Our first apartment was tiny (500 sq ft). You could stand in the very center and see all 4 rooms (living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom). The kitchen was rocking mauve counter tops and an oven about half the size of a normal one, which made for many a burned dinner. Leslie had started his job only a few weeks before we got married, but I didn't work for the first 6 months after getting married. I was living in a new, bigger town, and I was honestly scared...scared of getting lost trying to find my way around, scared of my new role as a wife. I missed my family and was worried about starting from scratch and making new friends. I used to cry when Leslie would tell me he was going to hang out with his best friend. I would cry because I was lonely.
Finally, I got a job working at a fitness center. We started hanging out with guys from Leslie's work and their wives, and gradually I felt more and more at home in my new town. We only lived in our tiny apartment for a year, after which we upgraded to a 2-bedroom apartment and gained about 300 sq. ft.
Then came our second year of marriage. Something about the 2-year mark proved to be a struggle for us just as it had been in our second year of dating. The thing that I would have never guessed could happen to us...happened to us. We grew apart. We stopped talking, stopped asking each other questions, grew bitter towards each other and put our own selfish desires above our responsibilities to each other. We both expressed our unhappiness to each other, and in the darkest time in our relationship, I moved out. I moved to an apartment in the same complex, a few buildings down. I was tired of trying and honestly thought I would be happier alone. The Summer I spent separated from my husband will always be remembered with a feeling of deep sadness and shame. I was so lonely, but obviously away from God, and holding on to the bitterness that had built up inside me from feeling emotionally abandoned by Leslie.
It was a few months later that the Lord crumbled my resistance to His will and showed me that I was wrong for staying away from Leslie any longer. In the months we spent apart, Leslie fell back in love with me and I reluctantly moved back home. I knew I was obeying the Lord and that even though I was scared things wouldn't be any better in our marriage, as long as we were attempting to do what was right, God would bless. It took time, but from the small steps I took towards God, I felt him take 10 giant steps towards me. There was a lot of healing that had to take place between Leslie, me and even our family members, but we came through it. Looking back now, I hate what we allowed to happen to us, but I love what came from it: A stronger marriage and a testimony to share with young married, struggling couples.
Leslie and I recently celebrated 5 years of marriage. I wouldn't trade that man for the world. He is the special one God created just for me, and I've learned our relationship is not to be taken for granted. We are closer than ever at this point. We've made it through obstacles that have broken many marriages, but that is of no credit to us. All the glory goes to God. He has given us a friendship, romance and blessings beyond measure.
I realize as I'm trying to wrap this up that our love story can't be summarized in a way that is satisfying to me. There are too many memories and circumstances that set ours apart from any other love story. It is simple, yet complex, and I can't wait for the chapters that await us.
Here's to the path ahead, the one God has for us. The one we will walk together.