  We had plans to wait 5 years to get married.  I would finish college.  He would finish trade school.  However, we knew we could not wait 5 years.  So, we set the date.  August 5, 1989.  I still laugh when I think about it.  We were just being silly thinking we would wait that long.  We had literally been waiting our whole lives for this.  In May, we went to my parents and told them we couldn't wait a year to be married.  After much discussion, it was decided the date would be changed to August 6 of the same year.  There was ONE stipulation.  I couldn't say the word wedding until high school graduation was over.  (I was graduating valedictorian.  My parents were not going to allow anything to get in the way of me finishing what I had started.  I am very thankful for that.)   I graduated in May, and we planned the wedding in less than 2 months.

As I think back over the story of our life up to that point, I smile...I laugh...I even get a bit teary eyed at times.  When I think of how God orchestrated two separate families...two separate that Doug and I would be placed together for His glory and our good, it amazes me.  You see, none of that story is my doing or Doug's doing.  We couldn't have come up with such an outlandish on again/off again thing if we tried.  I mean, honestly...Doug's family up and moved to TEXAS and then, what I failed to mention above was that while he was visiting friends in Kentucky, his family decided to move back to Kentucky without telling him.  God had to have acted upon my heart to soften it to let Doug back into my life after being hurt.  As humans, we tend to build up scar tissue that isn't easily broken through when we're hurt by someone.  God had to place me on Doug's mind for him to decide he wanted to see me after more than a year of being away.  And to think it all started when we were small children. 

Our lives changed on August 6, 1988.  We were no longer just Cindy and Doug.  We became Mr. and Mrs.!  What a wonderful change!

My insights and thoughts on Christian Marraige:

1.  God has to be first in both of your lives.  This will be evident in so many ways.  Do you go to church together?  Do you pray together?  Do you study or discuss the Word together?  Are you committed to following God's will for your lives?  Are you raising your kids His way?
2.  My husband is second in my life.  I am second in his life.  This is a lesson we want our children to understand completely.  We want them to know that we love them...completely and unconditionally.  However, we want them to know that they cannot come between us a husband and wife.  Kids can be and will be manipulative if you let them be.  Don't allow them to move into the spot where your husband should be.

3.  When you get married, the focus should change from "I" to "WE".  When a couple consistently socializes separately instead of together, trouble is soon to follow.  To get to the point of marriage, what did you do?  You went out together.  Marriage shouldn't change that.  If anything, it should make it better.  The lowest time in our marriage is when we were both going out with friends instead of together.  We invited trouble into our lives by opening a door for Satan to step right into.  Why go to dinner with a friend on a Friday night and leave your spouse at home...especially on a regular basis?  Think about how often you are spending time with other people away from your spouse. 
4.  Friends of the opposite sex is a dangerous and slippery slope to walk.  I'm not talking mutual friends where you and your husband are friends with another couple.  I mean where the wife is friends with another man that her husband is not friends with or vice-versa.  We tend to think that we are super-human and can just be friends and that those friendships will never go where they shouldn't.  I'm here to tell you, friends, that you are lying to yourselves.  Once again, that opens a door for Satan to step right in.
5.  Work to make your marriage the best it can be.  What have you done for your husband today?  What have you done today that says "I love YOU" without using the words?

6.  Learn early to say, "I'm sorry for _____________.  Will you please forgive me?"
7.  Learn how to forgive even when it hurts.
8.  Play together.  Again, what did you do before you got married?  You had fun together.  Why stop?
9.  Hold hands.  :)
10.  View your marriage as a FOREVER promise.  Divorce is not an option.  God is an amazing God that can heal hurts, give peace, calm fears, and in the process SAVE marriages. 

I've often wondered why our story had so many twists and turns before we finally figured out we belonged together.  After 22 years of many highs and some very low lows, I think it's because God knew what we would experience and was preparing us for the times ahead.  He was preparing me for future heartache and for future healing.  He was preparing Dougie for how to be the wonderful godly husband he is today.  God was teaching us about forgiveness and persistence.  You see, God knew that without this we would have given up on our marriage ten years ago.  God knew what we needed, when we needed it.  I'm so thankful for God's provision and protection over our marriage.    How exciting it is to know that my marriage to Dougie is truly God-given, God-ordained, God-orchestrated...absolutely

♥ a marriage made in Heaven! ♥

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