Fourteen years ago I had met him around a campfire. Eight months later I saw him again and craned my neck to read the name tag associated with the smiling eyes and handsome face. Weldon. I liked it. I used the rest of my summer conniving ways to be with that boy, and I haven’t really ever stopped. When I found out he was barely sixteen, I knew it was going to be a long wait. But it sure was fun, and life has never been more sweet than when Matthew has been a part of it. We dated pre-text, pre-facebook, pre-cellphone, and almost pre-email. I remember going through the phone bill, highlighting all the time spent calling Philadelphia, and writing my dad a check to cover that portion. I remember the weekly letters that arrived with a stamp, a hand-written note, and often something else fun or creative to woo my heart. Once he sent me a mango because he knew it was my favorite fruit. We did cutesy things like learn Morse code so we could write secret messages to each other on woodwork and trees. When I was twenty, I left him for Kenya and he let me chase down my wild dreams and be on my own for six months, so I could hear what God was telling me to do with my life. We talked on the phone twice during that time, for two minutes, because it cost four dollars a minute. When I came back with a hundred braids in my hair, my heart was a lot more settled. I had doubted our future together, only to have it confirmed even stronger than before. When it became very clear that the time for us to get married was here, my sister demanded that he have a job, a driver’s license, and a place to live, even if it was a tent. He bought a tent. Then he did get a good job and a driver’s license. Eight months later, we were engaged, and five months after that, we were married!
I love how I’ve been able to experience life with Matthew. He’s so simple and uncomplicated. He hates it when I write about him. So I won’t gush. But I do want to reflect on God’s hand in our marriage. He has meshed two imperfect people together and handed us one experience after another in which to walk together. We have had a few times where I honestly had no idea how we would ever patch things up again. Before Nadine was born, I was so mad at him one night because he fell asleep when I wanted to stay up in bed and talk. I got so steamed up that I jerked myself out of bed and slammed the bedroom door as hard as I could. Anger turned to remorse when the bookshelf above our bed fell off the wall and landed on his head. Strong’s concordance woke him up with a bang. I’ve been selfish and mean, but he still hugs me close every night.
When I think about how I dreamed that I would marry that boy with that name tag and those eyes, I am simply amazed. God blew me away. I’m living with the dream of my life.