The next couple days we're going to talk about marriage. Why? In honor of the fact that as of Thursday, March 22, 2012, Alan and I will have been married for 15 years. For high school sweethearts, that's quite a feat. Check the statistics.
Today I'm going to share a little bit our story with you. I'm reminiscing. Bear with me.
Flashback to January 1993: At Plant City High School, in Mr. Pickern's Bible History class, sat a high school Senior who was trying to get an easy A. Yeah, that would be Alan. Enter a Junior girl second semester who transferred into the class to learn something. You guessed it, moi. The first week of class, Alan asked me on a date. I had to think about it. I mean, this dude was the quarterback of the football team. Take a guess at what kind of reputation that earned him. You've seen enough 80's teen movies to figure it out. I specifically remember going for a walk that afternoon with my mom around Walden Lake and informing her that Alan had asked me out. I told her I thought I'd go just to see what he was like, but I didn't really think I would like him.
On our first date we went to dinner and a movie. I don't have a clue what movie we saw that night. I do, however, vividly remember how mortified I was at dinner. TGI Fridays in Lakeland. Cheese Quesadillas. Why, oh why, I ordered cheese quesadillas, I still wonder to this day. What was I thinking? I was painfully shy. Cheese dripping down my chin in long strings and sticking in my hair really did nothing to help me get over my shyness. I believed he'd never ask me out again, but I remember thinking he was surprisingly easy to talk to and a lot nicer than I thought he would be.
Monday morning in class, he wrote a note to my friend, Christy, who had introduced us. This was high school, remember? Everyone passed notes. I still have that note in a box in my closet. In it, he told Christy he had found the girl he was going to marry. After class, she showed me the note, and I thought, "Who does this guy think he is?" Secretly I was thrilled he actually had a good time on our date.
We dated for six months before a major milestone occurred. I was determined I was not going to let myself love this guy. I did love him. I just didn't want to admit it.
He was not saved. Strike #1. BIG strike. The reason I kept dating him with that strike against him was because from the first week he met me, he asked about going to church with me. He was not raised in church, but he began attending youth group with me each week and grew close to my youth pastor. Then he started coming to church and Sunday School. He gave his heart to the Lord the summer after he graduated high school. Strike #1 was abolished. Strike #2 was that he was going to be leaving for college in another state on a football scholarship. I did not want to be involved in trying to keep up a long distance relationship, and I had been accepted to the University of Florida, where I planned on paying my due diligence on the party scene in a sorority. I was a planner, and my next four years were set. That is, until he decided not to go away. So what did I do? Decided not to go away. Strike #2 wiped out.
We were engaged on Christmas Eve when I was 18 years old and he was 19.
Alan and I attended our local community college, where he played baseball for two years. He transferred to Florida Southern College and played baseball for them, too. After a while, I joined him at FSC. He earned a degree in Physical Education. I earned a degree in Elementary Education. We both graduated from college in 1997, Alan in May and I in December.
Our marriage took place on March 22, 1997, at First Baptist Church. We were attending the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Plant City, but we were meeting in the National Guard Armory, not a church building, so we had the wedding at FBCPC. Look how young we were! Check out Alan's sideburns. Cool, dude.
Both Alan and I began teaching in the public school system. He liked it. I loathed it. We were living in a small, old, 1970-something mobile home. Livin' on love, baby. It was ugly, but we put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into making it look pretty on the inside. I have fond memories of that home. One of my favorite country songs of all time is Doug Stone's "Love Grows Best In Little Houses", and it probably stems from spending the first 5 years of our marriage in that tiny abode. Just for kicks, here's the song and video: http://batlyrics.com/little_houses-lyrics-doug_stone.html
Stay tuned for part two..........