*Finding celebrations and parties stressful
*Loneliness or isolation
*Intense loyalty to friends
With Valentine's Day in our recent past, and our third anniversary coming up in April, I thought now might be a good time to share about my relationship to my gentle, faithful, hard-working, Aspie husband James Patrick.
All I really know is what worked for us. Since we are as happily married as can be, and still head-over-heels in love, maybe our story will challenge other young people to look beyond the wedding and prepare for the marriage.
First of all, James and I were both desperate. He had never come even close to having a girlfriend. His romantic imagination had prepared a volume of poetry which spoke directly to my heart.
I, on the other hand, had been involved with three men, but had never gotten the relationship to progress to engagement or even discussion of marriage.
I had high hopes for one of my guy friends to ask me out, but instead when I approached him about starting a relationship, he told me frankly that he was satisfied with our friendship. I was not. I was 27, and I wanted romance - preferably right away!
I had dabbled with online dating sites in the past, and got two short relationships and two guy friends out of my efforts - oh, and a teddy bear and a plate of chocolate chip cookies. Yeah.
Then my dreams were dashed by three other guys I liked well enough to marry. (I approached each one and got the answer, "Just friends," from each of them.) So I decided I would try yet another dating site.
As dating sites go, match.com seemed to be as good as any. But it was there I found my man - or rather, he found me. He clicked favorite after reading my profile, I saw that, and favorited him back.
Our relationship went like this:
Emailing. Meeting for the first time the following week, with my parents as chaperones. Holding hands for the first time at his request. Going out to a Christmas play on our second date and getting asked if we were married. Changing our relationship status on Facebook to "In a relationship."
Saying, "I love you," and sharing our first kiss. His writing what I call "a proposal without the punchline" over Facebook chat. His meeting my group of friends from church. Getting engaged on our fifth date - secretly! Picking out our wedding rings. His asking my dad's permission a week later, as my parents had been traveling.
Setting boundaries - We opted for semi-courtship in that we had chaperones around whenever we were indoors, but meanwhile taking long walks and car drives alone together to talk privately and to kiss. Keeping our engagement secret - we did this because: (1) I had chronic pain and fatigue as well as bipolar disorder, and it had been proven that I don't hold up well under stress. (2) James wanted a fast wedding. (3) My parents didn't have much money. So we opted for a simple wedding with only five guests. I wanted to be able to announce to people that I had gotten married, as opposed to telling them I was engaged and they weren't invited to my wedding. The secret worked well!
Picking out an apartment and furniture together, so that James could move closer to me and my family. Taking premarital counseling. Finding a pastor who would agree to perform our ceremony. Relying on my mom for wedding details.
Getting married, five months after the day we met. I wore my mother's wedding gown, and James wore a suit and tie I had picked out. My mother, father, grandmother, and the pastor and his wife were our only guests.
Going straight home instead of on a honeymoon, because: (1) I wanted to feel more in control of the situation, and (2) James had just started a new job and I didn't want him to have to take vacation time right off the bat.
Living happily ever after.
And that is the story of our courtship and wedding. May the King of love reign in our home.
How this topic applies to Christian living:
I will greatly rejoice in the , my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.