Story - Audrey M. - as submitted.
As my father had a good night’s sleep to contemplate Ryan’s question, Ryan was restless to know what his answer would be. I had high hopes, but at the same time I knew my dad to be a man of great wisdom, and he wouldn’t take the question lightly. As Ryan was getting ready the next morning, my dad comes up to him, and shakes his hand and says ‘Go for it.’ Funny choice of words coming from my dad, but nonetheless, he handed Ryan a book entitled, ‘Fathers and Sons’. Apparently, it was my dad’s way of saying, read this book before you contemplate anything past dating.
With excitement and relief Ryan came and found me right after to say ‘He said ‘YES’!!’ That was the ‘official’ beginning of our relationship, for the second time. Reality set in again, that Ryan had to hop on a plane to go back to Louisiana. A tearful goodbye at the airport would be one of many as a long distance separated us once again.
Every few months, Ryan and I would fly to go see each other. Having met each other's families, we were slowly getting more acquainted with them during every visit. At one point while we were dating, we both pulled off amazing surprise visits for each other. For mine, I had teamed up with Ryan’s brother and sister-in-law to make up a silly story about how they hired a dog walker for their dog Jack, and they wanted Ryan to meet the new dog walker. Well, I came through the door as the ‘new dog walker’ and Ryan’s jaw dropped and froze in that position for a good minute or so. Success!
Ryan’s surprise was pretty clever too. He got my friend Ingrid to invite me out to dinner. And when she and I were headed towards the table, a certain beloved stuffed animal was sitting on the table. The funny part was that, the last time I saw the stuffed animal, I had given it to Ryan. So I was very puzzled in seeing it. As I got closer to the table, all of a sudden Ryan appeared! I was so incredibly surprised that I was in shock for a good 30 minutes.
It’s hard to make long distance work, especially when you’re not just a 3 hour car ride away, instead you’re a 16 hour car ride away. Somehow though, we endured a year of being 1000 miles apart. And then in the summer of 2012, Ryan decided he would stay in Wisconsin for two months. He stayed at a family friend's house and worked at a local restaurant to keep him busy. These were the best times ever. It felt so much more real to date someone you could see all the time! I soaked up as much time with him as possible. Although, only a couple weeks into his stay, we decided to celebrate our 1 year dating anniversary by going back to the Milwaukee Lakefront where it had all started. We had an amazing lunch in the historic Third Ward, and then a nice stroll on the sidewalk that looked out onto Lake Michigan. I had an inkling that something was up, because Ryan was very antsy that day to get out to Milwaukee and he seemed a little on edge.
There came a moment when we were just staring out at the marina, and Ryan had his arms wrapped around me. It was beautiful. And it became even more special when Ryan said, ‘I have a question for you.’ and turned around in front of me, to get down on one knee to say, ‘Audrey, will you marry me?’ Wow. I of course said, ‘Yes!’ And there started a new chapter in our lives. We walked all the way back to the car with huge smiles on our faces. And then as we told all our family and friends, we had the joy of planning our wedding while Ryan was there for the summer. That meant a lot, because to plan something like a wedding without having Ryan nearby would have been difficult. Eventually the summer came to an end, and that was one of the hardest good-byes.
A little over a year later, on a beautiful June day, we said ‘I do’ in the presence of our family and friends. I loved everything about our wedding and it was awesome to see Ryan’s family make it out and share in the experience. Both Ryan and I had written our own vows, and come to find out, Ryan accidentally left them in the car which was locked, and didn’t have time to get them before the ceremony started. When the time came, I was prepared and said my vows with great emotion. While Ryan may have made his up on the spot, I knew the heart behind it was real. To make up for his impromptu vows, he surprised me at the end of the ceremony with playing a song he had written. I was blown away by all the sentiment that was in our wedding ceremony.
Fast forward to now. We live in Louisiana and have been married for two and a half years. We have matured in our marriage, but still have much to learn. We appreciate God’s guidance in showing us our purpose individually as well as a married couple. We have seen God’s grace in our relationship, His faithfulness in our everyday life, and His will that brought us together to make us the husband and wife we are today.
We’ve found that when God is fully trusted, He will deliver you the life that you need. You may have your laundry list of wants in a spouse or companion, but you will find that in the end, true love is found in what is best for you. Love is not a fleeting emotion, but a commitment that is based on covenant and true selflessness. Be encouraged that a future spouse isn’t just finding what you want, but having a relationship with someone who will help make you better. And even if you have all the right intentions, but the timing is off, don’t be dismayed either, because the best things in life are worth waiting for.