Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Our Anniversary, Our Story

Nathan and I met when I had just turned 12 years old.  I still remember the very first time I saw him.  I had just moved to a new area with my family and we lived on the campus of a small christian school where my Dad would be teaching. 

It turns out, Nathan was in the same grade as my oldest brother.  I started my 8th grade year and he started his junior year of High School.  Mind you, this is a small school so it wasn't unusual for the students to see each other and hang out, especially since we ended up having mutual friends.  We just talked off and on throughout that school year.  I remember hearing that some people were encouraging him to invite me to his Jr. Banquet (our form of prom) and he insisted I was too young!  Looking back, I WAS!  I had a lot of friends that were his age so it honestly didn't seem odd at the time.

By that summer and the beginning of his senior year, we were flirting and pretty into one another.  I remember him stopping by my house a few times and I would be so hungry as my Mom would offer us a snack, but I couldn't possibly eat in front of him!  =) There were also a couple of occasions that he would call and want to talk to me and I was so nervous to talk to him that I would stand on the porch while my Mom told him I wasn't home... you know, so she wasn't lying =)

My Dad was his teacher in school so one day, just to be ornery, Nathan asked my Dad what he would think about Nathan dating me.  My Dad's response was "over my dead body"!  We still laugh about that.  My Dad didn't dislike Nathan... I think it was more of the issue that his daughter was only 14 years old! 

By that December, Nathan ask me to be his girlfriend.  My response was "sure"!  Was I doing him a favor?  What kind of a response is that?! =)  I think we've pretty much been inseparable ever since.  Nathan's senior year I had a lenient class 1st period so I was late pretty much every morning to class.  Nathan wanted to be a gentleman and carry my books so he would wait on me and ended up being late to class practically every day.  Towards the middle of the school year he received a suspension because of it!

We were in love by the end of his senior year in High School =) I was almost 15, he had just turned 18.  I was 16 1/2 years old before my parents would allow us to have single dates.  Before that, any time we got together was hanging out with friends or through his many visits to my home... that was mostly on the weekends.  Of course we talked on the phone and wrote notes to each other throughout the week.

Nathan started working a full-time job upon completing High School.  By the time I completed High School at 17 years old, we were already talking about when we wanted to get married.  It wasn't a question of 'if'.  My heart wanted nothing more than to marry that man and create a home and family together.  I worked through school and started full-time when I graduated.  I worked at Target at the time and we joke about how they practically furnished our 1st house.  I loved being able to buy so much on clearance!  Nathan saved every penny that year and we had a house built.  We closed on our house in May of 2001 and were married right after my 19th birthday in September of 2001.  My Dad officiated the wedding ceremony and mentioned his original comment about Nathan & I being together "over his dead body".  Thankfully Nathan won them over and they were able to see how much he cared for me!

We were SO YOUNG!  At the time, of course we felt ready to make such a decision and capable of keeping such vows to one another and God.  Now, looking back, I can definitely understand how it doesn't work for every young couple.  Thankfully, marriage has worked for us!  We have grown up and grown together.  We have learned a lot about one another and loved the process.  We are still learning and putting effort into our relationship... and that (in my opinion) is what keeps us together AND happy!

We have supported one another through job losses, death of family members, medical emergencies, family members living with us for 2 1/2 months and helping a friend that lived with us for 9 months.  Of course God saw fit to not allow those things to face us all at one time! =)  We will most certainly face many more challenges over the years, but I'm glad I get to do that with my friend.

It has become a joke over the past few years with people asking us when we are going to start a family.  I guess since we got married so young that was one thing we didn't feel was necessary to rush into.  I have always looked forward to having children, but I'm so glad my wise husband knew we needed time with one another and time to mature before we made such an important decision like starting a family.  We've also really enjoyed spoiling our nieces and nephews throughout the years and they have given us some great experience, for when the time comes.

This past year, I have learned to trust my husband's knowledge and work with him like never before.  It was harder for me deciding to purchase a house this time than it was signing those papers when I was 18 years old.  I guess I was just naive about the whole bill thing then and how we were actually going to pay for everything =) 

When we started looking for a house it was an exciting process.  We knew it was a possibility we would find a home that needed a little TLC as we were determined to find a home with a little bit of land and in the area we are currently renting.  We both decided we would rather purchase a home under budget, do a little work on it and be able to afford to do things and have fun in life rather than be strapped to that payment.  We got a project house and thankfully, both of us see the possibilities in it!

That brings me to the present... 14 years after I said "sure" to his girlfriend proposal and 9 years after I married my best friend.  We are exhausted with a total house remodel and packing for our upcoming move, but excited and so thankful for the blessings in our lives! 

Funny Facts:
* he's into politics... I don't understand them and often come across like I don't care, but I do
* he likes football and golf... my brothers grew up playing basketball and baseball
* he loves hunting... no one in my family hunted while I was growing up
* his idea of decorating is his deer head hanging on the office wall... mine, NOT SO MUCH!
* I say he doesn't have feelings... he says I have enough for both of us
* He could care less to ever go into a store... I LOVE SHOPPING
* He buys clothes when his are worn out... I buy clothes, well, all the time =)
* His idea of a great gift was buying me a gun for Christmas and then thinking I would like another one for my birthday... I kid you not
* he is a big softy with his nieces and nephews
* we are both SUPER protective of the people we care about
* he is 'to the point' with his opinion and views... I'm more of a people pleaser
* he doesn't like having people over unless we are very close to them (ya know... our inner circle)... I love to entertain! I was raised in a pastor's home... it is what I know!
* he loves documentaries and old movies... me, not so much
* both of our parents were our exact ages (I was 19 and he was 22) when they got married
* he doesn't talk much... I talk all the time

Happy Anniversary, Nathan!  I love you!

Hope those of you who actually endured this novel enjoyed reading a little about 'our story'.


Mary said...

What a sweet post! Happy Anniversay!!

Mindy said...

Happy Anniversary!

Nancy said...

Time for this lurker to leave a comment:)Enjoyed your story today! Yours is one of the few blogs I check every day...usually because you are good at updating every day. Unlike myself, who has not updated in over a year!lol ! I also enjoy using your links for decorating blogs. Thanks:)

Peggy B. said...

Happy Anniversary!

triciathomas said...

I enjoyed reading that post!!! Happy Anniversary!!

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary Nathan and Leah. I am sorry I am late with your card but better late than not at all I guess. Love you----Grandma Herring

The Salisburys said...

Happy Anniversary! Hope you all have a great, relaxing weekend! See you in a month or so! HA

Jessica said...

What a sweet tribute! I loved hearing more about you and your love story! Happy Anniversary!

Kimberly said...

Loved reading your story - thanks for sharing! Also, major congrats on the anniversary.

Janella Thompson said...

I loved reading your post...even though it was re-hashing old memories for me too. I watched your relationship unfold and blossom to what it is today! You both were perfect from the beginning! Hope you have many more years!

Madi's Mama said...

Happy Anniversary Nathan & Leah!!! THANK YOU for taking your marriage vows seriously and investing in your relationship. I LOVED reading your story! I guess I was too busy falling in (and out and back in :) love with your brother to realize what all was going on with you, so this was fun to read. Love you guys...hope you do some major celebrating!!

Anonymous said...

Leah, you do such a good job at writing. I love how you express things.
I am thankful for God's help to you and Nathan. You are happily married at your 9th anniversary because you both made the choice to love one another (no matter what)! God has blessed your marriage because you both put your ALL into your marriage. I pray you will have many more happy years with your best friend.
Mom Herring

Rowana said...

Happy Anniversary, Leah! Enjoyed yours sweet story!