|Photo credit: iprole/www.sxc.hu|
Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. “Pooh!” he whispered.
“Nothing,” said Piglet, taking Pooh’s paw.
“I just wanted to be sure of you.”
~ A.A. Milne
When I was nineteen, I spent the summer working as a server at a local family restaurant to help pay for college. I met some interesting people, especially while working third shift.
One night while pouring coffee for some friends, a man walked in wearing white pants and a blue and white striped shirt. He went to the restroom, and then sat at the counter. Oh. My. Heart. I told my friends, “I don’t know who that man is, or where he’s from, but I’m going to marry him.”
As I poured his coffee, I figured he’d be able to see my heart pounding through my chest in a cartoon sort of way. Wide shoulders, military hair cut, and gorgeous blue eyes. We made small talk, but I kept watching him as I did my work.
The next night, he came in again, and sat in my section. It was the weekend, so, of course, the place was much busier. I learned he had worked at the same restaurant prior to joining the United States Marine Corps. He knew several of the other servers and cooks. We chatted as I did my work.
As he was leaving, he asked if I’d be interested in having a Marine as a pen pal. We exchanged addresses, and wrote back and forth for two months. You have to remember this was back in the olden days–late 80s–before cell phones & email. I looked forward to those letters that started out gradually, and then increased in number.
My Marine pen pal planned to come home on leave to go fishing with his dad and brothers. He asked if we could get together. The night he walked through those doors into the restaurant, my heart raced. My tongue twisted around my teeth. I developed a sudden case of the dropsies. You see, we had developed a relationship through those letters. When he came home on leave, I was head over heels in love with this man.
Thankfully, he felt the same way. On July 14, 1988, we had our first date. I had dated several guys before him, but as soon as I met him, I knew he was the only man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. On Saturday, this handsome Marine and I will celebrate twenty-one years of marriage.
But my happily ever after doesn’t end there.
I thought this Marine was the only man who could steal my heart with such a deep love and passion. I was wrong.
In February 1997, I became reacquainted with a man I knew a long time ago. Through heart-wrenching pain and anger, I pushed this man out of my life. I wanted nothing to do with him, but he continued to love me. He whispered my name on that cold February evening, and I answered. Our reunion was full of love, tears, and he filled those vacant holes in my heart with his unconditional love.
His name is Jesus.
Today, my love for Him strengthens my love for my husband, my son, my family, my friends. On those days when I’m not feeling very lovable, He refills me with His grace and compassion.
Building relationships is about getting to know each other gradually, sharing memories, sharing secrets, and feeling secure in that relational love. They take time and trust. Whether you’re building a relationship with a friend, a family member, or potential spouse, allow yourself time to get to know that person without smothering. Don’t allow assumptions and preconceived notions to color your blooming relationship. Respect one another. Trust one another. Love one another. When you build relationships with others, sharing your love, you’re demonstrating what True Love is all about.
“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV