Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lifelong love: Tanya and Brandon

Tanya and Brandon "met" on a blogging site several years ago, and began an online acquaintanceship. After losing touch for a time, they accidentally found each other again on facebook! (Gotta love Friend Finder!) They picked up right where they left off, and then began to pursue a long-distance relationship: they lived more than 800 miles from each other.

They met face-to-face for the first time on Valentine's Day, 2008, when Brandon braved a Minnesota winter and a Greyhound bus to see the woman who had stolen his heart. (No worries; they met in a very public place! Safety first!)    

Brandon and Tanya married later that year. At 19 and 20, a lot of people didn't believe that they had what it would take to make love last; but here they are, four years later, and going strong.

They have endured the indescribably painful trial of losing their first child to miscarriage, not long after they married. They had not yet had much time to just be newlyweds, and enjoy and study each other, when they were faced with heartbreaking reality. Their fledgling marriage was shaken to its core. They were unable to cope. For a while it seemed their story was over before it had even begun.

Brandon and Tanya made the decision to fight for their love. They sought counseling from their church family.  They began to work through some problems. They made a little progress.

Current photo,
complete with a brand-new blessing!

Used with permission from 
They reached a turning point at a Family Life Weekend to Remember marriage conference. Tanya says that they learned so much, and whatever was discussed among the men's group really seemed to make an impact on her husband in a positive way. They are falling deeper in love every day. Tanya believes that it is God that kept them together.

"Always put God first. The rest will fall together."

They have since been blessed again with a healthy baby boy! I wish them many, many more years of happiness and love. This is only the beginning!

If you'd like to share your lifelong love story, please email me at 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lifelong love: Sarah and John Paul

On the wedding day
The stage was already set for romance when Sarah and John Paul met... at the wedding of friends. It was well known that Sarah had a weakness for red hair, so when a church friend saw the two of them talking there, she predicted marriage!

Sarah and John Paul have been married a whopping four years.... are you wondering why I'm including their young love in a lifelong series?

It's because their marriage is a miracle.

Seven years ago, Sarah was involved in an awful car accident, and suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) that left her comatose for one and a half months. By the grace of God, she lived, and began to recover, spending the next eighteen months in hospitals.

Against expectations, she is living a full and blessed life. She has met the man that God had for her, even while her family wondered if she would ever breathe on her own again. Not only has she learned to walk again, she was able to walk down the aisle, and she was able to speak before God, and her family and friends, to vow that she would love John Paul for life.

They have gone one to be blessed with three beautiful, healthy, energetic children!

Sarah's daily life is a testimony. She is a bright (and sassy) example of diligence, perseverance, thankfulness, and strong faith to those around her. She has physical and emotional struggles to this day, as well as communication and memory difficulties, but she rises above a pity-party and glorifies God. She looks for the positive in each of her trials, celebrates her blessings, and presses on.

Sarah is an inspiration; but she gets stuck sometimes. John Paul has been there for her, with "great patience, quick forgiveness, and generous compassion," to help her work through her frustrations and limitations. He inspires her to find different or better ways to accomplish her goals. He shares her faith, and he encourages her to know not just what she believes, but also why. He makes an effort to listen to his wife, and to be sure he understands what she has said. He is patient to repeat important information that may slip her mind, and to re-answer her questions, if necessary.

Now; with their three blessings
Sarah will tell you that their love has lasted, in part, due to their mutual efforts to defer to one another, and her willingness to obey her husband.

Her wisdom for newlyweds: Be quiet, and really listen to each other.

If you'd like to share your lifelong love story, please email me at

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lifelong love: Julia and Andrew

The wedding day

Julia and Andrew have been together for over 10 years. Their romance has survived numerous military separations.

They met when she was 16 and he was 21, but they didn't start dating until three years later. Even then, she told him it "wasn't a date." But 2 weeks later, they knew they wanted to get married.

They had a whirlwind wedding less than a year after Andrew joined the U.S. Marine Corps ~ there were 5 weeks to plan it and pull it off. It was a tight-knit affair, with only 22 guests, and there was no rehearsal. It went off with only minor snafus. They did it!

Three days after the wedding, Andrew was off with the Marines, leaving Julia to work and wait until they knew where he would be stationed and where they would enjoy their married life:


Wow, talk about living a honeymoon!

When Andrew returned home from a deployment in Iraq, Julia calculated that they had been married for 569 days.... and had spent only 153 of them together.

How in the world did they manage to keep their romance alive during all that time?

Julia knew that Andrew was often going to be in harm's way, so she leaned on her faith in God, and believed in His perfect will. She chose to not worry, and placed her husband in the hands of God.

Andrew and Julia now,
with their beautiful new baby girl!
She sent him a package every week, containing something she'd made, photos, things he liked, or things he was missing. Before deployments, she would write notes or Bible verses on the backs of photos of them and their dog, and hide them in his luggage and in his uniforms for him to discover once they were apart. They were able to talk about every two weeks or so.

Julia, now married six years, credits choosing to love, and God's grace, for keeping them together during difficulty. Her advice to you?

"Lasting love is not that warm mushy butterflies you feel all the time.That warm mushy butterflies feeling comes and goes in lasting love. Don't question your love when things are just the normal day to day.

Hardships and heartache will happen and those are the times that love must be a choice. Forgiveness is truly a cornerstone to make marriage work. To forgive your spouse and never bring it up again is difficult but must be done so you can move on in your life together. 

Be sure to set aside time to truly love and appreciate your spouse. A walk on the beach or in the woods together can make you pause and just be together without distraction. 

Have your life outside your husband/wife. Keep your own hobbies so you can nourish yourself and when you come back together you have been able to care for yourself and in turn, love your spouse all the more for it."

If you'd like to share your lifelong love story, please email me at